SERVES 6 TO 8 Spice rub gives lamb a leg up on flavor, while cooking it bone-in gives you a built-in handle for easy carving. To carve, use a potholder to grasp the roast by its shank, resting the other end on a cutting board, and cut downward toward the board. Don’t forget to season the meat at least 4 hours in advance, take the lamb out of the fridge 1 hour before cooking, and use a meat thermometer. When buying the lamb, ask the butcher to remove the aitchbone and “french” the leg for prettier presentation.
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
¼ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground clove
12 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 (6-pound) bone-in leg of lamb, shank on, aitchbone removed, and preferably grass-fed
In a small bowl, mix together the spices, garlic, and oil to make a paste. With a sharp knife, make 12 or more ½-inch-deep incisions all over the leg. Fill each incision with the spice paste. Rub the remaining paste all over the lamb. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to overnight. Remove the lamb from the fridge 1 hour before roasting.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place the lamb, fat side up, in a large, lightly oiled roasting pan fitted with a rack. Roast for 20 minutes, turn down the temperature to 350°F, and cook until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat (not touching the bone) reaches 130°F for medium rare, 50 to 55 minutes.
Let the roast rest for 15 minutes before carving.
Photo: Shay Harrington