Recipe: Roasted Leg of Lamb with Herbed Crust

A hearty dinner cooked in cast iron, the most versatile pan in your arsenal.

If you don’t have a cast iron pan at home, the first step is to get one (current owners can attest to this). They are versatile and forgiving while you’re trying out new recipes, they cook food faster, and are easier to maintain than their reputation would have you believe. And it just so happens that the pros at Cook’s Country (part of America's Test Kitchen) have released their newest cookbook, Cook It In Cast Iron. These pans can do it all—eggs, pizza, one-pan meals, fish and dessert—but what it’s arguably best at is meat. Your dinner goes from stovetop to oven for a good sear followed by a long cook in a hot pan. If you don’t have one, the experts recommend the Lodge Classic Cast Iron 12” skillet or the Le Creuset Signature Iron Handle Skillet. Cleaning these can be a challenge and while the myth that soap will kill cast iron has been debunked, a chain-mail scrubber will make life easier. So if you’re looking to add a new make-at-home protein to your repertoire, try this leg of lamb. Then pick up the book and make everything else. 

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 3 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh thyme
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 1- 3½ to 4-lb boneless half leg of lamb, untied, trimmed
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon
  • Kitchen twine

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375°. In a blender or food processor, chop parsley, rosemary, 1 tsp oil, thyme and garlic until finely ground, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, about 1 minute. Measure out and reserve 1½ tbsp herb mixture. In a medium bowl, combine remaining herb mixture, panko, Parmesan and 1 tbsp oil; set aside.

  2. Position roast with rough interior side (which was against bone) facing up on cutting board. Cover roast with plastic rap and pound to even ¾-inch thickness with meat pounder. Rub surface of roast with 2 tsp oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spread reserved herb mixture evenly over surface of meat, leaving 1-inch border on all sides. Starting from short side, roll roast tightly, then tie with kitchen twine at 1-inch intervals. Season again with salt and pepper.

  3. Over medium heat, heat 12-inch cast-iron skillet for 5 minutes; add remaining 1 tbsp oil and heat until just smoking. Brown roast on all sides, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and roast until meat registers 110° to 115°, 25 to 35 minutes. 

  4. Using potholders, remove skillet from oven; heat broiler, transfer roast to carving board and remove twine. Brush tops and sides of roast with mustard, then firmly press bread-crumb mixture onto coated sides with your hands to form solid, even coating that adheres to meat.

  5. Being careful of hot skillet handle, return roast to skillet and broil until crust is golden brown and meat registers 120° to 125° (for medium-rare), about 5 minutes. Transfer roast to carving board and let rest, 20 minutes. Slice roast into ½-inch-thick slices and serve.