Looking for a low-stress holiday meal and a roast which is pink all the way through? This slow roasted Greek lamb leg is cooked at a very low temperature for hours so the heat has time to gently work its way into the roast, leaving you with a lamb roast which is juicy, tender, pink right out to the edges, and very hard to overcook.
I’m sure that someone, somewhere has managed to overcook a low temperature, slow roasted lamb leg. However, they would have had to try very hard! Like, fall asleep for several hours or totally forget they were even cooking it.
So long as you can stay awake (or set an alarm) and remember that you are making dinner, you will do just fine. 🙂
There are two sorts of slow cooked roasts. (Both of which are low stress and hard to mess up.) The first type is a braised, slow roast where you end up with well-cooked, falling apart tender meat. I love those sorts of roasts and make my Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder and other braised roasts all the time. The second type is not braised and is cooked at an even lower temperature. This is a great roasting method for tender cuts of meat, where you don’t need the collagen to break down, and for roasts where you want beautiful pink color throughout. I love this method for beef tenderloins, tender pork roasts, and of course for this slow roasted Greek lamb leg.
For many years, when I was younger, my mom would make leg of lamb for my birthday. We would rub it with herbs and poke slivers of garlic into the meat all over and then roast it until it was pretty well done. I always loved it, since lamb is my favorite roast, but we did not do pink in those days. There was well done and medium well done.
In the years since I have worked hard to adjust my taste buds and I have finally gotten myself to medium. (Shockingly underdone I know!) Yes, I made more than one chef cry in my early years, but I now embrace more gently cooked meat. In fact, with roasts, I like to cook them to between medium rare and medium. Juicy, tender meat is good! And this slow roasting method for lamb is perfectly designed to provide a complete roast of tender meat.
I mean, just look at these slices! A beautiful 130F right out to the edge! And then a blast of heat at the end to provide that crispy crust. I took that idea from my recipe for Pork Porchetta, though I went even more extreme and brought the roasting temperature down to 250F and the searing temperature up to 500F. This method is such a great way to roast up a low stress holiday meal that I know I’ll be adapting it again in the future!
So, there you have it, a slow roasted Greek lamb leg which is a great counterpoint to my super quick cooking Grilled Butterflied Lamb Leg. (15 minutes on the grill!) Snowy or cold out? Make a slow roasted lamb. Warm weather great for grilling? Try the grilled lamb! Both are awesome and favorites in our house.
– Happy Roasting, Annemarie
- 5 lb boneless leg of lamb
- 3-4 cloves garlic, cut into thin slivers
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 lb yellow potatoes, sliced 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
Begin preparing the lamb the night before you are going to roast it. Set out the boneless lamb leg on your cutting board. Trim away as much of the fat on the inside of the roast as you can, paying special attention to any large or hard pockets of fat.
Mix together all ingredients of the Greek herb rub.
Rub about half of the herb mixture onto the the inside of the lamb roast. Roll up the roast with the fat cap facing out and tie it up with butcher's twine. (Here is a tutorial.) Using a small, sharp knife cut slits into the lamb roast every inch or so and push a sliver of garlic into each slit until you have evenly filled the lamb with garlic. Now rub the rest of the herb rub over the lamb. Put the lamb in a casserole dish, cover it with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator until it's time to start cooking.
About 3 hours before you want to eat, preheat the oven to 250F. Then toss the potatoes with the salt and olive oil. Transfer the lamb to a roasting pan and surround it with the potato slices.
Roast the lamb for 2 hours, or until the lamb reaches 130F. Then take the lamb out of the roasting pan and let it rest for 40 minutes. Leave the potatoes in the pan let them continue cooking.
After the rest time, remove the roasting pan from the oven and heat the oven to 500F. This will take a few minutes. Add the lamb back to the roasting pan and roast lamb and potatoes together for 12-15 minutes, until the lamb is crispy and browned.
To serve, cut off the butcher's twine and slice the lamb thinly. You can make a gravy with the pan drippings or serve the lamb with tzatziki sauce.
- If you have fresh oregano, thyme, and rosemary on hand, by all means use them instead of dried. Use 1 tbsp fresh thyme and rosemary and 2 tbsp fresh oregano.
- I thought a tsp or two of mustard would be nice in the rub. My daughter thought it was perfect as is so I didn't try it but I still think it would be great.
- Since the lamb is cooked at such a low temperature it really is going to take the potatoes 2 1/2 hours to cook through. Don't worry about them being overdone. Also, be sure to slice the potatoes no thicker than 1/2 inch or they will be hard in the middle still.
- You roast the lamb uncovered. This helps promote browning and forming a nice crust on the lamb.