I know, lamb is not an everyday dish. And for many it’s an acquired taste. There is, of course, the British-inspired route of having one bite of mint jelly for every bite of lamb. And then there are better paths.
At our recent course on wood oven cooking at Stone Turtle in Maine, we had leg of lamb done two ways: a traditional Greek style with olive oil and rosemary and then this yogurt-coated treat. The yogurt and overnight resting create a soft, almost silky texture to the lamb. It’s lamb like you’ve never had. No mint jelly is needed. Or even wanted.
At Stone Turtle, we cooked this in a wood oven at 500° for about 90 minutes. For the home oven, we suggest 450° for 90-120 minutes. Of course, after about 60 minutes, you’ll want to take the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer. You’re looking for 135° for lamb that is not overdone and dry. Be sure to rest the meat, tented in foil, for 20 minutes. The temperature will still rise a bit, and you’ll have a range of doneness to please every palette. If someone should ask for well done and dry, just open another bottle of wine.
Yogurt Leg of Lamb
Yield: 10 servings
- 5-6 pound semi-boneless leg of lamb
- 1 cup Yogurt (Greek style, whole milk if possible)
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Rub down lamb leg and wrap in plastic wrap.
Refrigerate for 24 hours. Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before cooking. Preheat your oven to 450°F.
Unwrap and gently wipe off any excess yogurt. Rub leg with a light coating of olive oil. Place on a rack in a heavy roasting pan. Remove most traces of yogurt from the surface of the meat.
Roasting time is about 90-120 minutes hours. Check internal temperature, looking for 135° F. Do not overcook. Lamb is best when slightly pink.
Remove from oven, cover with aluminum foil and let rest 20 minutes before cutting.
Source: Meat: Stone Turtle Baking and Cooking School