I treat a leg of lamb much like a lamb shank, brown the meat then place in a roasting pan with aromatics, seasoning and some braising liquid. The fat from the lamb leg melts way, the connective tissues break down and the braising liquid helps transform the muscular leg of lamb into a succulent, flavourful meat that is cooked well, juicy and very flavourful.
The flavour profile is classic Greek with the generous use of garlic, thyme, oregano, rosemary and some bay leaves as well. The lamb is studded with slivers of garlic, sweet paprika balances the lemon juices and some olive oil and white wine bring the pan juices together.
Slow-Roasted Leg of Lamb
1 leg of lamb (bone in) or 2 short-cut legs of lamb (6-8lbs.)
1 head of garlic
fine sea salt
fresh ground pepper
approx. 2 tsp. garlic powder
approx. 2 tsp. sweet paprika
2 medium onions, peeled & quartered
1 cup dry white wine
2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
10 sprigs of fresh thyme
2-3 tsp. dried Greek oregano
2-3 bay leaves
juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
- Peel the skins off the garlic clove and slice them into slivers. Stick a paring knife into the lamb and make a hole, then slip a sliver of garlic. Repeat and insert as many slivers of garlic as you can.
- Pre-heat your oven to 550F and place the rack in the middle position. Drizzle your lamb with some olive oil and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Place the leg of lamb in a roasting pan that just fits the leg. Place in your pre-heated oven and roast uncovered for about 10-15 minutes or until browned, then flip the leg and roast for another 10-15 minutes.
- Remove the lamb from the oven and reduce the heat to 350F. Place the quartered onions around the lamb, add any remaining slivers of garlic, add the herbs (thyme, bay, rosemary, oregano) and squeeze in the lemon juice and pour the wine into the pan. Add the olive oil and enough hot water to cover third of the lamb.
- Cover and place the lamb back in the oven for 2 hours (add more hot water if needed), baste the lamb once an hour. After two hours, flip the leg of lamb (add more water if necessary and adjust seasoning of liquid with salt and pepper).
- The total cooking time for the lamb is approx. 3 hours, the leg of lamb shoulder be a deep brown and the bones will be exposed and the meat should show signs of separating from the bone.
- Remove the lamb from the oven, baste with liquid and allow to rest. Serve with Greek roast potatoes or pair with roast potatoes tossed in leg of lamb drippings.
- Pair with a Papaioannou Estate Agiorghitiko red Nemea.
*TIP: Have some peeled potatoes (quartered) to roast in another roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Pour enough pan juices from the lamb leg to come up a third of the way on the potatoes and toss to coat. Taste, adjust seasoning and crank your oven up to 450F and place the potatoes in the oven to roast for 35-40 minutes or until fork-tender (the lamb will stay warm covered in the roasting pan on the stove-top).
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