ROAST LEG OF LAMB WITH BLACKBERRY HERB SAUCE
There’s so much more to lamb than throwing a few chops on the grill once in a while. There’s lamb steaks, rack of lamb, and rolled-breast roasts to try too. But today’s recipe is for a juicy, glorious Roast Leg of Lamb with Blackberry Herb Sauce.
Adding a slightly sweet, fruity and herbal sauce to an incredible hunk of roasted lamb is the ultimate treatment for a luscious meal.
Have you ever roasted a leg of lamb? It may sound intimidating, but the fabulous fact is, that leg of lamb is actually one of the easiest, most foolproof cuts of meat to cook.
While I’ve cooked different lamb cuts on many occasions, cooking a whole leg can still feel intimidating. It’s a large, expensive cut of meat, and it would be awful to end up with a dry or tough piece of lamb. So, there are a few things to consider first.
SHOULD YOU BUY BONE-IN? BONELESS?
What should you buy, bone-in or boneless? Should you marinate it, or give it a spice rub instead?
My recipe uses a semi-boneless leg of lamb which is what I prefer. Here’s why.
The bones hold much of the flavor of any meat. So much so, that’s how meat broth and stocks are made. Either by roasting raw bones with aromatic vegetables, or using bones from a cooked piece of meat.
When you roast a piece of meat with the bone still in, you’re getting all that flavor back into the meat itself.
HOW TO CARVE A LEG OF LAMB
It’s true, a bone-in leg of lamb can be a little trickier to carve, but I’ve taken care of that with full instructions and illustration in my master post on lamb. It goes into lots of detail to tell you everything you need to know about lamb!
Click here to read: Lamb Recipes, Sauces & Tips
NAN’S TIP: Make sure your lamb has been trimmed of most of the “fell”. That’s the thick outer layer of fat that can give lamb a strong “mutton-y” taste. Do have the butcher leave a thin layer of fat to help insulate the meat and keep it from drying out.
WHAT ABOUT MARINATING YOUR LEG OF LAMB?
Here’s where we can get creative and lend tons of flavor to our final dishes.
Marinades are usually used to help break down the tough fibers in meat, hence the love of marinating our flank steak in my house!
But because lamb is naturally tender, you absolutely don’t need to marinate it.
That said, I usually marinate my lamb. But, not for the long periods of time called for with tougher meats like beef or pork.
Long marinating times can start to destroy the integrity of the texture and flavor of your lamb. And it’s not cheap, right?
If you choose not to marinate, just season simply with some herbs, citrus and garlic, and you’ll be good to go!
ROAST LEG OF LAMB WITH BLACKBERRY HERB SAUCE
This recipe for Roast Leg of Lamb with Blackberry Herb Sauce uses a wet-rub that gives a garlicy-orange undertone to your lamb.
It functions as a marinade, but without the large amount of oil and acidic ingredients that are usually present in marinade recipes. But you still don’t leave it on for an extended period of time.
My Blackberry Herb Sauce is a fast and easy recipe that plays the sweetness of fresh blackberries off the tangy-sweetness of balsamic vinegar. The two are reduced down to a syrupy sauce that’s not-to-sweet for your perfectly roasted leg of lamb.
I added rosemary to the Blackberry Herb Sauce, to marry with the rosemary I used in the wet-rub. But you can use mint, basil, or any other herb of your choice in both the wet-rub and sauce recipes.
Most people might choose fresh mint, but I’ve never been much of a fan myself.
You can experiment with different fruits too! I’ve used raspberries, currants and pomegranate molasses in my lamb recipes also, with fabulous results.
ROASTING YOUR LEG OF LAMB
I’m going to give you a really quick rundown on cooking times for your leg of lamb, but these times are only guidelines.
Depending on many factors, your leg of lamb may roast slower or faster. Check after one and a quarter hours, and then continue roasting, checking frequently, until the lamb reaches your desired internal temperature.
Roasting Temperature: 325°F
- Rare: 125°F (about 15 minutes per pound)
- Medium-Rare: 130°F to 135°F (about 20 minutes per pound)
- Medium: 135°F to 140°F (about 25 minutes per pound)
- Well-Done:155°F to 165°F (about 30 minutes per pound)
I want to make sure you know how to cook all the different cuts of lamb in any given recipe.
So, I’m including a link from the Ontario Fresh Lamb Farms that has a chart that will be a valuable tool when cooking any cut of lamb.
See the Lamb Cooking Times Chart here : Ontario Fresh Lamb Farms Lamb Cooking Times Chart
Now it’s time to go forth and prepare a fabulous Roast Leg of Lamb with Blackberry Herb Sauce!
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- LAMB SEASONING RUB
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- Zest of one large orange
- 3 Tbs. fresh rosemary, pulled from stem and chopped
- 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
- 1 - 7-9 lb, bone-in or semi-boneless leg of lamb
- Salt AND Fresh ground pepper for roasting
- BLACKBERRY HERB SAUCE
- 1 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup sweetener (honey, agave syrup or maple syrup)
- 1 cup fresh blackberries, halved
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp. fresh herb of your choice, chopped (rosemary, mint, basil)
- Whole fresh blackberries for garnishing
- Fresh whole herbs for garnishing
- Combine "rub" ingredients in a large bowl and stir well to combine. Pierce the lamb on all sides with a meat fork. Place the lamb in bowl and roll in spice mixture to coat all surfaces. Cover bowl and refrigerate for 4 hours.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Remove lamb from bowl and place on the rack of a foil-lined roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper.
- Roast in the center of the preheated oven for the recommended time for the doneness you prefer. You'll want to remove the lamb when it hits 135 degrees F, and let it sit for 10 minutes for a medium-rare leg of lamb. (SEE CHART IN POST)
- While the lamb is cooking, place the vinegar, berries, herb and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a simmer, reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally. Continue to simmer mixture until it's reduced by half and has thickened. Remove from heat, cover and hold until time to serve.
- Serve sauce with carved lamb.
You can make your berry sauce ahead of time and reheat it for serving if desired.
Nutrition InformationYield 12 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 6242Total Fat 397gSaturated Fat 165gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 197gCholesterol 2222mgSodium 1796mgCarbohydrates 12gFiber 2gSugar 8gProtein 611g
The nutritional information does not reflect a bone-in cut of meat or leftover sauce.