This roast dinner was inspired by lamb stew, but instead of cutting the leg of lamb into chunks for stew, the lamb is left whole. Rub the lamb with plenty of sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and fresh minced garlic to create a deep rich flavor. Add a bit of fresh rosemary or thyme for accent.
Roast the lamb until crispy brown on the outside and tender and succulent on the inside. Set the roast on a bed of root vegetables to help it brown all over and infuse the vegetables with lots of meaty flavor.
Note: Half of a boneless leg of lamb works for a family dinner, but feel free to roast a full leg, with or without the bone, just adjust the cooking time accordingly.
For a full boneless leg of lamb, calculate about 25 minutes per pound; for a bone-in roast, you'll need to cook it for about 15 minutes per pound of its total weight.
- 3 pounds boneless leg of lamb (tied into a roast)
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Optional: 1 teaspoon rosemary (or thyme leaves)
- 4 parsnips (and/or carrots)
- 2 pounds other mixed root vegetables (potatoes, turnips, onions, rutabagas, celery root, and kohlrabi are good choices)
Pat the lamb dry and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the salt and pepper. Peel and mince the garlic and add it to the bowl along with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Combine this into a paste. Mince the herbs, if you're using them, and work them into the paste, too.
Rub the paste all over the lamb, working it into any creases or areas of the lamb that separate from one another.
Roll the lamb into a roast and tie it with kitchen string, if necessary to help it keep its shape.
Let the lamb marinate in the paste for at least an hour and up to overnight, covered and chilled.
Preheat your oven to 375 F. While the oven heats, bring the lamb to room temperature.
Trim and peel the parsnips and/or carrots. Cut them into quarters lengthwise, cutting out the tough core in the parsnips.
Use about 1 teaspoon of the olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of a roasting pan. Arrange the carrots and/or parsnips in a row in the center of the pan and place the lamb on top of them.
Trim and peel the other root vegetables and cut them into chunks. Arrange them around the lamb, drizzle them with the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil, and sprinkle them lightly with salt. Put the pan in the oven.
After about 40 minutes, remove the pan and toss the vegetables in the pan juices a bit. Return to the oven.
Cook until the lamb measures:
- 145 F with a meat thermometer for medium-rare
- or up to 160 F for medium
- It is not recommended to cook lamb past medium, but well-done lamb would measure 170 F.
This should be about 1 hour 15 minutes total cooking time for a 3-pound roast (calculate about 25 minutes per pound of a boneless, tied roast for medium-rare).
Let the roast sit, covered to keep it warm, for at least 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes before carving or cutting it. This resting time allows the roast to finish cooking, and for the juices to redistribute throughout the meat for a more tender, juicier roast.
Serve, cut into slices, with root vegetables alongside.