Until I started dating my husband, I had never cooked lamb. Being that it is one of his absolute favorite meats though, I have since found some go-to recipes, as well as created my own. Taking the flavor profile of a Barefoot Contessa recipe, I turned it into a slow-roasted, fork-tender leg of lamb dish. Both recipes are absolutely divine, but we have come to favor this wine-infused, slow-roasted version.
You can use either a bone-in or boneless leg of lamb. Cooking times will differ though depending on if there is a bone, weight, or if it’s Australian, New Zealand or American lamb (fat content, grass-fed, etc.), so be sure to monitor the lamb as it cooks.
- 1 (5-7 pound) Leg of Lamb, trimmed & tied (bone-in or removed)
- 1/2 cup Dijon Mustard
- 10 cloves Garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh Rosemary leaves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
- 3 pounds Red Tomatoes, cored and 1-inch diced
- 1 large Yellow Onion, sliced
- 1/2 cup Olive Oil
- 1/2 cup good Honey (liquid for drizzling)
- 6 sprigs fresh Thyme
- 6 sprigs fresh Rosemary
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- 2 cups dry Red Wine, preferably an earthy European wine
- 3 cups Beef Broth
- 2 tablespoons+ Flour (for gravy)
Preheat the oven to 465F degrees. Combine the mustard, 5 garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon freshly chopped rosemary leaves, balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper in a mini food processor and pulse until the garlic is minced. Place the leg of lamb in a large roasting pan or Dutch oven, fat side up, and pat it dry with a paper towel. Using a small knife, make small incisions in the fat and then spread the garlic rosemary mixture all over the lamb. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the tomatoes, olive oil, 1/4 cup of the honey, the sliced onion, the remaining 5 garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons salt, and 2 tablespoons of pepper. Pour the tomato mixture all around the lamb, and then tuck the remaining rosemary sprigs and fresh thyme sprigs into the mixture. Drizzle the rest of the honey over the leg of lamb, and place in the oven uncovered. Roast for about 15 minutes, or until it has a nice brown crust. Remove from the oven and drop the heat to 300F degrees.
Turn the lamb over so the fattier side is down in the roasting pan. Add the red wine and beef broth to the roasting pan. The liquid will not cover the entire leg of lamb and that’s ok. Cover loosely with tinfoil or leave an opening with the lid and continue to roast for another 4-5 hours. Depending on the weight and fat content, you may need longer or shorter roasting time. Monitor the meat on occasion, pouring some of the juices over it. Note that the meat fibers will tighten up before they relax and tenderize. The lamb is done when the meat is fork tender. If you want to brown the top of the lamb, turn it back over so the fatty side is up and continue to roast uncovered, up to 45 minutes.
Using a strainer to remove the solids, pour some of the lamb juice into a separate sauce pan. Bring the liquid to a soft boil and then sprinkle in the flour. Continue to whisk well over a soft boil. Adjust the liquid and flour as needed until you get a gravy consistency. Serve over the lamb.