Recipe: Roast leg of lamb with rosemary, garlic and anchovies

Total time:

2 1/2 to 3 hours



8 to 12


Bone-in lamb legs are available at most major supermarkets and butcher shops. Call ahead to request that the hip bone be removed and to have the tip of the leg meat removed from the bone, or "frenched."

6 cloves garlic

7 (3- to 4-inch) sprigs fresh rosemary

5 anchovy fillets

1 (5- to 6-pound) semi-boneless, frenched leg of lamb

2 teaspoons salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Cut garlic "studs" by cutting the cloves into thick slices and then cutting the widest slices in half or into thirds. Separate the rosemary sprigs into individual bunches of leaves. Cut the anchovy fillets into small (roughly one-fourth inch) pieces.

2. Stud the lamb; starting at the wide, hip end of the lamb, poke a small sharp knife about one-half inch deep into the leg. Give the knife a twist to create an opening. Press a piece of anchovy fillet into the hole. Next, press a rosemary sprig into the hole. Finally, press the garlic stud into the hole, securing the rosemary. A tuft of rosemary and a tip of garlic may protrude from the hole.

3. Repeat at regular 1 1/2 - to 2-inch intervals for the length and breadth of the leg, except those places where the bone is so close to the surface you can't insert the knife.


4. Season the lamb generously with salt and pepper and rub with olive oil. Leave on a platter at room temperature for at least an hour before roasting. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 450 degrees.

5. Place the lamb on a rack in a roasting pan. When the oven is ready, roast for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees. Cook until a meat thermometer inserted deep into the leg reaches 130 degrees, 75 to 90 minutes.

6. Remove the lamb to a carving board and tent it loosely with foil. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.

Each of 12 servings: 222 calories; 31 grams protein; 1 gram carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 10 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 93 mg. cholesterol; 525 mg. sodium.


Mint sauce

Total time: About 8 minutes

Servings: Makes about one-third cup

Note: This recipe is based on an idea from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's upcoming "River Cottage Meat Book," which is set to be published in July.

1/4 cup finely chopped mint leaves

1 teaspoon minced shallots

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried mustard

1 tablespoon canola or

vegetable oil

2 tablespoons plain yogurt

Put the mint, shallots, vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard and oil in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid. Seal and shake well to combine. Add the yogurt and shake well again.

Each tablespoon: 33 calories; 0 protein; 1 gram carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 3 grams fat; 0 saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 121 mg. sodium.


Mint salsa verde

Total time: About 22 minutes (12 if using a blender)

Servings: Makes three-fourths to

1 cup

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 anchovy fillets, preferably salted

1 tablespoon capers

6 tablespoons chopped

parsley leaves

2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/2 cup to 3/4 cup olive oil

1. Pound the garlic and salt in a mortar and pestle to a smooth paste. Chop the anchovies (if using salted anchovies, first rinse them under cool running water and pat them dry). Add the anchovies and capers to the garlic and pound to a paste. Add the parsley and mint and pound until you have a slightly coarse paste. Stir in the vinegar.

2. Stirring with the pestle, slowly pour in the olive oil so it makes a fairly smooth paste, like pesto. After you've added one-half cup, begin tasting the sauce and stop when you like the texture and flavor.

3. Alternatively, puree the garlic, salt, anchovies (if using salted anchovies, first rinse them under cool running water and pat dry), capers, parsley, mint and vinegar in a blender. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil. After you've added one-half cup, begin tasting the sauce and stop when you like the texture and flavor.

Each tablespoon: 95 calories; 0 protein; 0 carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 11 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 1 mg. cholesterol; 145 mg. sodium.