This recipe, with cloves of garlic inserted into the meat prior to roasting, is common across Europe and the Middle East. Sheep meat is classified as lamb if slaughtered before 1 year old. Lamb is more tender and flavorful than mutton, which is the meat of a mature sheep. Lamb was eaten as early as 10,000 years ago in Central Asia, with sheep brought to North America by Spanish conquistadors in the early 1500s. Lamb is not widely eaten in the United States but is popular in regions with Middle Eastern communities. In many Middle Eastern cultures, lambs have ritual significance, with the slaughter and preparation a common part of holiday observances on both sides of the Atlantic.
Recipe Servings: 8
+ 10 minutes resting
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Cut the leg of lamb with slits deep enough to contain slices of garlic and space the slits 3–4 inches apart.
- Insert the garlic into the meat and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Place several sprigs of fresh rosemary under and on top of the lamb.
- Add meat to a roasting pan.
- Roast for 1 hour 45 minutes–2 hours. For medium rare, which is preferred for this cut, the temperature in the center should read at least 135°F on a meat thermometer.
- Remove the lamb from the oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.
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