In the past, I’d never gotten very excited when I was served leg of lamb at someone’s house, as it usually came out a little dry and tough. Then my dear friend Susan Clancy presented me with her Slow-Roasted Leg of Lamb. Wow! The meat comes out moist, fall-off-the-bone tender, and absolutely delicious. Essential to the technique is to use a large, heavy cast-iron roasting pan with lid, like those made by Le Creuset.
1 whole leg of lamb, trimmed of excess fat
1 tablespoon kosher salt
4 large garlic cloves
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh rosemary sprigs, for garnish
½ cup sherry vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
Pinch of salt
2 cups fresh mint leaves
Preheat the oven to 250°F.
With a small, sharp knife, mince together the salt and garlic. Then, poke holes all over the lamb and insert some of the salt-garlic mixture into each hole, smearing any of the remaining mixture over the surface of the meat; and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper.
Place the lamb in a heavy roasting pan with lid . Cover and cook in the oven for 4 hours. Then, remove the lid and cook another 2 hours, until a sharp-bladed knife can be easily inserted into the meat. If the lamb’s skin is not yet nicely browned, raise the heat to 400°F and cook another 10 minutes or so.
For the mint sauce, in a saucepan over high heat, combine the sherry vinegar, sugar, water, and pinch of salt. Bring to a boil for about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and cool for a few minutes at room temperature. Then pour the mixture into a blender, add the mint, and blend until smooth, following the manufacturer’s instructions for working with hot liquids. Transfer to a sauceboat or bowl and serve at room temperature.
Carefully transfer the lamb to a wooden cutting board and, steadying the roast with a carving fork, carve into thin slices with a sharp knife. Arrange the slices on a platter, garnish with rosemary, and pass the sauce alongside.