I love roasts–there’s something homey and comforting but classy about a nice roast. Plus, you get a bunch of food with minimal effort! I especially love roasting a leg of lamb–its simple and an opportunity to really appreciate what lamb has to offer as far as texture and flavor. This is one such dish that really lets you appreciate the unique flavor of lamb.
For this version, I made a simple fig, apricot, and mint stuffing, rolling the leg roast tightly around it. Then, after giving the leg a good sear, the roast is basted with pomegranate juice to yield a delicious, tacky glaze. The tartness of the glaze is a great foil to the surprisingly complex, sweet stuffing. Plus, it just looks plain sexy.
The only downer was that the drippings from the roast weren’t suitable for sauce-making (the pomegranate juice takes on a burnt taste).
- ~4.5 lb boned leg of lamb
- ground cardamom
- ground cumin
- high smoke point oil (I used ghee)
- few sprigs of rosemary
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 1 cup dried apricots
- 1 cup dried mission figs
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 3 shallots
- 1/2 cup mint leaves
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp heavy cream
Before you get started, take the leg out of the fridge, debone it (if you bought it bone in), pat it dry all over with paper towels, and give it an hour to come to room temperature.
The stuffing is very easy to prepare. Peel the paper off of the shallots, discard the bottoms, and remove any stems from the dried figs. Now, simply throw all of the stuffing ingredients short of the bread crumbs and cream into a food processor and pulse until nice and small. Then add the bread crumbs and cream, pulse some more, and tada, stuffing!
At this point, you want to do your best to flatten out the leg of lamb to be as level and even in thickness throughout as you can. You might have to cut a little here and there or pound a few areas out with a meat mallet, but don’t worry if its not perfect. Have the meaty side facing you and the fatty side on the bottom (so that it will be on the outside of the rolled up roast, basting the meat throughout cooking).
Once reasonably flat, spread the stuffing out all over the lamb, pressing it and distributing evenly all over.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, reduce the pomegranate juice over medium heat for 20 minutes to get it a bit more syruppy and then remove from heat.
Very tightly roll the leg of lamb back up, trying to keep it as tight as you can. If you have any string/twine, it would probably be a good idea to tie this shut to ensure an evenly shaped roast, but its not mandatory. Once rolled up, rub all over with oil (I used ghee, which is clarified butter) and season with salt, pepper, cardamom, and cumin. Prop this up in a roasting pan and strew about some rosemary sprigs.
Roast the lamb in a 425°F oven for 20 minutes (to get a nice sear on the outside) and then drop the temperature to 350°F. Baste the roast with pomegranate juice and pan drippings roughly every 15 minutes until done cooking (which will take approximately an hour, but check the internal temperature. It should be 135°F). Once done cooking, remove from the oven and let the leg roast stand for 10 minutes before you start carving off cross-wise slices.
I served this with a bit of cous cous. I began by roasting some tomatoes and preserved lemons and then mixed them with chicken stock and the rest of the cous cous, studding it with parsely, mint, cashews, raisins, and almonds. Enjoy!