Herbed Roast Leg of Lamb

Herbed Roast Leg of Lamb

Daria Souvorova

2-4 hours, plus rest overnight
serves: varied, 4 people per pound

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Well, it finally happened! Nico and I domesticated! I keep having to explain this to everyone. What is a Domestic Union? Well, it’s not quite marriage, but its official! Nico and I decided we wanted to share our health insurance and be able to visit each other in the hospital, but weren’t quite ready to figure out how to do our taxes together. And we get to throw ourselves a party, but don’t have to worry about any crazy ceremony.

*cover photo by Rafael Soldi

Today, I want to share with you my recipe for Roast Leg of Lamb. I love this recipe! It seemed like a perfect dish for our Domestic Union celebration, but with 50 guests, boy did we need a lot of it! This is one of the oldest recipes in my repertoire. I have made a version of this lamb for Thanksgiving and any other holiday when someone would buy me a lamb leg since I was in high school. It was inspired by my father. When we had a bit of money for meat in Belarus in the summer, we would take our lamb into the woods, start a fire and stab it all over and shove garlic in before baking it. My dad would walk around in the woods and find an evergreen tree with little berries, I think it was juniper. We would place that with the meat over the fire and allow it to roast. I wanted to incorporate the garlic and smoked herb flavor and add in some freshness by adding lemon juice and zest. Please do not overcook the lamb!

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Guests are feasting and the lamb is being served!

Speaking to that, this is the first time I have cooked multiple legs at the same time. If you do the same, make sure to buy legs as close in weight to each other as you can. You do not need to multiply the time that the legs will cook in. Two 5 pound legs will cook in about the same time as one. If your legs are touching too much, you may need to add a half an hour or so, but always have a meat thermometer to be exact.

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Everything we do here at Chez Nous is about bringing people together and building a community, last Sunday, we brought people together to celebrate our union, it was great! To commemorate our love of food and each other, we decided to cook French and Russian food, to reflect our heritage.  We didn’t want to worry about courses and serving our 50 guests, so everything went on the table at the same time, an epic buffet, as if from those old Russian royal fairytale feast illustrations from my Communist-era books.

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We served a lovely cheese array (Check out our Cheese Plate Guide here), and made a variety of pates including our our Baked Camembert with Porcini Mushrooms and Fig Jam, Duck Terrine with Shallot Jam, Olive and Almond Tapenade, and Sardine Riclettes. We served these beauties with some Olive Crisps and  French Baguette.

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Our French feast continued with three beautiful Quiche Lorraines cooked as tarts instead of pies, and a giant Potato Gratin, cooked completely by Nicolas from his own recipe. We also wanted to serve soup, one from both of our countries. A French Bouillabaisse with Rouille and a Russian Borscht served with dill and sour cream. The star of the evening was Roast Lamb, a dish that brings our cultures together! To celebrate my Russian upbringing, I made some of our most famous salads! We served a Seledka pod Shube, which translates to Herring under its Fur and the famous Olivier salad! Check back later this week for all of these recipes!

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Photograph by Rafael Soldi

We continued our celebration into the dessert course! We served our favorite Cannelés Bordelais, a traditional Russian Smetannik, our favorite Vanilla Cake with Raspberry Filling and Cream Cheese Frosting, and two extra large Crème Brûlées!

Ingredients:

  • for each leg of lamb:
  • 1 head garlic, peeled
  • 2 lemons, juiced, zest peeled off
    in strips
  • 1 bunch rosemary, stems discarded
  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • bone in lamb, 5-6 pounds(2.2-2.7 kg)
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photograph by Rafael Soldi
    1. Place zest and juice of lemon with the remaining ingredients in the blender to make a rough paste.
      Adjust ingredients as needed to get a workable consistency.
    2. Allow meat to rest at room temperature for an hour. Place in a Dutch oven.
      Stab the meat all over and smear with the paste. Refrigerate for at least four hours, but preferably overnight. Bring to room temperature before roasting.
    3. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
    4. Bake 20 minutes.
      Lower heat to 325°F (165°C).
      Bake approximately 20 minutes per pound of lamb roast, or until the inside temperature reaches 135°F (57°C).
      Allow meat to rest 10 minutes, it will rise to 145°F (63°C).
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