From cooking and grilling to stewing
Lamb has its own taste and can be cooked in different ways, such as grilling, baking, roasting and stewing. You can also cook leg of lamb in many different ways. Below you can read more about the versatility of the leg of lamb.
Table of contents
What kind of meat is leg of lamb?
Leg of lamb is the hind leg of the lamb, which is roasted in one piece. The meat can be roasted with or without the bone, but if the bone is roasted with it, the meat tastes better.
Leg of lamb is especially suitable for spring dishes. If you leave the bone attached to the meat during cooking, you will get a juicier result. For four to six people, choose a leg of lamb with a weight of about one kilogram.
Leg of lamb is widely used in Moroccan cuisine (tajine with couscous), the Middle East (pilav) and England (leg of lamb with mint sauce).
Where does lamb come from?
The lamb and mutton consumed in the Netherlands mainly comes from New Zealand and Australia and partly from Belgium. The most famous lamb that comes from the Netherlands is the Texelaar (Texel lamb).
Dutch lambs are kept outside on pastures and moors. When buying lamb, make sure that the meat has a light pink color. The meat should be firm with a fine fibrous structure and a silky sheen. The fat is firm and has a creamy color.
Leg of lamb is available all year round, but fresh lamb is seasonal. Dutch lamb is available from March, but the quality of the lamb is at its best in the period from April to November.
How does lamb taste?
Lamb has a lightly spicy taste. This taste depends on the region where the lamb grew up, the breed, age and diet of the animal.
Is leg of lamb healthy?
Leg of lamb is easily digestible and is full of valuable nutrients. It contains a lot of protein, vitamins from the B complex, vitamin D and iron. Vitamin B provides energy, is good for the skin and stimulates the production of red blood cells.
Vitamin D ensures strong bones and teeth, the functioning and recovery of muscles and the proper functioning of the immune system. Iron is important for the formation of hemoglobin in red blood cells.
Which wine pairs well with leg of lamb?
Leg of lamb goes well with a wine with a strong taste. Think of a good Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon or a Pinotage.
How to cook a leg of lamb?
Leg of lamb is ideal for slow cooking at a low temperature. This keeps the meat deliciously juicy and tender. The cooking time depends on the amount and thickness of the meat. The higher the temperature, the shorter the cooking time.
Leg of lamb is a fairly lean type of meat. It takes about an hour to cook in the oven. Baste it regularly with the cooking fat to keep the meat as juicy as possible and to obtain a nice brown crust. You can grill, barbecue, roast and bake the slice of a leg of lamb for 15 to 20 minutes.
You can keep an eye on how far along your meat is by using a meat thermometer. For a rosé leg of lamb you can maintain a core temperature of 60°C. Keep a core temperature of 70 to 75°C if you don’t like rosé.
It is advisable to let the meat get to room temperature before you start cooking it. Pat it dry with kitchen paper for a crispy crust.
Leg of lamb can be perfectly combined with herbs such as thyme, rosemary, sage and mint, garlic and spring vegetables such as green beans, snow peas and asparagus.
The meat is best used as fresh as possible. You can usually keep leg of lamb in the refrigerator for two days. In the freezer it has a shelf life of about 3 months. Store it in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out.
Marinating gives the leg an extra spicy taste. To do this, place the leg of lamb in a marinade of a bottle of red wine with herbs and let it marinate for 1 to 2 days. Then you can slowly cook it in the oven. Make a tasty sauce of butter, flour and the sieved marinade.
Stewing is the slow cooking of meat in broth, wine, cider or beer with vegetables and herbs. If you want to stew leg of lamb, do this at a low temperature for a creamy result.
- Marinate the meat for up to 2 days before cooking and turn the meat every 12 hours.
- Remove the meat from the marinade and pat it dry with kitchen paper.
- Heat some olive oil in a frying pan.
- Add the meat to the pan and brown it on all sides.
- Put the lid on the pan and let the meat simmer on low heat for over 2 hours.
If you want to cook a leg of lamb in the oven, do this at a medium temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 120°C.
- Season the meat with salt and pepper.
- Melt butter in a pan. Place the meat in the pan and let it sear.
- Turn the meat over and sprinkle it with chopped garlic and herbs. Put some more butter in the pan.
- Let the leg of lamb roast for another 5 minutes, regularly adding some of the cooking liquid over it with a spoon so that the meat absorbs all the flavors.
- Remove the meat from the pan and place it in a roasting pan.
- Pour the cooking juices over it and cover it with aluminum foil.
- Place the dish in the oven and cook it for another 30 minutes.
If you are grilling leg of lamb on the barbecue, make sure that the coals are hot.
- Make slits in the leg of lamb and insert slices of garlic.
- Make a mixture (‘rub’) consisting of sea salt, crushed peppercorns, vadouvan herbs and 0.5 dl oil.
- Rub the leg of lamb in its entirety and let the rub marinate for at least 1 hour.
- Place the leg of lamb on the barbecue.
- Let the meat cook slowly until the core temperature is 60 to 65°C.
- Let the meat rest for another 10 minutes after cooking.
- Serve on a nice board so you can cut the leg.
Sous vide cooking
Sous vide is cooking vacuum-sealed meat in a hot water bath. This is one of the most controlled ways to cook meat perfectly, with the entire piece of meat reaching exactly the desired core temperature.
- Let the leg of lamb reach room temperature and brush it with the oil and spice rub of your choice.
- Then vacuum seal the leg of lamb and cook the meat sous vide at 55°C for 8 hours.
- Then cut the meat into slices and heat or grill gently.
Recipe: Leg of lamb in the oven
Oven roast leg of lamb
- 1 leg of lamb boneless
- 1 bulb garlic
- 1 cup Italian herbs
- splash olive oil
- 75 grams butter
- black pepper freshly grounded
- fleur de sel
- Preheat the oven at 120 degrees. If you want the meat to cook faster, you can heat the oven at a maximum of 150 degrees.
- Tie the leg of lamb tightly with pieces of kitchen twine. Wrap a ribbon of kitchen twine around the meat and tie very tightly. The meat will shrink during cooking, so you have to tie it up tightly.
- Season generously with pepper and fleur de sel. Tuck the fresh herbs under the kitchen twine.
- Stick holes in the meat with a sharp knife and insert the garlic cloves.
- Heat a dash of olive oil in a fireproof casserole dish and fry the meat on all sides until it is nicely coloured on all sides.
- Add a knob of butter and spoon the juices over the meat. Insert a core thermometer into the thickest part of the meat and set the temperature to 52 degrees.
- Place in the preheated oven and cook to the set core temperature. Continue to drizzle the meat regularly with the butter.
- Remove it from the oven when the temperature has been reached, let it rest for 5 minutes and untie the string. Cut the leg of lamb into nice slices and spoon some butter on top of it.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out the leg of lamb recipes below. Or take a look at our lamb recipes for even more inspiration.