Lamb leg will have guests reaching for seconds
A showstopper on the table, this was one of the lushest and best-received roasts I have made in ages, with the layers of flavor and texture bringing everyone back for seconds.
The meat is seasoned with garlic, orange zest and herbs and marinated overnight. Then the roast is covered in a thick layer of mustardy panko breadcrumbs speckled with fresh parsley, which forms a fabulous crust. The crust falls apart a bit as you slice the lamb, but just scoop up the crumbles and serve them up with slices of tender, pink lamb.
If you don’t have a big crowd, you can definitely make this with a smaller roast — just adjust the rest of the ingredients down proportionately (and don’t make yourself too crazy with the math — the amounts are really guidelines. You’ll want to reduce the cooking time, too, aiming for an internal temperature of about 130 degrees for medium rare.
Or you can go for the better option: leftovers. We got lamb crostini, a Shepherd’s pie, and a lamb soup out of our big gorgeous roast. Not a bit was wasted. Just ask my dog.
Herbed Leg of Lamb
For the lamb
1 (6-pound) boneless leg of lamb, rolled and tied
6 peeled garlic cloves
Zest from 1 orange
1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
For the crust
1/4 cup Dijon mustard, coarse or smooth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
In a food processor, combine the garlic, orange zest, thyme and rosemary. Puree, then add the olive oil and blend to make a paste. Smear the paste all over the lamb, place it in a container or deep bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Meanwhile, let the lamb sit at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons olive oil, mustard and parsley, add the breadcrumbs and use a spoon or your hands to thoroughly blend. Press the mixture all over the top and sides of the leg of lamb, and place it in a roasting pan. Some of the panko mixture will fall off the sides; tuck it in underneath the sides of the lamb.
Roast the lamb for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 400 F and roast for another hour to an hour and 15 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the middle of the roast reads 130 degrees to 135 degrees for medium-rare. Let the lamb sit for 20 minutes before slicing and serving warm. Serves 14.
Per serving: 371 calories; 15 g fat (4 g saturated fat; 36 percent calories from fat); 10 g carbohydrates; 0 g sugar; 145 mg cholesterol; 754 mg sodium; 49 g protein; 1 g fiber.