Roasting- especially gamier meats like lamb- rules! But, first, you’ve got to know the rules.
Really, what I’m trying to do here is cut down on the number of disappointed family members and friends come Easter lunchtime. Spouses with impossibly high standards (ahemmm…) are the first ones to push the over-cooked meat around their plate and ask for seconds of asparagus if the roast is not cooked just-so.
SO. Brooke and I have worked up a fool-proof method for preparing the perfect Easter lamb roast. Pull this from your oven at noon and you’ll be more popular than a tray of Peeps.
Tips and Rules for the Perfect Lamb Roast:
Use a Thermometer
If you’re cooking at home without a thermometer, you’re setting yourself up for disaster. Professional chefs cook hundreds of pieces of meat before they rely on instinct or touch to determine doneness. And don’t trust the cooking times listed within recipes for something as important as your holiday centerpiece. Timing in recipes can be a good guide but don’t trust completely them; there are a million factors that will effect your exact cooking time. Using a thermometer is the only way to be certain.
Season Early and Often
Buy your meat at least one day in advance. Season it immediately with salt, wrap in paper and store in the refrigerator. Two hours before cooking, remove the roast from the refrigerator and pat dry. Season again lightly with salt and pepper (for a real unique kick use ancho chili powder instead of black pepper). Finely chop 2-3 cloves of garlic and 1-2 teaspoons each of thyme and rosemary. Mix the herbs and garlic together with a bit of olive oil and rub all over the lamb. Place the meat on a rack on a roasting pan and insert a thermometer in the center.
Begin With a Blast
Preheat the oven to 500˚. Place the lamb in the preheated oven and cook 5 minutes, then immediately turn the oven down as low as it will go 150˚-200˚. Continue cooking until the thermometer registers 130˚. Then remove from the oven and rest 15 minutes before slicing.
By beginning the roast on very high heat you’ll get great browning on the outside of the meat. Then, by continuing to cook at low heat, you’re helping the meat stay tender and incredibly juicy.