Butterflied Leg of Lamb, Greek-Style
September 24, 2012
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In many parts of the world lamb, mutton, and goat are the most common red meat on local menus. Not so in the US where beef cheaply fattened on corn dominates the meat counter. What lamb is available, aside from the pricy frozen bits at farmers’ markets, is imported from Australia or New Zealand; goat mostly comes as frozen cubes sold at halal markets; and, mutton is simply not to be found. More’s the shame since these are tasty alternatives to our usual meats. But economy, not gastronomy, rules the market so lamb is a sometime treat. On a recent trip to Sam’s Club I was pleased to see that the price of a boneless leg of lamb had dropped somewhat to an almost-reasonable $5.99 a pound so I indulged. If you are using a bone-in leg, remove the bone or have your butcher do it for you.
- Leg of lamb
- Olive Oil
- Lemon Juice
- Greek Yogurt
- Salt and Pepper
(see Method for quantities)
These instruction are for boneless leg of lamb that is tunnel cut and packaged in a roasting net. Adjust accordingly.
Remove the lamb from the net and pull out the pop-up thermometer if it has one. The leg will resemble a tube of meat. Find the side where the meat is thinnest and cut through to open out the leg. Make a cut part way through the thickest part so that the meat lays out flat.
Using a mini-chopper if you have one, chop five or six cloves of garlic along with a good sprig of fresh mint and a tablespoon or so of fresh mint leaves. Add enough olive oil and lemon to make a thick paste. Stir the paste into about a half cup of Greek yogurt.
Prepare a grill for high heat. Season the meat with salt and pepper then generously smear on the marinade. Grill directly over the heat for about eight to ten minutes per side.
While the lamb is grilling, preheat oven to 350°F and set a rack into a suitable roasting pan. When the exterior of the lamb is well charred put the leg into the pan and roast to an internal temperature of 150°F for medium (more or less to taste). Remove to a serving platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and rest for 10 minutes before serving.
If you wish to omit the grilling step, preheat the oven to 450°F. Roast the lamb for about 10 minutes then turn the heat down to 350°F to finish.
Serve thin slices over Greek-style spinach rice with tzatziki on the side.