Roast lamb is a classic for Easter and a British Sunday roast. And it's easy to understand why: this roast is easy to make, with aromatic flavor from the rosemary and garlic. The perfect centerpiece!
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I don't know about anyone else, but Easter seems to have snuck up on me a bit this year. True, I have thought about it now and again, like when I have looked at other recipes and debated whether I should attempt dying eggs with my toddler. But even still, it seemed a shock to us as we realized at the weekend that Easter was less than a week away.
Maybe it is also that I don't have a huge number of food associations (other than hot cross buns) for Easter but I know for many ham or lamb are a traditional part of an Easter meal.
Conveniently, we got a lovely leg of lamb joint in our recent meat delivery and with all this cold weather a good old roast lamb with lots of roast vegetables on the side was a perfect fit last night.
Roast lamb is probably one of my favorites, and I love that you can make it fairly simply - in fact it is best not to try to do too much to a leg joint - as I have here, and it will always be delicious.
The only thing to watch is that you don't overcook it as it can go dry.
Should roast lamb be pink or not?
For me, you have two main options when you cook a lamb roast: a faster slightly hotter cook, where I think being pink is best as it will be juicier, or a low and slow cook with a little liquid. For the latter you typically cover at least part the time so it part steams, part roasts.
This is the faster, hotter cook so at least a little pink works best. How pink you like lamb is likely to be similar to how you would prefer a beef roast, if you are unsure. But whether you go for a lot of pink or none at all, lamb has a great taste and a roast leg has that crowd appeal that makes it perfect for sharing with guests, such as for Easter or Passover.
Here I decided to combine a couple of ideas and ways that we have enjoyed roast lamb - one being a pretty common and sure-fire winner of studding it with garlic and rosemary, the other being a simple lemon-honey-mustard glaze.
Both add a gentle flavor that's a delicious compliment to the lamb. The glaze helps make a nice little bit of gravy to go on top.
How long does it need to cook?
Cooking time can be a little tricky to say exactly as it depends on the size of the piece of lamb (generally when bigger, the time per pound is a little less), if bone in (will take longer or at least be more mixed in color) or boneless (cooks a little quicker), as well as your oven.
A boneless leg is obviously easier to carve, but the bone is great to have after for making stock so that alone makes it worth having a bone-in leg for me. I have given some suggested times below, and temperatures to check for if you have a meat thermometer, based on various resources, including The Kitchn.
One other thing with lamb, as with most roasts, is it is worth having a larger piece than you need as leftovers are always good. Whether it's a simple sandwich or something more extravagant like lamb pilaf, it is always satisfying to make use of a leftover roast in a different way. I
This roast lamb with rosemary and garlic is an easy centerpiece to a meal. It's so satisfying and delicious, it shouldn't just be reserved for this time of year.
Try these other tasty roasts:
- Garlic herb roasted chicken
- Roast duck and vegetables
- Plus get more main dish recipes in the archives.
- 2 lb leg of lamb joint 900g, bone in (boneless or larger joint fine, adjust rest of ingredients and cooking time accordingly)
- 1 tsp honey
- ½ tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary or a little more, as needed
- 3 cloves garlic
- ¼ tsp salt approx
- Preheat oven to 325F/160C.
- Make incisions into the fatty side of the lamb joint with a small sharp knife, evenly spaced over the top and side of the joint around 1-2in apart (3-5cm).
- Mix together the honey, lemon, mustard and oil, pour it over the lamb then rub all over.
- Peel the garlic and cut into long strips, around 6-8 per clove. Break the rosemary stem(s) in to approx 1in/2.5cm lengths (easiest to break the stem just above where the leaves sprout out so you get a little 'point') then stuff a piece of rosemary and a piece of garlic into each incision in the lamb.
- Sprinkle a little salt over the lamb and roast for approx 20min per pound/450g for medium-rare (around 25min for medium, 15 for rare), although time may vary with your oven, size of leg and if boneless - for me, this time gave rare rather than medium rare. You can check with a thermometer (around 125F for rare, 130F for medium-rare, 135-140F for medium, 155-165F for well done).
- After around 20-25 minutes, add a little water to the bottom of the dish (a couple of tablespoons) and repeat later if a larger leg joint.
- Remove from the oven and allow to stand for around 10-15minutes before carving. Scrape any stickiness from the cooking dish and mix with the juice/water that should be left from cooking and pour over as a gravy. If you prefer thicker, you can add a little cornstarch/cornflour.
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