Roast Leg of Lamb for a Special Meal

In the US, lamb meat just isn’t on our radars the way it is throughout the rest of the world. On average, Americans only eat about one pound of lamb per person annually (for comparison, we eat more than 60 pounds of beef each year). But lamb has a rich, deep flavor that is too good to overlook, even if the only time you enjoy it is for a special roast during the holidays. 

If you’re making a breathtaking lamb centerpiece, you’ll want to start with the right cut for a celebratory occasion. The roasts from our pasture-raised lamb program reward with the fantastic flavor and handsome appearance that you only get from meat raised according to the highest standards. They come to us from Brothers Ridge Farm in Tioga County, NY, who we collaborate with because their practices are more healthy, humane, and sustainable. And naturally, the quality and taste is remarkable. Brothers Ridge checks all the boxes when it comes to what is best for the environment and for their animals, which are raised without hormones or antibiotics and graze on open pasture supplemented with non-GMO grain to make sure they get the energy they need. 

You might be used to lamb cooked into dry, overdone oblivion (which might explain why you’ve avoided it). Or you’ve been served questionably rare, chewy lamb in a chef-y bistro. The actual sweet spot is somewhere in between: it should have a pink blush on the inside to ensure a nice juiciness and plushly tender texture without veering toward either extreme. That’ll land you somewhere between medium-rare (125 degrees F ) and medium-well (145 degrees F), so it’s a good idea to have a meat thermometer on hand. The leg is the most traditional go-to for a celebratory cut of lamb, though a rib, shoulder, or loin roast is wonderful too. Our recipe below demonstrates the basic method and seasonings, which can be used with any of these cuts. Just bear in mind that cooking times may vary depending on the thickness and size.

Lamb leg roast recipe

What you’ll need:

One 3 1/2–4 lb lamb leg roast
One 1 1/2 lb bag small potatoes, scrubbed and cut into halves
Olive oil
Coarse salt and pepper
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 rosemary sprig, leaves finely chopped, plus more for roasting
1 thyme sprig, leaves finely chopped, plus more for roasting

What to do:

1–2 hours before cooking, remove the lamb from the fridge and let sit at room tepmperature. Preheat the oven to 450 F.

Toss halved potatoes with enough olive oil to lightly coat and season with salt and pepper. Place in a large baking dish or sheet pan with rim.

Rub the lamb all over with some olive oil, the garlic, and chopped herbs. Season well with salt and pepper. Tuck some rosemary and thyme sprigs between the potatoes in the pan, then place the meat on top of the potatoes. 

Transfer the roast to the oven. Roast until surface is browned and crusty and the insides read about 10 degrees below the desired temperature on a meat thermometer (125 F for medium). Let rest at least 15 minutes before serving—the internal temperature will continue to rise during this time.

Season the potatoes with salt and pepper, if needed, and serve with the lamb.