Leg of lamb is a family favorite, provides a great yield for causal or formal meals, and is an ideal cut for roasting, barbecuing or grilling. During the cooking process, surface fat renders and cooks out, making the meat very succulent and tender. It’s a hearty fall or winter dish, but can be lightened up for summer grilling, as in this recipe.
This recipe is by chef Ben Spangler. Hailing from Minnesota, Ben draws from his Midwestern roots to create dishes that are unpretentious and delicious. Ben has competed on national television for the Food Network and appeared on local Minneapolis food networks. He is currently executive chef at Mercy in Minneapolis.
Lamb Leg 4 – 5 lb
1 teaspoon salt and pepper
3 oz grapeseed oil
1 ea red onion
6 small ramps/wild leeks or 8 scallions (optional)
1 ea broccoli rabe or rapini
2 ea Fresno chili pepper
1 Tablespoon dried chilis, of your choice
4 Tablespoons chives chopped
1 ea lemon
8 oz polenta
Roast Lamb Leg
- Allow thawed lamb leg to reach room temperature (about 4 hours).
- Remove leg from netting and unroll. Brush leg with oil and season with salt, pepper and dried chilis. Roll meat back up and replace netting on leg.
- When oven roasted cook slowly at 325°F, basting with pan drippings, until internal temperature reaches 125°F (approximately 20 minutes per lb).
- Remove from the oven and wrap in foil.
- Turn oven up to 450°F. Remove meat from foil and place back in the oven until outside is crisp but not burnt.
- Before you cook the lamb, cook the polenta. Bring four cups of lightly seasoned water to a simmer, then whisk in the polenta.
- Slowly simmer until tender adding water when needed, about 90 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Grease a pan with grapeseed oil and spread out polenta evenly.
- Cool, then refrigerate. Cut the polenta into squares, triangles, or any shape you like.
- Brown both sides on an oiled cast iron skillet or griddle, about 4-5 minutes.
- Slice red onions thin, trim broccoli rabe into manageable sizes, slice Fresno chili peppers and ramps thin and drizzle the cooking surface or skillet with oil.
- Sear the broccoli rabe and allow to crisp on one side.
- Add onions, optional ramps, chives and peppers.
- When vegetables are softened add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper, then keep warm and reserve.
Slice the lamb leg and serve with vegetables and polenta.