How to make the most delicious, Slow-Roasted Leg of Lamb with a flavorful herb crust and filling, roasted over vegetables and served with Mint Gremolata. A special dinner is worthy of your holiday table.
Why this recipe works?
- It can be prepped up to 3 days ahead and roasted the day of.
- It is easy to serve- the boneless leg of lamb is easy to slice.
- It is full of flavor and absolutely beautiful!
- It can be made into a whole meal, roasting over the vegetables.
Growing up, it was not the traditional Easter ham my parents would have roasting in the oven, but instead, to some of my friend’s horror, roasted leg of lamb. Yep, those sweet little guys.
By the time I fully understood what I was eating, it was too late, I acquired the taste for it early on. To this day, the smell of lamb wafting through the house brings me back to those happy times together as a family.
I have such fond memories of being a kid, watching my father dye Easter eggs, the way his mother taught him when he was young in their little Egyptian village – with simmering pots filled with the natural dye of beets, onion peels, turmeric, cabbage and bay leaves.
How to Roast Boneless Leg of Lamb:
- It starts with a boneless leg of lamb that has been butterflied. Ask your butcher to do this for you!
- Make a savory paste of herbs and garlic and rub it all over the inside of the leg.
- Roll up the leg of lamb and secure with twine.
- Rub the remaining herb mixture all over the outside of the lamb, to create a delicious crust.
- Bake over a bed of vegetables, for about 1- 1 ½ hours, until internal temperature reaches 125F.
- Rest 15 minutes, then slice.
- Serve the delicious juicy Greek leg of lamb with the flavorful Mint and Caper Gremolata Sauce….so delicious!
The first step to making this Leg of Lamb Roast, is making the herb paste. Two to three savory herbs like sage, rosemary or thyme, blended in a food processor with flat-leaf parsley, garlic and olive oil. It doesn’t need to be smooth.
I use this flavorful herb paste on whole roasted beef tenderloin as well. Just rub it very liberally all over, and let it sit overnight in the fridge before roasting.
Try to purchase a pasture-raised, grass-fed, locally sourced lamb if possible.
Ask your butcher to remove the bone and butterfly it. Once you unwrap your lamb, make sure to pat it dry. It makes the whole process easier.
For example, this piece had a huge sort of lump on one side, and as you can see below, so I butterflied it to create a somewhat even base.
Each one will be a little different. Just try to open it up so you can roll it. Generously sprinkle all sides with salt and pepper.
Spread the herb mixture on the inside, saving some for the outside too.
I usually remove some of the outer fat like you see above. This is a personal preference. Some people leave the fat on like I did here this time, as an experiment, and it is also good– but I prefer it with most of the fat trimmed off.
The herb rub will keep it moist.
TIP: If you leave the fat on, score it with a sharp knife, so the rub gets into the cuts.
Wrap it up with kitchen twine, at one to two-inch intervals.
Rub the outside with the remaining herb mix.
A few options for roasting Leg of Lamb:
- Roast the lamb on a bed of veggies (this option is my favorite, but will take longer to cook).
- Roast on a rack, set over a pan, to create a nice crust on the bottom as well (this cooks faster).
- Some people also place the roast directly on their oven rack with a sheet pan below on a lower rack, to increase airflow on all sides of the roast. This does produce a really nice outcome, crispy crust on all sides, faster cooking times- but then you have to wash your oven rack. Messy! So I just roast it over the bed of veggies. The lamb juices drip into the veggies and add great flavor.
How long to roast leg of lamb:
A boneless leg of lamb takes approximately 20 minutes per pound of roasting time at 325F for Medium Rare ( 135F).
- Place lamb in a hot 425 F oven for 15 minutes.
- Reduce heat to 325F.
- Continue roasting until internal temp reaches least 125 F (rare) to 130F, remembering that the size of the lamb will determine how long it takes to cook. Plan on 20 minutes per pound of lamb.
- Once cooked to desired doneness, remove the lamb from the baking dish, set aside on a cutting board, loosely covered with foil, and let the veggies continue to cook, if needed, while the lamb rests 15- 20 minutes. Resting is important here. 😉
Serve the leg of lamb roast with the Mint Gremolata sauce.
Herb-Crusted and herb stuffed, Roasted Leg of Lamb is an amazingly delicious holiday main course, baked over roasted vegetables. Made with a boneless leg of lamb.
- 3.5 –5 lb leg of lamb – boneless & butterflied (ask your butcher.)
- ½–¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- cracked pepper
Herb Filling and Herb Crust
- 1 cup fresh herbs (a mix of 2 or 3 of the following) thyme, sage, rosemary
- 1 cup Italian parsley ( about a ½ a bunch) tender stems ok
- 10 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- ½ tsp salt
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
Mint Caper Gremolata ( optional, served on the side)
- ¼ Cup olive oil
- ⅓ Cup finely chopped mint leaves
- ⅓ Cup finely chopped Italian parsley
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon chopped capers
- 1 finely minced garlic clove
- 2 Tablespoons finely chopped onion or shallot
- salt if necessary
- Pre heat 425 F Oven
- Remove lamb from packaging and pat dry well. Trim away any unwanted fat. A little marbled fat is good, big chunks are not. It’s ok to also remove some or all of the outer layer of fat if that doesn’t appeal to you. (If you want to leave the layer of fat on the roast, score it with a sharp knife in a diagonal criss-cross pattern and at 1-inch intervals just till you hit the meat. Sprinkle all sides with salt and pepper. Place the outer side (side with fat) down.
- Make the herb filling and crust: Place all the herbs, garlic, salt and pepper and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse until it becomes like very coarse sand. Add oil, scraping down the sides if necessary, pulse until just combined -not too smooth or oily- this should feel like a dry coarse paste.
- Stuff: Spread 2/3 of the paste on the inside of the lamb, saving the rest for the outer crust.
- Roll up the lamb with the filling on the inside and tie at one-inch intervals. You can either do individual strings and knots or wrap up with one very long string. It really doesn’t need to be perfect, just do the best you can. Rub the remaining filling paste all over the outside of the lamb. (At this point you can refrigerate for 1-3 days if making ahead. Make sure to bring to room temp at least one hour before roasting.)
- ROAST: You have three roasting options. 1. Roast alone on a wire rack, over a pan (fastest) to catch the drippings giving you a crust on all sides. 2. Roast directly on your oven rack (messiest) with a sheet pan on the rack below to catch the drippings, or 3. Prepare a bed of roasting veggies for the leg of lamb to rest on and roast over, collecting the juices (longest, but my favorite and tasty).
- For the veggies, cut any combination of roasting vegetables into bite-size pieces. Toss a little olive oil to coat and sprinkle with salt and pepper, a few springs of herbs, stir and lay the lamb roast directly over top in a large roasting pan.
- Place lamb in a hot 425 F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325F. ( If roasting directly on the oven rack, lower temp to 300 F. ) Continue roasting for another 50 mins to 1.5 hours… or until lamb registers at least 125 F (rare) to 135F, remembering that the size of the lamb will determine how long it takes to cook. Once cooked to desired doneness, remove the lamb from the baking dish, set aside on a cutting board, loosely covered with foil, and let the veggies continue to cook, if needed, while the lamb rests 15- 20 minutes. Resting is important here. 😉
- While the lamb is roasting make the optional Mint gremolata. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.
- Slice the lamb and serve with roasted veggies & mint gremolata.
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