Slow-roasted boneless leg of lamb comes out extra tender with a crisp, well-browned crust and juicy pink meat flavored with garlic, rosemary, and lemon zest.
Why this recipe works:
- Cooking at very low temperatures followed by a blast at high heat creates the ultimate contrast with pink meat that extends from edge to edge and a crisp brown crust. It also enhances tenderness.
- Par-cooking a rub made with garlic, rosemary, lemon zest, and anchovies ensures that raw, steamed flavors don't last.
- Anchovies in the marinade bring out the meatiness of the lamb without overwhelming with any kind of fishy aroma.
Note: Use any leftover cooked lamb in these Lamb Sandwiches with Tapenade Mayo, Watercress, and Caciocavallo Cheese.
About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.
- Yield:Serves 12 to 14
- Active time: 1 hour
- Total time:5 hours
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 medium shallot, minced (about 1/2 cup)
- 6 anchovy filets, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 tablespoon zest from 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 whole butterflied boneneless leg of lamb, carefully trimmed of internal fat and connective tissue, 10 to 12 pounds
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 275°F. Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic, shallot, anchovies, rosemary, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots and garlic are softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl. Add salt and pepper and mix with a fork to combine.
Rub half of mixture into inside of butterflied lamb leg. Roll leg and tie securely at 1-inch intervals with butcher's twine. Rub remaining mixture over exterior of lamb. Cook immediately or let rest uncovered in the refrigerator for up to one night for best flavor and texture.
When ready to cook, place lamb on a wire rack set in a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Transfer to oven and roast until an instant read thermometer inserted into coolest section of lamb registers 125° to 130°F for medium-rare, or 130° to 135°F for medium, 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Remove from oven and let rest for 40 minutes.
While lamb is resting, increase oven temperature to 500°F. Return lamb to oven and roast until exterior is deep brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes. Remove twine with kitchen shears, transfer lamb to cutting board, slice into 1/4 inch slices, and serve.