Fear not, our lamb-fearing friends! We’ve outlined the steps to get you from intimidating raw meat to something cooked and delicious, all while using simple ingredients, free of measurements and complicated techniques. It’s a method that you can have in your back pocket and whip out whenever you like. (We call it recipe-free cooking).

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A vegetable peeler or zester
  • A knife, bowl, and spoon
  • Kitchen twine
  • A timer
  • Two lemons
  • Two to five garlic cloves
  • Parsley
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • A four-pound boneless leg of lamb

Here’s what to do:

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (it will take at least 20 minutes to warm up).
  2. Remove the zest (outer yellow peel) from the lemons. If you’re using a vegetable peeler, finely chop the peelings. Peel and mince the garlic, and mince a heaping handful of parsley.
  3. Mix the garlic, parsley, and lemon zest with three spoonfuls of olive oil and a few pinches of salt and pepper to form a paste.
  4. Remove the netting holding the lamb together, and unroll the meat. Using your hand, spread the lemon-garlic-parsley paste over the top surface of the lamb.
  5. Roll the lamb back up and tie it in several places with kitchen twine. This will help it cook evenly. Rub olive oil, salt, and pepper all over the outside, and place the lamb in the baking dish.
  6. Put the lamb in the oven and cook it for 35 minutes, then check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer—it should be between 135 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If the meat is not done, return it to the oven and check every few minutes until it reaches the correct temperature.
  7. Let the lamb rest for 10 to 15 minutes, remove the twine, and carve.

Once you’ve mastered the basics (see recipe #1), try something a bit more flavory and complex with the recipes below.

Basic Boneless Leg of Lamb


Incorporate the steps above to get the moist and tender lamb of your dreams. Get our Basic Boneless Leg of Lamb recipe.

Mediterranean Spiced Roasted Leg of Lamb with a Yogurt Mint Feta Sauce

Chez Catey Lou

If you’re looking for a little mediterranean influence to jazz up your plate, try this spice-enhanced recipe with with a balancing, creamy sauce. Get the recipe.

Rosemary and Garlic Leg of Lamb

Recipe Girl

It’s a traditional ingredient combo that doesn’t skimp on flavor. Get the recipe.

The article was originally published on September 11, 2008.

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