This is one beautiful looking roast leg of lamb that makes a great center piece at any holiday dinner table. I usually make this when I have a large gathering or for a special occasion with the family. This is a relatively easy recipe but it does require some serious butchering skills to make the whole leg of lamb boneless. I solve this problem by purchasing the lamb from the Middle Eastern Butcher shop in my neighborhood and the butcher there usually knows how to do the tedious job of taking the bone out of the hunk of meat and also butterflying the whole meat into an open flap – which makes it easier for me when I have to roll the leg back up to make a large roast.
1. One whole leg of lamb (butterflied and bone removed entirely) – mine was 4.5 lbs before the leg was removed.
2. ½ cup of shelled pistachio nuts
3. ½ cup of golden raisins
4. A few springs of fresh rosemary
5. 1.5 teaspoons of salt
6. 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
7. 2 tablespoons of Pomegranate Molasses (available at Middle Eastern Stores)
8. 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
9. 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
10. 4-5 cloves of garlic
11. 3-4 feet long kitchen twine
12. 15-20 small potatoes for roasting on the side (can do without these too!)
13. A few sprigs of fresh dill
14. A handful of fresh pomegranate seeds for garnishing
15. 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1. Open the meat out on a large cutting board or in a large Pyrex baking dish (with the skin side down) and make a few gashes in the thickest part of the meat without cutting through the entire surface of the meat.
6. Peel and slice the cloves of garlic and evenly spread them out over the whole leg of lamb. Embed a few pieces into the gashes you made in the meat.
10. Roll in all the loose flaps of the meat roll the whole piece of lamb back into shape.
11. You may need a few tooth picks to hold it back in shape. And maybe an extra pair of hands would help as well.
12. Using a kitchen twine tie the lamb down like you would any roast.
13. Sprinkle a little bit more salt, pepper and chili flakes on top of the roast and drizzle it with some more olive oil and pomegranate syrup.
14. Add a bit more rosemary leaves on top and the fresh dill weed.
15. Place the tied leg of lamb in a roasting pan and place small potatoes around it.
16. Sprinkle some salt, pepper and olive oil over the potatoes.
17. Heat the oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
18. Cover the baking dish with a layer of tin foil and place it in the oven for 15 minutes.
19. After the 15 minutes are over, take the dish out of the pan and baste the leg of lamb with any juices that may have collected at the bottom, sprinkle the two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar over the meat and the potatoes and cover the dish with the foil again.
20. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and place the dish back in the oven for another 60 minutes.
21. Continue to baste meat with the juices that collect in the dish every 15-20 minutes.
22. Take the leg of lamb out of the oven and let it rest for 10-15 minutes on the kitchen counter.
23. While the lamb is resting you can make gravy with the dripping – mix one tablespoon of corn starch in 1/5 cup cold water. Add the dripping from the bottom of the roasting dish and whisk everything together – heat this liquid slowly on low heat while whisking constantly. After 3-5 minutes, add some cream and cook for another 3-5 minutes (while stirring constantly). If the gravy seems to thick add a little bit of chicken stock to dilute it down and if it is too runny, let it cook for another 1-2 minutes. Taste the gravy and adjust for the level of salt and pepper that you prefer.
24. Then using a pair of kitchen shears, cut the kitchen twine and remove the tooth picks that had held meat in shape.
25. Using a sharp serrated carving knife, slice the leg of lamb into thin slices.
26. Lay out roasted potatoes on the base of a large serving dish. Add any green vegetables you would like to add to the platter (I used roasted asparagus) and then add the sliced lamb on top. Sprinkle the fresh pomegranate seeds on top to garnish the plate. Serve the lamb while it is still hot.