Boneless Roast Leg of Lamb Recipe

Boneless Roast Leg of Lamb Recipe Recipe

If you love lamb as much I as do, you've got to try this dish. The preparation is effortless. It's so easy, even my husband's oldest teenage sister, Sunny, who's a vegetarian, could make it. I jokingly told her she has to learn a few meat dishes so when she gets married she'll know a few basics in cooking. Sunny was a bit frightened handling the roast at first but she overcame her fear and wrapped the meat in fresh herbs and helped me tie it. Now that's dedication. 

The next day, I cut the leftover meat paper-thin and used it as a filling in a fusion-style banh mi. You can find the various condiment elements in these traditional banh mi sandwiches in my latest cookbook, aptly titled "Banh Mi, 75 Banh Mi recipes for Authentic & Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches". 

A few steps are essential to master the classic roast of lamb. First, make sure you select a boneless leg of lamb, trim any excess fat, then marinate it in a citrus and herb marinade. Finally, tie it tightly and roast to perfection in the oven.

Ingredients

Yields: 6 servings

1 (3½-pounds) boneless leg of lamb, trimmed
2 tablespoons papaya paste (see tips)
10 sprigs lemon thyme
juice of 3 lemons
3 cups beef stock
1 teaspoon red chili pepper
1½ tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
2 teaspoons black pepper, freshly cracked
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1½ tablespoons brown sugar
6 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon cold butter, diced


Directions

Marinating the lamb: 

The day before...

In a saucepan, combine 2 cups beef stock, brown sugar, red chili powder, mustard and 1 tablespoon canola oil. Simmer until the mixture is reduced and slightly thickened. Let cool to room temperature

Transfer into a large sealable zip-top plastic bag. Add papaya paste, 1 teaspoon salt, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon chopped oregano, fresh mint, garlic and ¼ cup oil. Seal the bag and shake well.

Pat the meat dry with paper towels. Place the lamb in the plastic bag, refrigerate and allow to marinate overnight, if possible.

Cooking lamb:

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Remove the lamb from the refrigerator so it returns to room temperature.

Pat dry the meat using paper towels. In a large baking dish, massage the lamb with oil then sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Wrap the piece of meat with sprigs of thyme, then secure them and tie the meat. 

Brush a roasting pan with oil. Cover with a rack (you could also simply cover the pan with root vegetables instead). Top with the piece of meat. Sprinkle with more salt. Add 1 cup beef stock to the bottom of the pan. 

Place the probe of a digital oven-proof thermometer in the center of the piece of meat. Set the thermometer at 140°F (see tips), depending on how pink you like the meat.

 (Note: The IKEA brand thermometer has a magnet so I can stick it to the hood of my stove while searing the meat.). Drizzle the meat with the marinade.

Roast for 10 minutes. Decrease the temperature to 400°F and continue roasting for an additional 40 minutes. Open the oven and baste the lamb with the drippings from the pan. Roast for 25 more minutes or until the thermometer registers 140°F.

Remove the meat from the oven. Loosely cover with foil (don't entirely wrap it or the skin won't be crispy). Let it rest for at least 15 minutes.

Reserve drippings at the bottom of the roaster, discarding as much oil (fat) as possible. Place over the stove and bring to a boil. Immediately decrease the heat and add the butter, whisking constantly.

Untie the meat, slice it thin and serve with the gravy on the side.

Bon appétit!


Tips

I use green papaya as a meat tenderizer to ensure moist and juicy meat. The papaya paste was Baji, my husband Lulu's late grandma's secret for tender and moist meat. Peel a green papaya. If you want to make some ahead of time to keep on hand: grind the cubed papaya with seeds in a mini food processor; place about 2 tablespoons of papaya paste per slot in an ice-cube tray and freeze them. Transfer the ice-cubes into sealable plastic bags and place back in the freezer.

The roasting time depends on how pink you like the lamb. If you want to be absolutely sure (and that is a fool-proof way to cook lamb), just place a temperature probe in the center of the piece of meat, and remove the lamb from the oven when the thermometer registers about 140°F (I prefer 150°F, so the meat is less rosy). You can get a digital thermometer at IKEA for a reasonable price.

Make sure to let the lamb rest before slicing it to ensure optimum tenderness of the meat.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on July 11, 2013.


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