DIY DINNER: Classic Roasted Leg of Lamb

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Shannon Hayes’s 2010 book Radical Homemakers made me want to move way upstate and grow all my own food—like she does. I haven’t quite gotten around to that yet, but I can live out the dream of her new book without sacrificing my glamorous urban lifestyle (ha).

Long Way on a Little: An Earth Lover’s Companion for Enjoying Meat, Pinching Pennies and Living Deliciously is my new bible on grass-fed meat. Much more than a cookbook, it’s a serious text on buying, cooking and overall understanding pastured meats. The almighty Joel Salatin says the book, “should grace every omnivore’s kitchen – open, stained, spattered and loved.”

I plan to get mine splattered pronto, starting with this recipe:

Classic Roasted Leg of Lamb
Serves 6–8

This quintessential spring recipe keeps things simple so you can taste the delicate flavors of the grass-fed lamb.

4 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons coarse unrefined sea salt
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
1 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons parsley
1 (5–6-pound) bone-in leg of lamb

In a food processor, combine the garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil and parsley to make a paste.

Rub the paste all over the leg of lamb, then set it aside for at least 30 minutes so that it can come to room temperature before roasting.

Preheat oven to 300° F, put lamb in a roasting pan and roast for about 17–20 minutes per pound of meat, until the internal temperature is between 120 and 145 degrees, depending on how rare or well done you like it.

Serve simply au jus (with just the pan juices), with a reduction sauce (see Shallot-Dijon Reduction Sauce below), or make gravy as follows: Remove the lamb to a cutting board or platter. Pour off all but ½ cup of the drippings then set the roasting pan over medium heat on the stovetop until the pan drippings are bubbling. Whisk in ¼ cup flour to form a paste. When smooth, whisk 1–2 minutes longer until slightly browned. Slowly whisk in the reserved pan drippings and 1 cup meat broth or water. Allow the mixture to bubble and thicken. Add additional water or broth until the gravy is your preferred consistency and simmer 2–3 minutes.

Shallot Dijon Reduction

2 tablespoons minced shallot
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 cups meat broth
4 tablespoons butter

Heat leg of lamb’s pan drippings on stovetop over medium heat until they are bubbling. Add the shallots and Dijon. Continue cooking, stirring and scraping, until the shallots are clear and the browned bits from the pan are mixed into the paste. Add the broth and continue to simmer until the sauce is reduced by half. Add the butter one tablespoon at a time, stirring well after each addition. Drizzle the reduction over the meat and serve.

Betsy Bradley

Elizabeth L. Bradley writes about New York City history and culture. She hopes to find Tiffany blue dragees in her Christmas stocking this year.

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