Sunday, June 7, 2015

Pesto Encrusted Boneless Leg of Lamb

Let sit covered in the pesto, at room temperature, for 1 hour
Boneless leg of lamb is a great family or dinner party main anytime of the year...not just at Easter!

Today we will take a look at one of my favourite ways of preparing it -- by covering it in pesto and roasting it at two different temperatures. The method works for any size leg, though the one pictured here was 3 1/2 pounds (so a somewhat smaller one). What I particularly like about this method is that it creates a nice "crust" on the lamb and also results in there being different levels of cooking within the roast so it can cater to more tastes.

First, take out your leg of lamb and cover it in the pesto (you can make your own or use a pre-made). Cover and let sit a room temperature (not in the fridge) for an hour. Boneless legs usually come in a string mesh. Keep this in place during cooking and until carving.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

After cooking, let rest at room temperature for 30-45 minutes
Place the lamb on a roasting pan with a rack (this works better than on a flat pan) and roast on the middle rack for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, reduce the temperature to 350 and roast until it reaches your preferred level of "doneness".

I like it rare, though most people like medium-rare or medium. As always, if you must cook it well-done, I don't want to hear about it!

The best way to gauge this is using a cooking thermometer of whatever type you own (the best are those where you do not have to open the oven).  For rare you want to remove the lamb when it is at around 120, for medium rare 125 and for medium 130.  This will take (not including the first 15 minutes of high heat roasting) around 10-13 minutes a lb for rare, 13-17 for medium rare and 17-20 for medium -- but really, using a thermometer takes out the guesswork.

It is a beautiful thing!
When done let the leg of lamb rest at room temperature before cutting for between 30 and 45 minutes depending on the size of the roast.

This pairs very well with rice, a nice pasta salad, mint sauce and, of course, a good bottle of red wine.


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