Worth The Money
I eat a lot of chicken and pork, because those are the cheapest meat options at the grocery store. Unfortunately, they’re also among the blandest. That’s why I was thrilled to pieces when Costco stocked Australian leg of lamb for Easter! At $4.49/lb, it’s significantly more expensive than chicken or pork, but hey, it’s cheaper than steak–and this is the cheapest it will be all year.
Lamb is also a really great meat because it’s pretty likely to be pastured. The US lamb industry is in trouble, so about a third of lamb sold in the US is imported from places like New Zealand, Australia, and Iceland, where lambs typically spend most or all of their lives eating their natural diet. Even in the US, some sheep farmers do finish with corn and soybean meal, but even domestic sheep typically spend at least some time on pasture.
So if you compare the $4.49/lb for Australian lamb not to a $8/lb regular steak, but to a $17/lb grass-fed steak (or at least to a partially grass-fed steak, which should be somewhere in the middle), it starts to look like a bargain!
Roast Lemon-Rosemary Leg of Lamb
I used this recipe from Jamie Oliver, and it was GREAT. I made a few changes based on what I had in my kitchen.
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 bunch rosemary, chopped
- Zest of 1 lemon*
- Olive oil (enough to cover your lamb)
- Salt & pepper
- 1 boneless leg-of-lamb roast, about 4.5 lbs
- Whatever vegetables you have handy (the original recipe called for parboiled potatoes, which would be amazing, but I used quartered onions and Brussels sprout halves and that was also great. Anything hardy enough to stand up to roasting would work. The original recipe also called for two whole garlic cloves–throw those in if you’ve got ’em.)
*When I see lemon zest in a recipe, I ignore it about half the time because I rarely have fresh lemons on hand. I happened to have one on hand this time (for a Pinterest cleaning thing I will probably never actually do, let’s be real), and it added immensely to the flavor. I would highly recommend not omitting this ingredient!
Preheat your oven to 400. Mix first 5 ingredients in a big glass baking dish. Put your lamb in, and rub that marinade all over it. Set the lamb aside and put your veggies in the dish. Add more salt and pepper to the veggies, and a little more olive oil if needed.
Put your lamb directly on your oven rack (if it came with twine, you can leave the twine on–mine didn’t burn), and put your baking dish full of veggies directly below it. As it cooks, the fat from the lamb will drip over your vegetables in the most amazing way.
Roast for about 15 minutes per pound, or until reaching an internal temperature of 145 degrees for medium rare (for other temps, see this handy chart).
I can never get my toddler to eat meat (she eats it at grandma’s house, but never at home), but she devoured the lamby, rosemary-y, lemony brussels sprouts almost as quickly as I did! I thought this recipe was perfect–my one regret was that I didn’t have a bigger pan (I used 11×14) so I could have made more vegetables. The lamb-juice/fat sauce was truly delicious.
How About Health?
Lamb is really good for you. Assuming you buy grass-fed meat, lamb is an excellent source of Omega-3s–about half as good as fish, which is really high for meat. It’s also rich in CLA, which is an unusual Omega-6 in that it is actually anti-inflammatory and pro-immune system, almost more like an Omega-3.
Plus, like basically all meat, it is a great source of B-Vitamins, which are critical for brain health, immunity, fertility, and many other processes we really want to be working correctly.