Slow-Roasted Leg of Lamb with Pomegranate Glaze and Red Onion-Parsley Relish

Here is an inspired lamb dish employing the flavors of southeastern Turkey—crushed red pepper, tomato paste, and pomegranate glaze. Of course, it is not authentic to serve rare lamb in that part of the world, but by employing the method described on, lamb can be slow-roasted to yield rare flesh with a wonderful silky texture.

Unlike a rack of lamb, the dense flesh of a leg requires a much longer roasting time. Yet, here again, low-temperature cooking provides meltingly tender rare flesh. The meat is first browned in a hot oven, then the temperature is reduced to 225°F. Roasting continues until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 130° to 135°F. In this case, you must allow the roast to rest before carving. (The temperature will slowly rise to 135° to 140°F for a rare and juicy roast.)

When carving, start at the shank end and slice perpendicular to the main bone. To obtain tender meat, always slice across the grain.

I serve this Turkish-style lamb with the same traditional Red Onion-Parsley Relish that goes so well with southeastern Turkish kebabs. Or try the baked cauliflower gratín on .

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Ingredients

  • 1 leg of lamb (5 to 6 pounds), bone-in
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate concentrate or molasses (see Mail Order Sources)
  • tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 4 large garlic cloves, mashed
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, preferably Aleppo or Turkish
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter
  • Red Onion-Parsley Relish

Method

  1. Five to 6 hours before you plan to serve the lamb, trim off the excess fat, leaving about a ¼-inch layer. In a large deep bowl, dilute the pomegranate concentrate or molasses with cup water. Stir in the olive oil, onion, garlic, tomato paste, red pepper, and sugar. Add the lamb and turn to coat. Let stand for 2 to 3 hours at room temperature, turning once or twice.
  2. About 3 hours before serving, place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  3. Set the lamb, fattiest side up, on a rack in an oiled shallow roasting pan. Season the lamb with plenty of salt and black pepper and set in the oven. Immediately reduce the oven temperature to 250°F. Roast the lamb, basting occasionally with the pan drippings, for 1¾ hours. Turn the roast over and continue roasting and basting until the lamb reaches an internal temperature of 130° to 135°F, about 30 minutes longer.
  4. Remove the lamb to a carving board, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes. (During this time, the temperature will rise to 135° to 140°F.) Meanwhile, defat the pan juices. Add 1 cup stock, set over medium heat, and stir to scrape up all the brown bits that cling to the pan. Boil until reduced to napping consistency. Adjust the seasoning and keep hot. Carve the lamb and serve with the sauce and the accompanying onion-parsley relish.