Perfect Roast of Lamb

Serves 10-12

Try to find lamb that is pasture-raised and hormone and antibiotic-free. It makes all the difference (to us and to them). The quality of the meat and being mindful not to overcook is the secret to perfection. We have a great farmer near Opelousas, Louisiana, who raises an old breed of sheep called Gulf Coast. Meat from his lambs is extra-fatty, which I love. As the leg of lamb roasts, I make sure to take several temperature readings in various parts of the leg to assess doneness. If you are using a boneless leg, have your butcher truss it for you, then just season it and follow the remaining steps of the recipe.

Ingredients

1 6–7 pound leg of lamb, bone in
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh marjoram, chopped
Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Zest of one lemon, or one lemon and a zester

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 450°. Season the lamb generously with salt and black and red peppers, then massage the leg with the olive oil, rosemary, marjoram, and thyme.

2. Scatter the chopped onions, carrots, and garlic in the bottom of a heavy-bottomed roasting pan. Set the lambon top of the vegetables. Sprinkle lemon zest over the lamb, or use a zester right over the lamb in the pan.

3. Put the leg of lamb into the oven, reduce the temperature to 250°, and roast for an hour or so until the roast registers an internal temperature of 135° on a meat thermometer.

4. Ratatouille would be wonderful with the lamb, along with Sweet Corn Pudding.