Traditional recipes

Grilled Leg of Lamb with Red Wine, Garlic, Mustard, and Sage

Grilled Leg of Lamb with Red Wine, Garlic, Mustard, and Sage

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry red wine (such as Zinfandel)
  • 3/4 cup chopped shallots (about 3 large)
  • 1/2 cup whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage (about 1/2 ounce) plus sprigs for garnish (optional)
  • 1 7-pound leg of lamb, boned, evenly flattened, outside fat partially trimmed (yields about 5 2/3 pounds)
  • 1 cup low-salt beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Recipe Preparation

  • Whisk wine, shallots, mustard, 1/3 cup chopped sage, oil, and garlic in medium glass bowl. Transfer 1/2 cup marinade to small bowl; reserve for sauce. Cover and chill. Place leg of lamb in 2-gallon resealable plastic bag. Pour remaining marinade into bag; seal. Turn bag to coat, arranging lamb in 1 flat piece. Place lamb in marinade on rimmed baking sheet. Chill overnight, turning occasionally.

  • Combine reserved 1/2 cup marinade and beef broth in small saucepan. Boil until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 12 minutes. DO AHEAD Sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, cover, and chill.

  • Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Remove lamb from plastic bag and transfer to large rimmed baking sheet with some marinade still clinging. Open lamb like book and sprinkle on both sides with salt and pepper. Transfer lamb to grill. Cover and grill until charred and instant-read thermometer inserted into meat registers 135°F for medium-rare, about 10 minutes per side (some thicker pieces can be cut away from leg and grilled longer if desired). Transfer to work surface; let rest 10 minutes.

  • Rewarm sauce. Whisk in butter and remaining 1 tablespoon chopped sage. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  • Thinly slice lamb against grain. Transfer to platter. Spoon some of sauce over. Garnish with fresh sage sprigs, if desired. Serve with additional sauce alongside.

  • A New Zealand Pinot Noir is a great pairing for the lamb. Try the Sherwood Estate 2007 Pinot Noir ($15). The plum and cherry flavors and toasty oak finish are delicious with the grilled meat.

Recipe by Diane Rossen Worthington,Reviews Section

To make this classic holiday ham, lacquer a smoked Virginia ham with mustard and brown sugar, dot its surface with pineapple rings and maraschino cherries, and coat with a garlicky pineapple sauce before baking.

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Top pairings

It&rsquos true that lamb is one of the most wine-friendly of meats, as at home with red Bordeaux and Rioja as it is with the fruitier wines of the new world. But if you&rsquore looking for a spot-on wine pairing it&rsquos worth thinking just how - and for how long - you&rsquore going to cook it.

And, though you might not have thought about it before, how old it is.

'Baby/milk fed&rsquo lamb

A delicacy more popular in Mediterranean countries such as Spain, Italy and south-west France than in the UK and one that deserves to be paired with fine wines - top quality Bordeaux, burgundy and Rioja, all with a few years' bottle age. (Mature wines go well with this style of lamb)

Spring lamb served pink with fresh herbs and/or spring vegetables

Cuts like rack of lamb, noisettes and leg of lamb - exactly the sort of dishes you might be thinking about for an Easter feast (unless you&rsquore living in the southern hemisphere, of course). Again, the wines mentioned above will work well but I&rsquove got a bias in favour of Pinot Noir or cru Beaujolais with this type of dish. Dry rosé, especially vintage rosé Champagne, is also good.

Roast lamb served medium-rare to well-done, with garlic or rosemary and/or a winey sauce or gravy

The way many households would prepare a leg of lamb for a multi-generational family get-together. This is more robust treatment than the above which would work better with a younger, more fruit-driven wine such as a younger red Bordeaux, Cabernet or Cabernet/Merlot blend, a Rioja reserva, a Chianti Classico or a northern Rhône red. (The same goes for lamb shanks cooked in red wine.)

Lamb chops

Often served simply on the grill - maybe with some grilled Mediterranean vegetables such as courgettes (zucchini) or peppers on the side. A medium-bodied red wine such as a Chianti or a Mencia from northern Spain would be delicious as would reds from the Southern Rhône or Languedoc.

Slow-roast shoulder of lamb

A fattier, more flavourful dish, especially if made with older lamb such as hoggett or mutton. A slightly gamey Rhône or Spanish red such as a Ribera del Duero is a good choice with this.

Typically British/Irish lamb stews and hotpots, shepherd&rsquos pie

The characteristic of these types of dishes is their very simple flavours - sweet-tasting lamb, stock and a few root vegetables with maybe a sprig of thyme or bay. Big tannic reds will overwhelm them - stick to inexpensive country reds such as a Côtes du Rhône Villages. (Or, frankly, a British pale ale.)

