Want to know how to cook a leg of lamb for this Sunday's roast? Tender and packed with flavour, roast lamb is a top choice for a special meal shared with family and friends. Our recipe below is simple, yet sure to bring out the delicious taste of this meat. Bear in mind that to make roast lamb you need the leg; other cuts are better suited to grilling or cooking in your slow cooker.
Remember to season your leg of lamb before cooking it. Otherwise, lamb tastes amazing with rosemary and garlic also. If you want to flavour it this way, you’d just need to make small slits into the meat with a sharp knife and push a sliver of garlic and a few leaves of rosemary into each slit before cooking.
Roast leg of lamb recipe
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours 5 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes
1.85kg leg of lamb
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4.
1. Sprinkle leg of lamb with salt and pepper just before cooking, and place it in a roasting tin.
2. Cook in the centre of the oven for around two hours and five minutes for medium (that is, pink), or around two hours and 30 minutes for well done meat.
3. Baste with its own juices two or three times during the cooking process.
4. To test whether the lamb is cooked, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the meat. For medium, the juices should be slightly pink and for well done, they should be clear.
A meat thermometer is your (more accurate) aid. Look for a temperature of 60°C for medium. If you're unfamiliar with cooking lamb, this may be your best bet until you're slightly more sure of the timings and the outcome you should be looking for.
5. Rest the leg of lamb in a warm place for 20 minutes before carving.
How to cook a leg of lamb like Heston Blumenthal
So, how does Heston Blumenthal cook a leg of lamb? Well, you may be surprised to hear that his roasted leg of lamb recipe includes.... anchovies. And no, this isn't one of those weird and whacky culinary ideas that Blumenthal has become known for, it's actually a super easy way to enhance the flavour of your leg of lamb. Here's everything you need to know:
- Leg of lamb
- Red wine
- Chicken stock
1. Heston Blumenthal begins by browning his leg of lamb very slightly in a roasting tin, along with some rosemary for flavour. Once happy, he leaves it to rest for a short amount of time, before removing and placing on a clean chopping board.
2. From there, he uses a knife to make small incisions across the length of his leg of lamb, which he stuffs with a small amount of garlic and anchovy, followed by a small about of rosemary. Heston Blumenthal recommends repeating this process a dozen, or so, times.
3. Once this is done, Heston Blumenthal places his leg of lamb in a roasting tin, which he transfers into the oven at 160ºC for about an hour and a half. If you have a probe, he recommends getting the lamb to 52ºC.
4. Once the time is up, Heston Blumenthal recommends taking the lamb out of the oven and leaving it to rest so that the juices can spread throughout the meat.
5. Don't throw whatever's left at the bottom of your pan away, however. Instead, place your baking tin over the stove, adding a liberal amount of red wine and combining using a spatula. From there, add some chicken stock and bring to the boil.
6. Use a sieve to drain the gravy into a clean pan and finish off with a dash of mustard.
Ainsley Harriott's herb stuffed lamb
Ainsley Harriott originally shared this recipe in the lead up to Easter, but as any lamb fan will know, this succulent meat can be enjoyed all year around as it makes a mean Sunday roast.
- Butter, 50g
- A large onion, finely chopped
- Six sprigs of thyme
- Large handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- Fresh white breadcrumbs, 175g
- Leg of lamb, 2.25–2.75 kg boned with shank end left intact
- Fresh rosemary, thyme and sage sprigs
- Plain flour, one tbsp
- Lamb or chicken stock, 300ml
- Redcurrant jelly, a tbsp
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1. Ainsley Harriott begins by pre-heating the oven to 190ºC/375F/Gas Mark 5.
2. Next, he begins making the stuffing by melting butter in a large frying pan and gently sautéing the ovens until soft. Ainsley Harriott then stirs in the thyme leaves, parsley, bread crumbs and seasons to taste.
3. Once ready, Ainsley Harriott suggests putting the stuffing inside the boned-out lamb, and arranging sprigs of herbs on the outside – these should be fastened using string.
4. He then places the lamb inside the roasting tin, covering loosely with a good amount of tin foil before allowing to roast for two hours.
5. Once the two hours are up, Ainsley Harriott recommend basting the lamb, before leaving to roast for another 30 minutes so that the meat is nice and tender. If you like your lamb well done, he suggests cooking it for another 30 minutes on top of that.
Top tip: to check that your lamb is cooked, Ainsley Harriott suggests inserting a skewer into the thickest part of the meat an observing the juices. The pinker they are, the rarer the meat he advises.
6. Leave your cooked lamb to rest on a warm plate for 30 minutes before cutting away the herbs and carving into slices.