I wanted to share this in the spring, but lamb is so expensive here that I was buying smaller cuts, which never turned out quite right. This recipe deserves to be made for lots and lots of people, with the biggest leg of lamb you can find. This gives the garlic pieces poked inside plenty of time to cook through and infuse their flavor into the surrounding meat, so that the lucky person who gets a bite with a carmelized shard of garlic gets an unexpected roast garlic taste explosion that they won’t forget. This is a mixture of a Jamie Oliver and a Delia Smith recipe. Delia goes for the little shards of rosemary and garlic inside, Jamie promotes a sticky rich garlic rosemary glaze on the outside. I think the sweet and delicate lamb gets a boost from both, and ever greedy, I can’t make my mind up which is best, so I just combined them, to excellent results!
1 leg of lamb, best in Spring (I use frozen as it’s not readily available here)
6 cloves garlic, 3 cut into thin shards, 3 crushed
3 sprigs rosemary, off the main stalk, but still in their little clumpy bunches
2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the flavor insertion, take a paring knife and insert it into the lamb leg, with a little twist, the aim is to leave a hole big enough to take a sprig of rosemary and shard of garlic. You will get the correct size fairly quickly, as it shouldn’t be difficult to insert the pieces.
- Cut holes and insert the pieces all over, leaving little sprigs sticking out all over (make sure the garlic is fully inserted or it may try to spring back out as it is cooked).
- Combine the crushed garlic, chopped rosemary, oil, salt and pepper in a bowl, then tip over the lamb, rubbing it into the lamb all over (including the holes and any gaps on the cut side of the leg.
- This can now be kept overnight or for a few hours in the refrigerator to allow these amazing flavors to really penetrate the meat.
- When you wish to cook the lamb, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- For a medium lamb, cook it for 30 minutes for every pound. Baste it three times during cooking. Be sure to rest the lamb for 30 minutes after cooking (covered), which will ensure it is moist and all the juices distribute back through the meat. Perfection!