Published March 1, 2006.
Few roasts make as grand an entrance as roasted leg of lamb, but its charms quickly fade upon carving. We wanted the gristle (and gaminess) gone before we entered the dining room.
Even a boneless leg of lamb presents challenges for the home cook. The fat—and there's a lot of it—contributes a gamy flavor that most people dislike, and the meat is often riddled with gristle as well.
We wanted a roasted leg of lamb without gristle or gaminess but with an appealing garlic flavor. And we wanted it to come out of the oven truly ready to "carve and serve," making those steps as simple they sound.
We started with a meaty, boneless shank end. Following the natural "seams" that separate the meaty lobes, we created three tidy mini-roasts from which we diligently trimmed away all visible fat and gristle, thus eliminating gamy flavors and making the roast very easy to carve once roasted. Next, we introduced garlic and herb flavors with a seasoned brine. (While the test kitchen never brines beef because brining turns beef protein fibers to mush, we've found that a brine actually tenderizes lamb, as lamb meat has a stronger protein structure.) We added even more garlic flavor by rubbing a roasted garlic paste onto one side of the lamb. After tying each roast into a tidy log shape, we seared all three roasts on the stovetop in the same skillet to develop a substantial crust before roasting.list of recipes