With Easter fast approaching, it’s time to start planning your Easter menu. There are plenty of traditional dishes for the holiday, but my favorites are the ones that take advantage of seasonal ingredients like leg of lamb. You can eat roast beef whenever, but lambs are only lambs in the spring. Leg of lamb also has the advantage of being a dish you can cook without much fuss ahead of time and without having to buy a ton of ingredients.
Many recipes you’ll read are for an entire leg of lamb, but unless you’re cooking for a lot of people, that’s probably more lamb than you need. Our recipe calls for a roast that’s about 2 1/2 pounds (including the bone), which is plenty to feed a family of four and will probably give you a little leftover. Leg of lamb in the US is often served with mint jelly, but we tried a simple mint sauce, which is traditional in the UK–click here for the recipe.
Leg of Lamb Roast
2.5 pound bone-in section of leg of lamb (your butcher should be able to cut this for you)
6 cloves of garlic
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
fresh ground pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. While the oven is getting up to temperature, take the lamb out of the fridge and trim any excess fat off of it. Set the fat aside. Rub the lamb with salt, pepper, and the leaves of three sprigs of thyme.
Using the flat side of a kitchen knife, crush the cloves of garlic and peel off the skins, rub the lamb all over with one of the cloves. Put the oil, crushed garlic, the trimmed lamb fat, and the lamb into a roasting pan or baking dish.
When the oven is up to temperature, put in the lamb. After 20-25 minutes, pull the lamb from the oven and flip it over in the pan, leaving the oven door open for as briefly as possible.
Return the lamb to the oven and cook another 20 minutes and check the temperature. When it is almost to the temperature you are going for, pull it. Lamb is rare at 130 degrees (125 if you’re French), medium rare at 135, medium at 140. It will cook another 5-10 degrees while you rest it. Rest for ten minutes, carve, and serve.