Roast Leg of Lamb

by Sava

I hope this isn’t too short notice for your Easter lamb…but since our Greek Orthodox Easter is the Sunday following “your” Easter, I was a little behind in my thinking and posting! For our family, roast lamb is the classic centerpiece of Easter dinner. Living in Southern California, I typically put it on the grill, but it can, of course, be put in the oven, filling the kitchen with its tantalizing aromas of garlic, lemon and oregano. This is in our upcoming cookbook/travel journal along with several stories of some incredible experiences we had while traveling in Greece. One in particular was about meeting a woman in a small village on the island of Skopelos who actually had known our parents. Amazing still, when we all returned to our respective homes, my sister Georgia discovered a photograph in a desk drawer, of my Dad standing in his backyard with this very woman, as he roasted a lamb on a spit over an open fire. The whole story is even more amazing than this, but you will have to read it in its entirety when our cookbook/travel journal comes out this year, at long last.

Prepare this the day before you want to roast it.

1 leg of lamb (boneless or bone in) 8-10 lbs.                                                 1 t each salt and pepper

2/3 to 1 c fresh lemon juice                                                                                   2 T dried oregano or more to taste

4 garlic cloves slivered                                                                                            1/2 c olive oil

1 c water or beef broth

Preheat oven to 500° or prepare grill

Place the lamb on a cutting board. With the point of a sharp knife make deep slits all over, top and bottom, and insert garlic slivers. Mix all ingredients for marinade except water or broth. Place lamb in large plastic ziplock bag and pour in the marinade, reserving water or broth. Turn the bag over and over to make sure the lamb has been covered with marinade. Place in refrigerator and let marinate overnight, turning the bag over occasionally. When ready to roast, remove lamb from bag, place in roasting pan with the marinade and a cup of water or broth and reduce the oven heat to 350°. Roast for about 2 to 3 hours or until thermometer registers 175° for well-done (until skin is brown and crisp and juices run clear.) Some people like their lamb medium rare, so using your thermometer, roast accordingly and remove before the well-done stage.

When I grill it, I start it out as above and place it in a disposable aluminum roasting pan. I have 4 burners on our gas grill, so after heating it to the max, I turn off the 2 center burners, leaving the outside burners on high, and place the pan in the center of the grill. I put down the cover and let it roast for 45 minutes, then check it. It does cook faster in the grill and the liquid evaporates quickly, so keep adding water or beef broth to the pan so you will have some au jus when it is done. Continue to let it cook until the thermometer reads the desired result. At the very end, I take the lamb out of the pan and set it right on the grill, over direct heat and let it quickly brown on all sides. This just takes a couple of minutes, so watch it carefully. We just want it to brown up, if it hasn’t done so already while in the pan.

If using a charcoal grill, prepare and heat your coals. When they are ready, arrange them in a circle, pushing them away from the center so the pan will not be directly over the fire. Continue as for the gas grill, checking your thermometer periodically and adding liquid to the pan as necessary. When it has reached the temperature and doneness you like, remove from pan and place directly over hot coals for browning, if desired. The aroma is out of this world, which makes it very difficult not to sneak a taste or two before serving.

I have other posts from last year about our dying red eggs, so check it out.

Happy Easter to you all and may you wish you had cooked TWO legs of lamb for leftovers!! Yassou and see you next time.

Please let me know how you liked it. Leave comments below. Thank you.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Trio April 6, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Christos Anesti. S’agapou!


Georgia April 6, 2012 at 8:18 pm

I can smell that sizzling delight in my dreams!!
Yia mas!!!


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