This is my favorite, and my most requested lamb recipe for leg of lamb -- bone in...
Leg of Lamb with Garlic Sauce
6 [or so] servings
1 5-pound leg of lamb, with the bone in
6 garlic cloves, slivered
12 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
24 garlic cloves, peeled, left whole
1 cup dry red wine (such as Côte du Rhône)
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley (preferably flat-leaf)
1. Have your butcher prepare the meat by removing most of the fat and skin from the leg, and by removing most of the bare bone that protrudes from the leg. If you want a slightly smaller leg, have him (or her!) shorten it from the hip end. When you’re ready to roast it, trim lamb of any excess fat. Make many slits all over the lamb and insert a sliver of garlic and a piece of anchovy in each incision. Finely chop the rosemary and thyme and mix the herbs with sea salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the lamb with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and the herb mixture. Let it stand for 1 to 2 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place the meat on a rack in a roasting pan, and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F., and cook for 40 to 45 minutes for medium rare lamb. The temperature on an instant-read thermometer should register 130 degrees F. (That’s how it¹s supposed to be!)
3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy skillet, and cook the 24 garlic cloves slowly for about 10 minutes, or until they are soft (don’t let the edges get crisp—or brown). Set aside in a small bowl.
4. Remove lamb to a warmed platter, and turn off the oven. Cover with an aluminum foil tent and set it in the oven to keep warm while you prepare the sauce. On top the stove, put wine into the roasting pan, scraping the bottom well to loosen any brown bits or caramelized juices, and cook the wine over a high flame to reduce it by about one-third. Add the reduced liquid to the garlic cloves. Mash well with a fork, and add sea salt and pepper to taste.
5. Slice the lamb and grind some fresh black pepper over it. Spoon on the sauce, and sprinkle it all with freshly chopped parsley.
Teacher¹s Tip: If you live anywhere near an Italian butcher, buy your lamb for this dish from him! The Italian-style leg will have the long bone left intact, and it allows for an extremely attractive presentation not possible with the standard American cut.
2. Roasted Potatoes and Garlic are an excellent accompaniment.
Wine Tip: There are two wines that pair magnificently with this dish.
Not surprisingly, they both come from Provence: Châteauneuf-du-Pape (my favorite is Clos des Pape), and Bandol Rouge (I love those from Domaine Tempier inordinately!) If you are on a budget, a Côte du Rhône will do admirably.
Wine is the food that completes the meal.