Roast Leg of Lamb



  • 1 boneless leg of lamb (5 to 6 pounds)

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons sumac

  • 2 tablespoons ground fennel seed

  • 1 tablespoon ground pasilla chile, or other medium-hot chile, such as ancho or mulato

  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground clove

  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh oregano

  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh rosemary

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Pat the lamb leg dry with paper towels and set aside.

  2. Combine the salt, sumac, fennel seed, ground chile, black pepper, cinnamon, clove, oregano and rosemary in a small bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Add the olive oil and stir to make a thick paste.
  4. Rub the paste over the entire lamb leg, making certain to coat all of the surfaces.

  5. Place the rub-coated lamb leg on the rack of a roasting pan with foil on the bottom.
  6. Refrigerate the leg for 2 to 3 hours, or allow to sit at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
  7. Thirty minutes before you’re ready to roast the lamb leg, heat the oven to 450°F.

  8. Put the roasting pan with the lamb leg on a rack in the middle of the oven and roast for 15 minutes.
  9. Reduce the temperature to 325°F and continue to roast until a meat thermometer inserted in the center of the roast registers 140°F for medium rare.
  10. Plan on 25 to 30 minutes per pound, or a total of approximately 2-1/2 hours for a 5 to 6 pound leg.
  11. Begin checking the temperature after 1-1/2 hours, to get a sense of how quickly the meat is cooking.

  12. When it reaches 140°F, remove the lamb leg from the oven and pour 1/2 cup water in the bottom of the pan.
  13. Cover the lamb leg loosely with foil and let stand 15 to 20 minutes before slicing.


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