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Roasting Lamb

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I picked up a small boneless leg of lamb roast at the grocery store today, mainly because I've never cooked lamb before. I'm a novice cook who is fine when it comes to following recipes but is trying to teach himself how to cook using techniques and flavours rather than numbers and ingredient lists.

Anyway, long story short, I'm planning on roasting this cut of meat, but am not sure of the time. I was reading Alton Brown's "I'm Just Here for the Food" which was recommended to me and in the chapter on roasting he recommends for a good slow roast to roast the meat at 200F until it reaches 10 below the target temperature, and then removing the meat, covering it with foil, and cranking it up to 500 to finish.

Now, Mr Brown says that when roasting, time doesn't matter and you should go by temperature, which sounds like sage advice to me, but I still would like to have an approximate idea of how long this will take so I don't shoot for a 6 o'clock dinner and end up going hungry till 9 or something. :) So can anyone estimate how long this will take to cook? The lamb leg is a small one, about a pound.
post #2 of 3
That's a pretty small roast and it won't take long to cook but the actual cooking time will depend on what temperature you use and how you prepare the roast for the oven. For example, if you buttefly it to get an even density (no great lumps of muscle next to a thin section of meat) and leave it flat it won't take more than 15 or 20 minutes in a hot oven. If you spread it with a paste made of rosemary and garlic and roll it up to cook in a slow oven it will obviously take longer.

One thing about slow roasting though is that you can get an insipid looking piece of meat that may be cooked but doesn't look to appetizing. To get around this you can pan sear it on the stove top to get some color then put it in a slow oven.

I think slow cooking is OK but only for large pieces of meat. For your roast I would season it with... whatever you'd like but at least S&P, roll it up and tie it with kitchen string then roast it in a 400 degree oven to get the color and desired doneness all at once. If you take the meat out of the fridge an hour before you roast it to let it come to room temperature, it shouldn't take more than 30 minutes to get it to medium rare (which is how I prefer my lamb.) If you dont have kitchen string, stitch it together with toothpicks and set it in the pan with the toothpicks on the bottom.

follow all those directions about taking it out of the oven at 5 or 10 degrees short of the desired finished temperature so it can continue cooking when you take it out without over cooking it.

One more thing, if there is any hard fat on the outside of the roast, you may want to trim it off. Lamb fat can have a strong taste and many peope don't like it.

post #3 of 3
Have you read B. Kafka's book on roasting? It is a great resource also "How to Cook Meat" by Schlesinger and Willoughby.

Those two are my roasting Bibles. I just made a two person leg of lamb last week. I seasoned the lamb and rubbed a pesto if lemon rind, parsley, pine nuts and oil into it. Tie it off into a roast shape for even cooking or just watch it well since the thinner parts will cook faster then the thicker ones. I ten dto do half piglets, legs of lamb (smaller ones), spatchcocked chickens at higher temps. like 375-425 F so I can get a really nice crisp skin. I think if you start at a low temp, then crank up later you are more likely to over cook, just my humble opinion. so I start high and then finish low if need be. Also when I pull the meat out to rest and the skin in crisp, I tend not to place a foil tent on it while it is resting since that soften the skin a bit. Hope this helps.

Also am in Italy where they eat their meat a bit more rare all around so we don't fear a bit of pink in chicken or pork so I could not tell you the temps.
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