Leg of Lamb with Fresh Mint Sauce is studded with garlic and roasted with rosemary, salt and pepper. It’s the perfect Easter meal or Sunday supper.
Aussie Leg of Lamb with Fresh Mint Sauce is my favorite Easter meal. Spring and lamb go together perfectly. Of course, the best lamb comes from ‘Down-Under”. I was at an Aussie lamb event a couple of weeks ago, and had the opportunity to learn more about what makes Aussie lamb so special. (This post is sponsored by Aussie Lamb and has been updated. It was originally published on March 25th, 2013, and contains affiliate links)
Why buy Australian lamb?
Australia is the perfect place to raise lamb and beef. With a land mass nearly as large as the US, but a population of less than 25 million, Australia has plenty of space to for grass-fed, pasture raised animals. The Aussies have been farming lamb and beef for over 200 years. Their reputation for producing ethically raised meat is unsurpassed. Aussie lamb and beef raises their animals in natural, open spaces, which contributes to a stress-free environment for the lambs. Click here for more information on Aussie Lamb and how it’s ethically raised.
Why Grass Fed Lamb?
Grass-fed, that’s a big buzz word right now, but what exactly does that mean? Well, when you buy Aussie lamb, you are guaranteed that the lamb you purchased was ethically raised, grass-fed, and never fed antibiotics! Here’s where you can find Aussie lamb in your local grocery stores.
How to prepare a leg of lamb
You can buy a bone-in leg of lamb, partially boned leg. or a boneless leg of lamb. I prefer a partially or boneless leg of lamb as it cooks faster, and is easier to slice. Take that into consideration when you cook it. A boneless leg will cook much faster. I like to stud my lamb with slivers of garlic for extra flavor. The rub I use is simply fresh chopped rosemary, kosher salt, and coarsely ground black pepper.
What temperature should you cook lamb?
This of course, is subjective. It used to be that lamb was only served well-done, don’t do this with Aussie lamb! Seriously, good quality lamb (or beef) should be served medium-rare, to medium at the most!
Some would argue that’s too well-done. Yes, this is a personal preference, but if you’re going to spend the money on high quality meat, please don’t over-cook it! The best way to ensure the perfect temperature is to use a meat thermometer. I use this one, which you can keep in the meat while it’s in the oven. It will beep when it’s getting close to the correct temperature. If you prefer your lamb rare, you’ll want to pull it out at 130 degrees F.
Keep in mind that the meat will rise an additional 10 degrees F. For medium, it should register 145 degrees F. So adjust accordingly for medium-rare. Remember that it’s easier to cook it longer, but once it’s over-cooked, you can never go back.
Fresh Mint Sauce
If you’ve only had lamb with mint jelly, please try this recipe for Fresh Mint Sauce. American mint jelly is loaded with artificial colors and flavors.
It’s also cloyingly sweet and electric green. In England, lamb is traditionally served with a mint sauce, which is more akin to an au jus. It’s tangy, slightly sweet, and simply made using, mint, malt vinegar and very little sugar. The entire recipe for this mint sauce contains just one to two tablespoons of sugar, but if you are sugar sensitive, you can certainly substitute your favorite sugar alternative.
This recipe for Mint Sauce comes from the old Time/Life Series, Foods of the World, The Cooking of the British Isles. My mom collected the whole set in the ’60’s and has given me the entire hard-back collection and some of the spiral bound recipe books.
It’s also fun to see how “food photography” has changed over the last 40 plus years. So simple, dissolve sugar and water over a low-heat until barely simmering, add a hand-full of freshly chopped mint, malt vinegar and a pinch of salt and let it sit.
Adjust the flavor (sweetness) by adding a bit more sugar if necessary. Serve on the side of the lamb in place of mint jelly.
Some of the items used in this post are available at my Amazon store.
Classic Leg Of Lamb
- Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees F. Adjust oven racks so that lamb will roast on the bottom third of your oven.
- For faster cooking, bring meat to room temperature. Mix salt, rosemary and pepper in a small bowl. This is important because you don't want cross-contamination.
- With a long, thin knife, make several deep cuts into the roast. Put a sliver of garlic into each cut. Coat all sides of meat with rosemary/salt rub. (discard any un-used herb rub)
- Roast lamb, fat side up, at 500 degrees for 20 minutes. Reduce oven to 375 degrees and continue roasting until internal temperature reaches the proper temperature to your liking. For medium rare, remove at 135 degrees F. (It will continue cooking after you remove it from the oven another 10-15 degrees)
- If you prefer yours rare, pull at 130*, for medium, pull at 145*.
- This lamb was pulled at 140 for medium rare.
Fresh Mint Sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 2-4 Tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves finely chopped and packed
- 1 cup malt vinegar wine or cider vinegar won't give the same flavor
- pinch of kosher salt
- Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring just until the sugar dissolves completely.
- Remove pan from heat and stir in the mint leaves and vinegar. Taste and add more sugar if you prefer a sweeter sauce.
- Set aside at room temperature for 2-3 hours