I first made this dish a few weeks ago at GGD’s house for our Golden Globe Awards viewing and it was a big hit! So naturally, I decided it would be the perfect main dish for a recent wine tasting party that I hosted. Leg of Lamb can get pretty expensive and it makes A LOT of food, so it’s ideal for a group of 4-10 people. That way you can split up the cost of the meat and share the leftovers.
When serving boneless leg of lamb, I like to cut it up into chunks (after it’s been trimmed of all the fat) and marinade it overnight in a blend of herbs, spices, vegetables and oil. When ready to cook, I sear the lamb on both sides for about three minutes and finish off with a quick broil. I also make a couple different dipping sauces to serve with the lamb, including my spicy yogurt and Martha Stewart’s Green Goddess Dip. You could also serve with a tahini sauce (tahini, lemon, water, paprika, salt), and everyone will be pleased!
- 3-4 lbs boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of fat
- 1/2 white onion
- 1 shallot
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2-3 TB parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup mint, chopped
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 lemon, juiced
- cooking spray
Start by trimming all the fat off the leg of lamb. Use a sharp knife, and slowly slide it under the layers of fat to cut away. Once trimmed, cut down into smaller pieces and continue to cut into smaller chunks. Transfer lamb to a large tupperware container and set aside, leaving at room temperature while you prepare the marinade.
In a food processor, chop garlic, shallot and onion with a steel blade. Add parsley, mint, and lemon and continue to process. Scrape down the sides of food processor so that all the ingredients are closer to the center of the bowl. Add the spices and process to combine, adding the oil in a slow steady drip while the motor is running. Taste for seasoning and adjust to your liking. The marinade will be slightly spicy, which is good! And because of the onions, the marinade has a thicker, pulp-like consistency, which provides a great texture to the lamb once it’s cooked. Coat the lamb chunks in the marinade, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24.
Remove lamb from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking to bring to room temperature. Heat a large non-stick pan and coat with cooking spray. Take about 1/4 of the lamb chunks and sear in the pan for 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a baking tray lined with aluminum foil and repeat with the rest of the lamb in several batches. Once all the lamb is seared, turn the broiler onto high and place the baking tray into the oven, broiling for about 10 minutes or until fully cooked but slightly rare.
If hosting a dinner party, you will want to serve the lamb warm so you can do everything up until the broiling ahead of time. Just cover the baking pan with another layer of aluminum after you’ve seared all of the lamb and set aside until ready to broil.
Serve the lamb on a large platter, with smaller bowls of the dipping sauces. This recipe goes well with several side dishes, including carrot soup, kale and farro salad, or orzo with feta, tomatoes and dill.
In terms of wine pairing, this lamb dish goes well with a bolder wine like a French Bordeaux, Napa Cabernet Sauvignon or a Malbec from South America. We had all three of these wines at my wine tasting party and each of them went very well with the lamb, especially the Malbec. The key is to find a wine with a hint of spice that is not too fruit forward. A really fruity wine won’t go well with the spiciness in the lamb marinade, and the wine may end up tasting a little bitter. So stick with the bolder, spicier wines and you and your guests will be happy!