Sometimes mana from heaven drops into your lap. The mana in this case was a lamb leg roast picked up at a good discount from one of the local supermarkets. The roast was fresh, about 2 lbs (.888 kg), and 30% off the usual horrendously over-inflated price. I was faced with the problem of pulling together a meal around this choice cut of meat that would satisfy all around the table. The kids are true carnivores, so no immediate problems with the main course, but the question was what to serve with the meat that would get eaten and give them the required dose of vegetables and/or fruit. I opted for a basic meat and potatoes affair with a side of fresh green beans (just coming into season… at least in California) and a fruit appetizer in the form of ripe papya and lime.
The meal plan was as follows:
- Papaya quarters with lime
- Roast lamb leg butt
- Roast new potatoes
- Blanched green beans
- Mushroom cream sauce
- Drinks: Milk for the kids and Malbec for us
Cooking and prep time: About 90 minutes
The plan of attack was to get the roast in the oven and leave the balance of prep and cooking for the anticipated hour of cooking time for the meat. Unfortunately, the meat cooked much faster than expected–about 40 minutes–and I was left scrambling to get the rest of the meal prepared in time. The beans were a breeze, while time was short on the potatoes. The sauce was well under way before the meat was ready, but I was still forced to let the meat rest a little longer than anticipated in order to get the meal fully ready.
Here’s a quick tip if you find yourself faced with the same situation. Take the meat out of the oven when ready (about five degrees Fahrenheit less than the desired finishing temperature), wrap it in tin foil, wrap it in a thick tea towel, and slip it into an insulated lunch kit or similar container. It will stay warm without further cooking for 15 to 20 minutes.
Using the above trick and with a little luck, I was able to pull everything together. We ate about an hour and ten minutes after the meat hit the oven–not bad all things considered.
Lamb Leg Roast
- Lamb leg butt roast (about 2 lbs)
- Spice rub
- Olive oil
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rub meat generously with spice rub (either store bought or home made)
Lightly oil enamelled casserole dish or stove-top safe roasting pan.
Heat casserole on the stove top over medium-high heat.
Sear roast on all sides (1 to 2 minutes a side).
Place uncovered in oven and cook for approximately 20-25 minutes a pound (look for an internal temperature of about 130 degrees F).
Remove from oven, wrap in tin foil and let rest for a minimum of 5 minutes.
Slice and serve.
Notes: I like my lamb very rare, but others prefer it more on the medium rare side. When in doubt with guests go for the medium rare (remove from oven at 135F). On larger cuts of lamb, pierce the meat and insert fine slivers of fresh garlic and/or whole peppercorn. Always cook dry lamb roast with a meat thermometer–it eliminates guess work and gives better results (even if you overcook it, you’ll learn where the tipping point is and hopefully get it right the next time).