I made this whole roasted leg of lamb almost a month ago but until now I just didn’t get a chance to write the recipe down. The winter break this time was overly busy in my household – the kids were back from college and that meant quite a bit more action at home. We had lots of friends visiting and also I took a whirlwind trip to India with my twenty years old son (will write about some of the most delicious meals I had during my travels in successive blog posts. The food scene is India sure is exploding these days). I served this leg of lamb when my friend Judy and her husband, Frank came over for dinner just past Christmas. Back then, I had posted a few pictures of the whole roasted leg of lamb on the facebook page and got several requests for the recipe, so here goes…
1. One whole boneless leg of lamb (I got mine from Costco and it was Australian lamb)
2. One red onion
3. 7-8 large cloves of garlic
4. 1.5 tablespoons of pomegranate syrup
5. 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
6. A few springs of fresh rosemary
7. Two small clementine or one large orange
8. 1.5 tablespoons of Ras El Hanout spice blend (I got mine from William Sonoma)
9. 1.5 teaspoons of salt (or to taste)
10. 0.5 teaspoons of freshly grated pepper (or to taste)
11. A pinch of red pepper flakes
1. Mix all the dry spices (ras el hanout, red pepper flakes, ground pepper) and salt and set this mixture aside.
4. Zest the clementine/orange (use a micro-plane or a zester).
5. Take the rosemary leaves off their stems and then finely chop them into small pieces.
6. In a medium sized sauce pan, pour the olive oil and heat on low heat.
7. When the oil is hot, add the diced up onion and the garlic and continue cooking on low heat (stirring frequently). We just need to lightly caramelize the onion bits – this should take about 4-5 minutes.
9. Add the zest to the pan and also the pomegranate syrup and stir everything together. Sometimes I also add the juice of the orange to the mixture (it makes the lamb more juicy – but this is an entirely optional step). This is the marinade mixture.
10. Open up the piece of boneless leg of lamb and where ever you can, open up the fleshy parts by slicing that part of the meat. Make sure you don’t dismember or cut off any piece of the meat. Where ever the meat is too thick and cannot be opened up, make a thin sliver into it so that a small pocket is made in the meat and the spice mixture can be stuffed into it.
11. Pour half the marinade on the inside of the piece of meat and rub it into the meat. Make sure it gets into all the little cuts and holes in the meat.
12. Roll the piece of meat over and thoroughly rub the remaining marinade on the other side.
13. Place this meat into a large dish, cover with a piece of plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least four hours. For better taste, you can leave it in the refrigerator overnight.
14. Preheat the oven at 350-375 degree Fahrenheit (depending on how hot your oven gets)
15. Take the meat out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
16. Roll the piece of meat into a large chunk and with a long piece of butcher’s twine, tie the piece up.
17. Place the hunk of meat on a rack with a roasting pan underneath.
18. Cover the meat with a piece of foil (not tightly but just a tent so that the top doesn’t get burnt while the inside is still raw).
19. After 30 min or so of roasting, remove the foil and continue roasting until the internal temp of the meat reads t 135-140F (use an accurate meat thermometer). The time varies depending on the size of the piece of meat.
20. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and set it leg of lamb aside for 10-15 minutes. It is essential to let the meat rest so that it retains its juices.