How to prepare Baked or Roast lamb

Huma Qurashi By Huma Qurashi

This roasted leg of lamb recipe is a meat dish designed for special occasions—a classic addition to any holiday menu, although it can be enjoyed at any time throughout the year.

This straightforward recipe yields a perfect result as long as we adhere to some essential golden rules. Opting for a high-quality cut of meat is crucial, and patience is key, as the preparation and baking process demands at least 2 hours of our time. This method, reminiscent of how my mother prepared roasts for “special” occasions and holiday gatherings, guarantees a delicious outcome.

We’ll prepare the leg of lamb in the style of an authentic Castilian grill, making some adaptations since most of us lack a wood oven at home. A seasoned griller relies on minimal ingredients or seasonings, using just a bit of water for baking and salt for the meat. We’ll also strive to replicate the conditions of a wood oven in our kitchen. Trust me, it’s an irresistible recipe, leaving you with no excuses not to try it at home.

For those looking to explore other lamb variations, one highly successful recipe is lamb stewed with potatoes. It’s a renowned dish often featured in town festivals. Meanwhile, options like Segovian-style suckling pig, roasted lamb shoulder with fine herbs, and baked goat make for delightful family meals or Sunday roasts throughout the year.

Ingredients:

  • 1 “Paschal” leg of lamb, approx. 1.5kg
  • 1 glass of water (150 ml)
  • Salt to taste)
  • Garnish: lettuce, tomato and onion
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Oven roast lamb Recipe

  • The first thing we will do is preheat the oven to a high temperature, about 250º C. So that when you put the lamb in it it does not have to be cooked from a cold environment. Heat up and down. In addition, we are going to put a vessel or container that can withstand the heat of the oven well filled with water. This way we will get humidity in the oven, which will be great for the lamb.
  • Salt the meat well on both sides. We place the leg in a clay or ceramic pot, with the inside side up. Even if it sticks out a little, don’t worry as it will shrink in size during baking.
  • If you do not have this container, it would be possible to cook it on the metal oven tray. Although in this case I recommend putting a little butter in the water. This way it will evaporate more slowly and we will not have to replace it.
  • We lower the temperature of the oven from 250º C (it has to be very hot before putting the lamb in) to 160º C, remember that it must be hot at the top and bottom without air. We pour the glass of water into the base of the casserole and put it in the oven. The meat will release its juice over the water and the sauce will gradually form.

 

Final baking and presentation of the baked lamb

  • During the process we can see how the meat drips. For this size and weight we will bake a total of 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remember that the piece weighs 1.5 kilos. Bake with the inside of the leg facing up for 1 hour and 10 minutes. In that 1 hour and a half we must hydrate the meat about 6 times, approximately every 18-20 minutes. We pour the meat with the sauce that is forming in the casserole.
  • During the last 20 minutes of baking, we turn the leg over, raise the temperature to 180º C and water it again with the sauce. We place the outer part of the piece upwards, this way we will get a lamb with an impressive look. With this method we will get the skin of the leg to be crispy, while the inside will be very juicy. At the end of the total time, we remove from the oven and serve on the table.
  • To carve, we will take the leg (with a cloth) by the part of the bone that protrudes and with a very sharp knife we ​​will remove portions of meat following the shape of the leg, until we finally reach the bone.
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We accompany the lamb with a garnish of lettuce, tomato and onion, a simple salad to refresh.

Tips for delicious baked lamb

  • I recommend accompanying the roast with the most popular and used garnish in our country, potatoes . In this case and as you see in the video I have prepared some Hasselback potatoes (they are not very traditional but they are delicious). If you don’t want to innovate, my recommendation is roast potatoes or the classic baker’s potatoes that always succeed.
  • The piece of meat that I used, 6-month-old lamb, weighed 1,540 kg and its price was 15 euros. The choice of leg of lamb is very important since the final result of the dish depends on it.
  • Since we are going to cook the whole leg we do not need the butcher to make cuts with the machete. This way it will be juicier and not dry.
  • If you want to save a little for Christmas, my recommendation is to buy  an “Easter” lamb , as young as possible and of course of national origin. If you have a budget, opt for suckling lamb , the meat is juicier and more tender but the price is also higher.
  • The bone part has less meat and is roasted sooner. So when you see that it is ready, cover that area with a piece of aluminum foil. This way we will prevent it from drying out excessively.
  • Each oven has its own temperature, each model and brand may vary from what I have. It is best to prepare this test recipe before a special occasion. Get the point of the recipe and then embroider it for yours and your guests to enjoy. I’m sure it will work out the first time, but it doesn’t hurt to try first.
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Hi! I'm Huma Qurashi, an international educator and food writer, excited about bringing you traditional Pakistani recipes from across the country.
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