Could you explain how a leg of lamb is roasted? I’ve tried three times, and every time it gets worse. It has a strong odor and is tough. Please help!
—K.L., Columbus, Ohio
Leg of lamb can be flavorful and tender when prepared correctly. But let’s back up and begin at the market. Generally, younger whole leg of lamb, weighing about 6 pounds, has a milder flavor.
If you prefer a boneless leg of lamb, you might want to have the tougher shank end removed by your butcher.
The leg of lamb you buy may have a thin, papery white membrane (the fell) covering it, which should be removed before roasting. Then trim the fat, which carries a strong taste that can overpower the delicate flavor of the meat. Leave just a few streaks of fat to provide moisture as the lamb cooks.
Place the lamb on a rack, fat side up, in a shallow roasting pan. I like to sprinkle the meat with salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme. Insert a meat thermometer in the thickest muscle, being careful not to let the thermometer rest on a bone or in fat.
Roast, uncovered, at 325° for 19 to 27 minutes per pound for a 5- to 7-pound leg of lamb. For medium-rare, a meat thermometer should read 145°; for medium, 160°. The flavor and texture are best when not roasted past medium.