More exotic lamb stews such as tagines or lamb with aubergines

Robust, rustic but not overly tannic reds such as Côtes du Roussillon, Languedoc reds and young (crianza) Riojas.

Lamb curries such as rogan josh

A fruity, slightly porty red such as a Douro red or Zinfandel should work provided the accompanying dishes aren&rsquot too hot. India Pale Ales (IPAs) are also good.

Chargrilled/barbecued lamb

Depends on the rub or marinade. If it&rsquos spicy you&rsquoll need a wine with some sweet fruit like a Chilean Cabernet, Pinotage or an Australian Shiraz. If it&rsquos marinated, Greek-style, with lemon and herbs look for a wine with a bit less fruit and a bit more acidity. (Italian reds such as Chianti and Barbera fit this description. (See this recipe for lamb and porcini kebabs with sage and parmesan.) Crisp Greek whites like Assyrtiko and strong dry rosés are also enjoyable.)

Image © Natasha Breen - Fotolia.com

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Recipe Summary

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried sage
  • ½ teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 pounds leg of lamb

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).

Mix garlic, salt, pepper, ginger, thyme, sage, add marjoram in a bowl. Stir soy sauce and vegetable oil into the garlic mixture until loosely paste-like add the bay leaf.

Cut slits into the lamb on all sides. Rub herb mixture over entire surface of lamb, massaging it into the slits. Put lamb in a roasting pan.

Roast lamb until browned on the outside and red in the center, about 50 minutes for rare. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 125 degrees F (52 degrees C). Cover lamb loosely with aluminum foil and cool about 20 minutes before carving.


What’s the benefit of marinating?

Marinating the meat before cooking adds layers of flavor on the surface, and helps to further tenderize it with salt. Make sure to generously season with salt and pepper first, then spread on the herb paste.

This recipe uses rosemary, thyme, parsley, and extra-virgin olive oil. Adding in some fat like olive oil dissolves the fat-soluble flavor molecules in the aromatics to diffuse it more efficiently on the lamb. The recipe doesn’t use any acids in the marinade, so it’s safe to prepare and refrigerate for hours without the risk of becoming mushy in texture.


Leg of lamb recipes

You can cook leg of lamb in many ways apart from a classic Sunday roast. It can be barbecued, stewed or slow-cooked in a tagine to make it meltingly tender.

Hay-baked stuffed leg of lamb

Try something different with roast lamb and make this Sunday centrepiece cooked in hay – it adds a sweet smoky flavour. Just make sure it's free of pesticides

Easy roast leg of lamb

Roast a leg of lamb for a family feast. It's ideal served with roasties and your favourite spring vegetables for an Easter dinner or Sunday roast


Roast Leg of Lamb

Perfect roast leg of lamb every time with this recipe. You cannot beat a Spring roast leg of lamb, usually under five months old, probably the ultimate Sunday roast. It’s actually quite easy to make, just follow a few simple steps and your lamb will be to die for.

This one has the bone still attached, hence making it tastier and extra moist which is my preference. It’s cooked at a lower temperature for a longer time resulting in more even cooking throughout plus juicier. Use woody rosemary if you can, it will be easier to insert.

If you don’t have a roasting rack, cut a peeled onion in two and place your lamb leg on the onion so it sits higher than the liquid.

4.5lb - 2kg leg of lamb (with bone)

Take out your leg of lamb from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking. I used a nice spring lamb.

Score your meat by slicing shallow cuts into the white fatty part, creating diamond shapes. Pour a little olive oil over meat and rub using your hands to cover all over. Season with salt, pepper and the smoked paprika. Massage well into the grooves.

Place a roasting pan on high heat with a little olive oil. Add the meat and sear it all around, you may need to hold in place for a minute or so. Sear it nice and golden brown all over. Leave to cool a little.

Peel 2 garlic cloves and cut each clove lengthwise into four pieces.

Pierce 8-10 holes into the meat and insert in each hole one piece of garlic using your fingers.

Break up the rosemary into a dozen pieces approx. 2cm – 1 inch long and roll half a sage leaf around the bottom of each one. Same as the garlic, pierce some holes and insert the sage and rosemary quite deeply. 10-12 in total.

Peel and slice the onions, chop carrots and celery stalk. Add them to the same roasting. Cover with 3 cups of water.

Position the roasting rack into the pan and place the lamb on the rack.

