Spring celebrations wouldn’t be the same without one classic centerpiece: roasted lamb. The American Lamb Board offers inspiration and simple guidelines for preparing the perfect roast, along with a fresh twist on the beloved mint jelly.
Roasting is a dry heat cooking method, well-suited to lamb cuts such as leg, crown roast, loin, shoulder and rack. The perfect roast results in a crispy brown exterior and a moist, tender interior.
“Roasted leg of lamb, in particular, is a tried and true addition to the Easter or Passover table,” says Megan Wortman, executive director, American Lamb Board. “Fortunately, as elegant as it is, it’s actually quite simple to prepare.” Wortman offers these top tips for perfecting your spring roast:
– Ask your butcher to help you select and prepare your cut-of-choice. For example, a butcher can remove the bone from a leg of lamb, or “french” a rack of lamb, simplifying your prep work.
– For best results, bring the meat to room temperature before cooking it.
– Sear the outside of the meat for the first 10-20 minutes, sealing in the meat’s juices and flavors.
– Roast slowly at 325 degrees for approximately 15-20 minutes per pound.
– Let the meat rest for 15 minutes after removing it from the oven, to help it retain its juices.
– For medium rare, cook meat to an internal temperature of 135 degrees; for medium, cook to an internal temperature of 150 degrees. Keep in mind that the temperature of the meat will rise another 5-10 degrees after it’s removed from the oven.
For a new take on the traditional roasted leg of lamb, consider swapping conventional mint jelly with a vibrant “mint chimichurri” made with fresh mint, garlic cloves, parsley leaves, capers, black pepper, salt and olive oil. American Lamb Board’s newest recipe, Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb with Fingerling Potatoes, Leeks, and Mint Chimichurri, calls for seasoning the leg of lamb from the inside out, resulting in a more intense, juicy roast.