Cool Yule Holiday Recipe – Chef Bauer’s Roasted Leg of Lamb

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 9:54
Posted in category From the Kitchen, Recipes
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Roasted Leg of Lamb Cool Yule Holiday Recipe
It’s time to set the table with your favorite holiday meals. A worthy festive gathering has many above the ordinary options as friends and family come to the table, including the traditional Glazed Ham and Turkey to Roasted Tenderloin of Beef and Prime Rib eye Roast.

I remember vividly what we always ate for Christmas dinner (unless Aunt Betty was cooking) – Lamb!!!! My grandmother always loved to make a roasted leg of lamb and I can still remember the fantastic aromas greeting us at the door the moment we arrived.

Our holiday dinner celebration was paired with the traditional – and infamous – green bean casserole, delicious fluffy, buttery potatoes, rich pan gravy and simply roasted root vegetables, golden brown and bursting with flavor from the natural sugars.

Here’s my favorite Christmas day recipe for a simple to prepare, delicious roasted leg of lamb. The recipe is both easy on you and perfect for enjoying special times. Remember Christmas and the holidays are a wonderful time for family and friends – and at least for me — the foods that I grew up still hold vivid memories in my mind… and stomach.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

– Chef Bauer


All Natural Roasted Colorado Lamb Leg

A very simple way to accentuate the natural flavors of lamb meat is to combine fresh herbs and aromatics that can be stuffed in the leg. The lamb will be approx five pounds depending on the origin of lamb. Colorado lamb is significantly larger than New Zealand or Australian. (I prefer Colorado lamb as the fat and flavor profile is more suitable to my palate.)

Lamb Leg – 1 piece approx 5 lb.
Fresh Garlic Cloves (sliced approx 1/4”) – 12 pieces
Fresh Rosemary – 5 pieces
Carrots (Large Dice) – 5 pieces
Onion (Large Dice) – 3 pieces
Turnips (Large Dice) – 3 pieces
Celery Root (Large Dice) – 3 pieces
Bay leaf (fresh or dried) – 4 pieces fresh or 2 pieces dried
Fresh Thyme – 10 sprigs (leaves removed and stems discarded)
Fresh Cracked Black pepper – 2 Tblsp
Kosher Sea Salt – 6 Tblsp
Lamb Stock (Beef can be substituted) – 6 cups

Decide on a bone in leg or boneless and tied or in netting. Either will work, however, a bone in leg of lamb will take longer to cook than a boneless.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Prepare the meat by making 1.5 to 2 inches deep cuts approximately 3” apart with a pairing knife in different spots. Insert fresh thyme & rosemary leaves followed by slices of fresh garlic. Stuff the aromatics all the way in so you can no longer see them.

After stuffing, let the lamb set to room temperature or close too before you begin to roast. Before roasting season the entire leg with a bit of olive oil followed by salt and pepper. After seasoning let the meat rest for an additional 30 minutes before placing in the oven. This will allow for the seasoning to penetrate the meat adding an even seasoning throughout.

Begin roasting in a very hot 425-degree oven to evenly sear the outside. After the lamb has browned nicely (approx 25 min) turn the oven temp down to 225 degrees. I prefer to slow roast any large pc of meat as it tends to come out much more tender and cooked evenly throughout. After about 15 minutes at 225 degrees, add in all the vegetables to the pan and start to glaze the lamb with the broth. You want to use the vegetables to raise the lamb leg from the bottom of the pan and give it a chance to roast evenly. Every 20 minutes or so stir the veggies and re-glaze with more stock. You want to cook the lamb to an internal center temp of 135 degrees.

I know now that people may question this temp but remember that this is a large pc of meat and will typically carry over 8-10 degrees while resting. Time cannot be given as it really depends on your oven. Remove the leg of lamb from the oven and cover with foil to rest for 15-20 minutes.

While you do this it is a great time to keep glazing veggies. When they are fork tender remove them and set aside. Place the stock that is left in a saucepot and bring to a boil to skim off any fat. Add a knob of butter to the sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Plate this beautiful roasted lamb by serving some veggies and slicing the lamb 1/3 of an inch thick, then ladling some jus over the meat. Enjoy a fabulous meal.