If you are in charge of the holiday main dish this year, give the hams a break and consider the leg of lamb. This may sound like an exotic, special order cut of meat, but you can find it at most major grocery chains, especially around the holidays. The secret to a perfectly roasted leg of lamb? Cook it low and slow and then turn up the heat so the exterior can brown and form a crust. This flavorful lamb is wonderfully crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. A leg of lamb is the perfect candidate for pre-seasoning, which concentrates the flavor and results in a crispier browned crust. Scoring the fat cap helps the seasoning penetrate the meat. Cutting the meat off the bone can be tricky. After your guests have seen and been suitably impressed with the large bone in roast, return it to the kitchen to carve. Serve the platter of sliced meat with the parsley-mint sauce on the side. If you want to make it easier, ask your butcher to debone the leg of lamb and then truss it together.

Liz Mervosh
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Set a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Score the fatty top of the lamb 5 times (1/4 inch deep and 4 inches long). Stir together rosemary, thyme, 1/4 cup of the oil, and 1 tablespoon of the garlic. Rub mixture all over lamb. Season with pepper and 5 teaspoons of the salt. Place on wire rack on baking sheet. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour.

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  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Cook lamb until a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of meat registers 125°F to 130°F for medium doneness, 1 hour, 45 minutes. Remove from oven; rest 30 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, increase oven temperature to 450°F. Return lamb to oven; cook until meat is browned and a crust has formed, 10 to 15 minutes. Rest on wire rack 15 minutes.

  • Process parsley, mint, vinegar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon garlic in a food processor 20 seconds. With machine running, pour remaining 1 cup oil into mixture until blended, 20 seconds. Stir in remaining 1 teaspoon salt.

  • Slice lamb against the grain; serve with sauce.