Roasted Leg of Lamb & Potatoes – Greek Style
January 18, 2016
Roasted leg of lamb with roasted potatoes. Who could ask for anything more?
- 5 – 7 medium sized white potatoes, peeled, washed and quartered lengthwise
- 6 sprigs of parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp oregano, crushed
- 2 tsp beef base
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 3/4 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp pepper
Note: This meal makes for more than 2 servings with plenty more for seconds. If you’re worried about leftovers, consider that tomorrow’s lunch or dinner will only take minutes to prepare (reheat the leftovers).
Peel, wash and cut the potatoes into quartered lengthwise wedges and set aside in a bowl filled with cold water. If baking the lamb for 1 1/2 hours (150’F. internal temperature), cut potatoes into 6 pieces, instead of 4, so that they don/t take too long to bake.
Prepare onions and set aside. Prepare garlic cloves and set in a different bowl. To the garlic, add: the 10 finely chopped parsley sprigs, 2 tsp beef base, 1 tbsp crushed dried rosemary, 1 tbsp dried oregano, crushed and 3/4 tsp pepper. Add in about 1 tbsp oil, from the 1/3 cup of oil, and mix well with your fingers, pushing flavourings into garlic: set aside.
Remove any excess fat from the leg of lamb and carefully slice off the inspection seal that’s stamped on the fat. Don’t worry about cutting through the meat to remove the stamp, as long as you remove the stamp (the stamp’s ink is made of vegetable colouring, so it’s pretty safe to eat, but not visually appealing). Rinse lamb under cold running water and then dry well with paper towels.
Using a single bladed knife, make a slit into the lamb, as in a stabbing motion, going through the meat, but not piercing out the other side of the meat.
Take one of the seasoned garlic halves and push it into the slit, going as deep as possible.
Continue making more slits, in the same manner, going all around the leg. Reserve the parsley seasonings left in the bowl for later.
Broiler Basting: see Broiler Baste
Place an oven rack on the second upper level, leaving about 4 – 5 inches away from the broiler and then preheat broiler to 500’F. In the meantime, place the leg of lamb, with its bad side in the roasting pan, and brush the lamb using the 1/3 cup of oil, just enough to coat evenly with oil. Place pan under the broiler and close the oven door. Broil for 3 – 5 minutes and then check for signs of colouring. When the lamb has taken a bit of colour. Remove the pan from the oven, keeping the door slightly ajar and place the roasting pan on the table or countertop (using ovenproof place mats) and then brush a bit more oil onto the lamb. Return the roasting pan to the broiler and repeat until the lamb has taken on a slightly darker colour. Repeat this 2 – 3 times and then turn the leg over and repeat another 2 – 3 more times.
When you have completed the broiler basting, remove the pan from the oven and set oven temperature to 350’F. BAKE, not broil and place the oven rack to the lowest possible level near the baking element. Brush the reserved parsley seasonings onto the lamb, using your pastry brush; don’t worry about some of the parsley falling off from the meat. Pour in any remaining basting oil from what’s left from the measuring cup into the pan, but not on the lamb itself (the parsley will roll off the meat) and drop in the onion halves. Then take about 2 cups water and rinse your bowl that contained the garlic and parsley, and empty out the liquid into the roasting pan.
Preparing the Potatoes:
Drain potatoes in a colander then transfer to a large mixing bowl. To the potatoes, add: the finely chopped 6 sprigs of parsley, 1 tbsp oregano, crushed, 2 tsp beef base, 2 tsp garlic powder, 3/4 tsp paprika and 1/2 tsp pepper. Add the sliced potatoes and the 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice and toss well to dissolve flavourings then add to pan and follow recipe according to your preferred degree of doneness.
When the lamb’s internal temperature has reached your preferred degree of doneness, increase the oven temperature to 450’F and bake uncovered, basting the lamb and the potatoes with the accumulated pan juices every 7 – 9 minutes. Transfer lamb and potatoes to serving platter. Strain and degrease pan juices; slightly reheat juices in a small pot and transfer to a gravy boat.
If the lamb has cooked according to your preference, but the potatoes taste a little starchy, then go ahead and remove the lamb (kept well covered in a serving platter) and continue baking the potatoes until cooked. If the potatoes have cooked, but the lamb requires a little more baking, then remove the potatoes (kept well covered in a serving platter) and continue baking the lamb to your preference.
To slice the lamb, hold the bone with a clean paper napkin and using a single bladed knife, start slicing the thickest part of the lamb, going alongside the bone. Another way of slicing the lamb is to cut the meat, going to the bone, thus removing the meat from the bone and then slicing the meat into 1/4 inch slices. Due to the fact that a leg of lamb is an irregular shape, don’t expect to cut it evenly as you would slice a loaf of bread.
A Note About Internal Temperatures:
Throughout the years, many cooks have suggested that the lamb’s internal temperatures can range from 120’F for rosy pink meat, to 140’F for well done, without toughening the meat, regardless of the oven’s temperature. Furthermore, some cooks believe that the higher the lamb’s internal temperature is, the tougher the lamb will be. This is the reason why most cooks only bake lamb until its internal temperature reaches 140′ – 145F., so as to not toughen the meat. However, this low registered internal temperature may not kill the harmful bacteria and the lamb may be unsafe to eat. You can easily achieve a tender leg of lamb, which registers an internal temperature ranging from 150’F. – 170’F., making it safe to eat, simply by baking it at a lower oven temperature, such as 350’F. for a longer period of time. This technique will take a little longer, however, you will end up with lamb that is safe and tender to eat, with the least amount of shrinkage. I prefer baking meats at low oven temperatures rather than high ones since it is common that higher baking oven temperatures (400’F. – 450’F.) tend to dry out meat causing lots of shrinkages. So, taking everything into consideration and depending on your taste, the lamb can take between 1 1/2 hours – 3 hours to bake.