Happy National Roast Leg of Lamb Day!

It’s Springtime and there’s nothing more perfect than a rosemary-scented leg of Spring lamb with garlic, lemon, and roasted vegetables for dinner this time of year and since today is National Roast Leg of Lamb Day, why not make it for dinner tonight? Eating lamb dishes is a celebrated Spring tradition, being a symbol of rebirth in various religions including Christianity, Judaisim and Islam, hence the “spring” reference. It was commonly used in ancient cultures as a sacrifice to the gods, and is prominently featured in biblical texts. A lamb is a sheep that is less than a year old. And even though we use the term “spring” lamb, modern livestock techniques now make lamb available year round. Preparing Lamb dishes at home may seem a bit daunting for the everyday cook, but I have the easiest, most succulent recipe for lamb you will ever prepare. What I love about this recipe is that it’s a one-pot wonder. The juices from the lamb caramelize the vegetables, saving you the extra time to make a separate side dish.  This dish can  be prepared in advance and easily serves a gathering at the table or a big crowd. Open a bottle of wine and you’re all set! I recommend the Syrah or Shiraz varietals  to accompany the dish. The wonderful layers of fruit and spice in these wines complement the flavors in the lamb. For white wine lovers, a great choice is a Torrontes from Argentina. A fruity, aromatic wine, the spice and mint in this wine tango fabulously with the lamb! No matter what wine you choose, my ultimate advice would be to surround yourself with family and friends at the table, and let this delicious roasted lamb warm your hearts and tummies this season. Enjoy! Rosemary-Scented Leg of Spring Lamb with Garlic, Lemon, and Roasted Vegetables

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

*One 5 to 6 lb. leg of lamb, bone-in

10 to 15 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 bunch rosemary, sprigs removed from the stems (stems discarded)
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
2 Tbs. dried oregano
1/3 cup white wine
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 to 14 baby red potatoes, washed
12 to 14 medium size carrots, peeled and trimmed
1 basket of pearl onions, peeled (or one bag frozen pearl onions)
1 lemon, thinly sliced, for serving

Let’s Get Started:
1. Cut 1-inch slits all over the surface of the lamb and fill each one with a garlic clove. Place the lamb in a large dish for marinating and add the rosemary, olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, and white wine. Marinate for 1 hour at room temperature or 5 hours to overnight in the refrigerator.

2. Preheat oven to 450° F. Place lamb, fat side down, and any marinade, in a large roasting pan. Roast for 20 minutes. Scatter the vegetables in the roasting pan around the lamb, reduce the oven temperature to 375° F. and roast for about 1 hour, or until an instant read thermometer registers 135° F., basting every 15 minutes with the pan juices.

3. Transfer the lamb to a platter and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving. Serve with the vegetables and lemon slices.

Copyright Pamela Keith 2007

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