Meats of Strength for a Feast of Strength: Roast Leg of Lamb

I wanted to ring in New Year’s 2013 with a celebratory roast, and lo, inspiration did cometh unto 10th and M St. some time in December with the idea to prepare leg of lamb:

And he said unto them, prepareth thy meats of strength rare to medium rare

And I sayeth unto you, prepare thy meats of strength rare to medium rare

This probably came from two sources – (a) In The Hobbit Tolkien waxes gastronomic about the diet of trolls, which consists of all kinds of delicious roasted meats, at which point I became strangely hungry (b) Years of exposure to verses like this one from Deuteronomy 32:

He nourished him with honey from the rock,
    and with oil from the flinty crag,
14 with curds and milk from herd and flock
    and with fattened lambs and goats,
with choice rams of Bashan
    and the finest kernels of wheat.
You drank the foaming blood of the grape.

Lo, a feast of strength surely begins with oil from the flinty crag, but thou will likely struggleth to find it at your local grocery store.  Fortunately Whole Foods carries delicious cuts of meat so I was able to put everything together the morning of.  Lamb seemed like the most celebratory of meats, as well as the one to enjoy before the NYE resolutions kick-in. For the line immediately after the passage above doth warn: “Thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness.”

But seriously lo, who cares about that on NYE, let’s roast!


A disclaimer on these ingredients: I made this a few weeks ago and kind of forgot what I actually put in the marinade. Consider Resolution #1 this year to at least put ingredients in draft mode on the site soon after preparation.  Anyway I cobbled together ideas from this recipe and that one and this article on lamb from the NYT which was a pretty good read.

  • 3 lbs leg of lamb (I had to get this in two cuts, it fed 5-6 people)1 lemon (to squeeze out juice from 1/2 lemon, prepare 1tsp lemon zest)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsps dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsps each chopped fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme
  • Just under a 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 tbsps Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey (from the rock, if possible)
  • Maybe some balsamic?  I honestly have no idea.  If that seems like it should be in here, go for it
The beginnings of the marinade

The beginnings of the marinade


1. Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl

2. Massage marinade onto lamb.  Most recipes I looked at said to trim the fat, but I had neither the time nor inclination to do so.  I let the lamb sit for about 5 hours to marinade, if you have more time that’s probably better but this turned out great so that seems to be a good amount of time.


3. Place lamb on roasting rack.  I poured a thin film of water on the bottom of the roasting pan so the fat drippings would have a soft landing place. I think this also made it a little easier to deglaze the pan later.

4. Place the lamb in an oven set to 450 degrees.  Cook for 20 minutes at 450.  After that I saw recipes suggesting you roast for another 40 minutes anywhere from 350 to 400 degrees.  I though the 450 blasted these smaller cuts of meat pretty well, so I went with another 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

5. When meat is at 140-145 degrees, take out of the oven.  Temperature reading and look at “doneness” below:

A bit on the rare side, but that leads to tenderly tenderness

A bit on the rare side, but that leads to tenderly tenderness


A feast fit for a hovel of hobbitses

That’s about it – this was super easy to prep, super easy to cook.  Meats of Strength are wonderful, but you may want to serve with a Salad of Strength as well.  This was a potluck so we had Lasagna of Strength as an additional side.  Because why not?photo(16)


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