Roasted Leg of Lamb with Black Cherry-Pomegranate Salsa from 'Rose Water and Orange Blossoms'


Photograph by Jason Varney

From Yahoo Food’s Cookbook of the Week: Rose Water and Orange Blossoms by Maureen Abood

Roasted Leg of Lamb with Black Cherry-Pomegranate Salsa 
Makes 8 servings

One of the most exciting cuts of meat to celebrate with is a bone-in leg of lamb. The presentation is so luscious on a big carving board or platter. Up in Michigan, we are always looking for new ways to eat our abundant cherries—dressed with pomegranate molasses and spooned over the lamb, they taste just as striking as they look, a perfect sweet and tangy balance to the rich meat. 

For the lamb: 

5 to 7 pounds / 2.2 to 3.2 kg lamb leg, bone in 
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
6 garlic cloves, minced

For the salsa:

3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses 
Juice of 1 lemon 
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
Pinch of kosher salt 
Few grinds of black pepper 
1 quart / 560 g black sweet cherries, pitted and halved 
1⁄4 cup / 2 g coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 
1⁄4 cup / 2 g coarsely chopped fresh mint

Bring the lamb to room temperature for about an hour before roasting. Using kitchen twine, tie the legcrosswise 3 or 4 times, about 3 inches / 7.5 cm apart. Place the lamb on a rack set in the bottom of aroasting pan and drizzle the olive oil evenly over the top. Rub the oil over the fat and the meat and season it liberally all over with salt and pepper.

Position a rack in the oven far enough below the broiler so that the meat is a few inches from the heat. Turn on the broiler to high and broil the lamb for about 5 minutes, or until the top of the lamb is caramelized and looks seared. Turn the lamb over with tongs and broil the opposite side in the same way. Remove the lamb from the oven and flip it back to its original side up. Turn off the broiler and reposition the oven rack to the center of the oven.

Heat the oven to 325 ̊F / 165 ̊C. Coat the top of the lamb with the minced garlic, tent the lamb looselywith foil, and roast for 1 hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 135 ̊F / 57 ̊C on a meat thermometer; if taken out at this temperature, after the lamb rests it will be medium-rare to medium.

Remove the lamb from the oven and let it rest for 15 to 30 minutes before snipping the twine off and then carving. While the lamb rests, make the cherry salsa (it can also be made a day in advance). In amedium bowl, whisk together the pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the cherries and stir to coat them with the vinaigrette. Gently stir in the parsley and mint.

To carve the lamb, place it on a cutting board with the bone parallel to the board. Make perpendicular slices to the bone, angling straight down until the knife hits the bone. Cut the lamb off the bone by slicing through the bottom of the slices, keeping the knife along the bone. Serve the sliced lamb on a platter with the salsa alongside or spooned over the slices.

Reprinted with permission from Rose Water & Orange Blossoms: Fresh & Classic Recipes from my Lebanese Kitchen by Maureen Abood (Running Press).

More lamb recipes:

Grilled Butterflied Lamb

Balsamic Lamb Chops with Stone Fruit and Arugula

Lamb Chops with Mustard-Herb Crust