Classic Stuffed Leg of Lamb Recipe
Though not quite as popular in the United States, leg of lamb is a favorite dish of many in the United Kingdom. A mainstay of the Easter holiday, lamb is a delicious and extremely tender meat that's hard to improve on, but "hard" doesn't mean "impossible". Stuffed leg of lamb proves that for sure.
In this article you can learn more on how to cook a leg of lamb, what kind of sauce to prepare, but today we’ll be focusing on a classic yet unique take on eating lamb. Stuffed leg of lamb can serve as both a delicious introduction to the meat or an old favorite for those who already love it. How do you make it? What do you need to get started? Let's answer these and other pressing questions as we go over a recipe for the classic stuffed leg of lamb.
What You Need For This Recipe
In order to make a stuffed leg of lamb, you'll need a few ingredients and materials before you start. While a few items might be a bit out of the way compared to your normal rotation, there shouldn't be any you'll have trouble getting your hands on.
- Butcher's twine.
- Large roasting pan.
- Digital read thermometer.
- Aluminum foil.
- Flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped.
- 3 garlic cloves.
- Cubed pancetta or bacon.
- Olive oil.
- 1 bottle good quality red wine.
- Veal or beef stock.
- 2 teaspoons unsalted sweet cream butter, chilled and diced.
- Kosher salt.
- Freshly ground black pepper.
- Sumac powder.
- Half leg of lamb (~2.5 lbs).
Stuffed Leg Of Lamb Recipe
Once you've assembled your materials, you can move on to cooking your stuffed leg of lamb.
Step 1: Prep Work
Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut off any twine holding your lamb leg together and unfold it like a book skin side down. If your leg of lamb still contains the bone, carefully cut down the sides and around it until it comes free, taking off as little meat as possible.
Additionally, slice through the center of the meet slightly if the leg has trouble laying flat, being sure not to cut all the way through and accidentally cutting it in half. Let the leg sit out to warm up slightly for about half an hour (or as long as it takes the oven to get up to temperature).
Step 2: Filling the Leg
Season the surface of the meat generously with salt and freshly ground pepper, followed by a healthy dusting of sumac powder. Roughly chop a good handful of parsley leaves (you can discard the stems) and sprinkle them across the surface.
Do the same with three thinly sliced garlic cloves and about 2 and a half ounces of diced pancetta or bacon (cooked or cured, not raw). To add a bit more flavor, you can sauté the garlic slices in a bit of olive oil until toasted before placing them in the lamb.
Season the filling with a bit more salt and pepper, then drizzle over it with olive oil. Roll up the leg being sure to keep any filling from falling out either end, then retie it with butcher's twine until secure, sprinkling the outside with salt on all sides.
Step 3: Searing the Leg
Once thoroughly seasoned, the next step to ensure an extremely flavorful stuffed leg of lamb is by searing the outside before it goes in the oven. Heat the roasting pan on medium-high heat with a healthy drizzle of olive oil. Once the oil starts to shimmer, place in the leg of lamb and allow it to sear on all sides until a delicious golden brown.
Step 4: Roasting the Leg
After you've nicely colored the outside of the leg, transfer it into the oven. Cooking time will depend on a number of factors including the size of the lamb leg and the degree of doneness you want it to be.
In general, a leg of lamb the size listed in the ingredients section would need at least an hour to cook, at which point it would have an internal temperature of around 120 degrees Fahrenheit at the thickest part (rare). Monitor the cooking time to find the ideal point at which you would like your meat cook, then remove it from the oven.
Step 5: Making the Sauce
Remove the leg from the pan and wrap it tightly with aluminum foil, leaving on a cutting board or other flat surface to rest for a minimum of ten minutes. After that, remove any fat from the roasting pan and place it on the burner (or burners depending on the size). Over medium heat, pour in about five ounces of red wine and scrape the bottom of the pan, stirring and scraping the mixture until it reduces into a near syrup-like liquid.
At this point, add in about four ounces of veal or beef stock, stirring the liquids together until combined and allowing it to simmer until reduced by half (you can also include any fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary you might have laying around for extra flavor).
Strain the sauce through a fine sieve and add it back to a small saucepan. On medium-low heat, add in two teaspoons of diced chilled unsalted butter, swirling the pan until melted and incorporated into the sauce. Add any salt and pepper that it might need at this point, too.
Step 6: Serving the Lamb
After the sauce has finished and the leg of lamb has had a chance to rest, it's time to eat. Snip the twine and slice the leg into thick pieces, plating them up on a bed of wilted greens. Pour the sauce around the meat and drizzling over more as needed.
Now you've got the skills necessary to make a delicious stuffed leg of lamb like a pro. One taste of the tender meat combined with that extremely flavorful beef and garlic stuffing will sell you on this dish in an instant, not to mention the otherworldly flavorful yet extremely easy sauce made from leftover pan drippings.
How was this recipe? Any tips on cooking a stuffed leg of lamb? Tell us in the comments below, and remember to share this recipe with a friend, especially around the holidays.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Debone a Leg of Lamb?
If you do not feel comfortable deboning a leg of lamb, you can always ask the butcher to do it for you. They are meat experts and are happy to help with this. If you want to do it yourself, cut along the leg bone. Keep your knife close to the bone and continue to make small cuts all the way around the bone. Once all of the meat has been cut, it will be easy to lift out the bone.
How Do You Stuff a Leg of Lamb?
Stuffed leg of lamb is made by butterflying a leg of lamb until it lays flat. The stuffing is placed on the entire surface of the butterflied lamb. The meat is then rolled up and trussed using butcher's twine.
How Long do You Cook Rolled Leg of Lamb?
A stuffed leg of lamb will cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 120 degrees F in the thickest part. This will give you a rare cut of meat. This should take about 20 minutes per pound of lamb.
What Sauce Goes with Lamb?
Sauces with fresh herbs, such as mint or rosemary flavored sauces, are classic accompaniments with lamb. In more modern preparations, it is not uncommon to see Argentinian style chimichurri served with lamb.
How Long Should You Rest Stuffed Leg of Lamb?
A stuffed leg of lamb should rest the same amount of time as a leg of lamb. At minimum, you should allow the leg to rest for 15 to 20 minutes.