Roast in preheated convection oven at 210°F – 100°C for 120 minutes. A conventional oven will take approx. 25% longer, therefore 145 minutes. Use a meat thermometer for better accuracy. (Aim for 55°C to 60°C or 130°F to 140°F meat temp for medium rare). If leg is larger, aim for a longer cooking time but maintain same temperature.

Once cooked, remove roasting rack with meat and leave to rest 30 minutes covered in foil and a few kitchen towels.

Put the same roasting pan with onions and vegetables back on the stove at high heat. Bring to a simmer. Add the red wine, chicken stock and mustard. Continue to simmer 10 minutes.

In a pot, melt the butter and once melted add the flour, (roux) continue cooking until a light nutty brown colour.

Add contents (roux) to simmering liquid in roasting pan to thicken the gravy. Mix well and simmer a few more minutes until thickened.

Taste and finish seasoning with salt and pepper. Pass through a fine strainer.

Once the lamb has rested 30 -45 minutes, carve thin slices, and serve immediately with the hot gravy. Reheat gravy before serving. Great with green beans and buttery roast potatoes.


How long does it take to cook lamb chops?

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in stainless steel or cast iron skillet until hot.
  • Pan sear 4 lamb chops for about 4 minutes on each side.
  • Cover with the lid. Remove from heat.
  • Allow the pan-seared lamb chops rest, covered, for about 5 more minutes.


Beef/venison

First place: Celine Hughes, of Vestal

  • 3-4 pounds cubed beef or venison
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • ½ cup red or white wine
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ½ lime or lemon squeezed juice
  • ½ cup chopped sweet basil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 5-6 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary

Combine all ingredients. Marinate for 2 days.

Second place: Charles Thomson, Trade Commission of Peru

  • 6 oz. hanger steak beef
  • 1 spoonful salt
  • 1 spoonful pepper
  • 1 spoonful cumin
  • 1 spoonful aji panca purée [Note: Aji panca is a Peruvian chili pepper you can pick this paste up via Amazon.com]
  • 2 spoonfuls vinegar

BEEF SPIEDIES

  • 3 to 5 pounds tender beef, cut in 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup wine
  • 1 cup oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 6 bay leaves, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients marinate for three to four days.

VENISON SPIEDIES

  • 1 pound cubed meat
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/8 cup soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons catsup
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 crushed cloves of garlic

Marinate meat in refrigerator for four days. Grill over high heat approximately six minutes.

VEAL SPIEDIES

  • 5 pounds cubed veal
  • 1 gallon olive oil
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 liter red wine or wine vinegar
  • 3 cups lemon juice
  • 4 fresh lemons, squeezed (do not discard the lemons)
  • 2 cups Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup each: oregano and basil
  • 1/2 cup parsley

Combine marinade ingredients, including the squeezed lemons. Marinate meat in refrigerator. Skewer grill over hot coals.


Leg Of Lamb

Reviews

Rate or Review

Reviews (7 reviews)

This was excellent. My teen daughter nearly licked her plate!
I failed to prep the leg of lamb the day before so I did it in the morning. Instead of the rosemary sprigs, I followed the advice of an earlier reviewer and made a paste in the food processor with garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper, Dijon, and evoo. I cut the fat cap in a traditional crosshatch and smeared the paste all over it. I added carrots and parsnips in with the potatoes and roasted as directed.
Served with a green salad and Oregon Pinot Noir. Really easy and worthy of a special occasion.

I used a 4 Lb semi-boneless leg. Inserted the Garlic slivers. Slathered Dijon Mustard and Olive Oil over the entire leg. Made a Herb rub with Rosemary, Sage ,Oregano, Onion Powder and fresh ground Black Pepper. Coated the entire leg and set in fridge overnight. Sliced potatoes into 1/2" rounds with Olive Oil, fresh Pepper and a handful of fresh Parsley. Roasted the Lamb for about 1 3/4 Hours. The potatoes were infused with the delightful flavors of the rub and Lamb. Wonderful. Enjoyed with French Syrah wine.

I decided just this morning to make this for dinner tonight. I didn't have "overnight" at my disposal, but the flavors of garlic and rosemary still permeated the meat beautifully. I also didn't have lavender so I substituted Herbs de Provence. This is one delicious lamb recipe. And the potatoes are killer!

This was so good. the garlic, rosemary, and lavender blended together with the lamb perfectly. I cut off all the fat first, rubbed the lamb with olive oil, and then added the garlic and rosemary. I covered it with additional garlic and rosemary, and fresh lavender. My guests loved it!


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