Roast lamb, on its own, has such a wonderful flavor. But I must say, it’s also particularly good to combine roast lamb with the flavors of mint and garlic. I like to make the pesto at least an hour or more before serving to allow the flavors time to mingle. Leftover tip: Slice all remaining meat and spread mint pesto over each piece. Refrigerate and snack at will or chop up and add to salads.

Roast Leg of Lamb with Mint Pesto

Serves 6-8

Ingredients for the roast:

  • 1 leg of lamb, bone-in (weight will vary from around 5 to 7 lbs)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 cloves garlic, cut into lengthwise slivers
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary, chopped fresh or dried
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Ingredients for the pesto:

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cups fresh mint leaves
  • 3/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions for the lamb:

  1. Allow lamb to come to room temperature (about 1 hour before roasting).
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Using a small pairing knife, cut slits into the roast and insert garlic slivers.
  4. Brush the entire surface of the lamb with lemon juice.
  5. Mix the rosemary, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the entire leg with this mixture.
  6. Pat the entire surface with minced garlic.
  7. Place on a rack in a roasting pan.
  8. Place in oven and roast for 30 minutes.
  9. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue to roast until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat (but not touching bone) registers 125 degrees for rare or 135 to 145 degrees for medium.
  10. Remove from oven, tent loosely with foil, and allow to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving.

Directions for the pesto:

  1. Place garlic and cashews in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to chop.
  2. Add half of the herbs and pulse for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the remaining herbs and pulse to chop.
  4. Add the salt, pepper and lemon juice and pulse briefly.
  5. Add the olive oil and pulse until desired consistency.
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