A leg of lamb makes for a stunning main course for a holiday or other special occasion meal. A convection oven can ensure your roast stays juicy and rosy, as well as cut down on the hassle of cooking this large piece of meat, as foods take less time to cook in a convection oven. Other than taking into consideration cooking times, roasting a leg of lamb in a convection oven is similar to cooking in a traditional oven.
Convection ovens contain a fan that ensures constant air circulation throughout the oven. As the hot air blows over the food, it helps it cook more quickly. This reduces the amount of time needed for a dish to be fully cooked.
Because of the faster cooking temperatures means that foods brown more quickly, producing deeper, more flavorful foods. Cooking in a convection oven can reduce overall cooking times by around 25 percent.
Choosing A Leg of Lamb
Leg of lamb is often sold without the shank -- the lower part of the lamb leg -- attached. The leg itself can be sold bone-in or boneless. Because of the long roasting time, the bone not only gives the leg of lamb extra flavor, it can also be used later to make stock for soup.
Purchase a lamb leg from a high quality butcher to ensure that you get a choice cut of meat. Because a leg of lamb is a specialty meat and cut, you will likely have to pay a pretty penny for the piece.
Leg of lamb is naturally very tender. Because of this, it doesn’t require marinating, which can actually cause the meat to toughen. If you do decide to marinate your leg of lamb, do not do so for more than 2 to 3 hours.
Instead of marinating a leg of lamb, rub it in a flavorful mix of fresh and dried spices and herbs before cooking. An added benefit is that the rub will dry and brown during roasting in a convection oven, producing a seasoned crust on the outside of the roast.
Rub a leg of lamb with a mix of spices and herbs, including:
- Fresh minced garlic;
- Fresh or dried rosemary, oregano or sage;
- Minced onion;
- Seasoning blends such as Montreal Steak Spice.
Mix your fresh or dried seasonings with 2 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil or butter and salt to taste before rubbing the leg of lamb. The added oil will help the ingredients stick better, and will help keep the lamb moist as it roasts.
Roasting a Leg of Lamb
Things You'll Need
- Shallow baking pan
- Aluminum foil (optional)
Remove the lamb from the refrigerator 1 hour before roasting, and place in a shallow baking pan. Rub the leg of lamb with a mix of oil, seasonings and salt if you are flavoring the lamb beforehand.
Turn on the broiler in a convection oven and place a rack so that the top of the leg of lamb will sit roughly 3 to 4 inches below the top.
Broil the leg of lamb for 5 to 7 minutes, until the top looks browned and slightly crusty.
Flip the leg of lamb over and broil the other side for 5 minutes. Pay close attention to ensure the seasonings do not burn when broiling the lamb.
Remove the lamb from the oven. Heat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a rack in the center of the oven. If desired, tent the leg of lamb with aluminum foil if you are worried about it drying out.
Transfer the lamb back into the oven on a center rack. Roast in the oven until the internal temperature reads at least 120 degrees F. Allow the leg of lamb to rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving.
Letting the leg rest after cooking gives the juices a chance to redistribute, leading to a juicier roast.
Doneness and Cooking Times
Leg of lamb is often eaten rare or medium-rare, but it can be cooked till well-done. For a bone-in leg of lamb, the cooking times and temperatures, after broiling, for a convection oven are:
- Rare: internal temperature of 125 F, cook for roughly 11 to 12 minutes per pound
- Medium-Rare: internal temperature of 130 to 135 F, cook for 15 minutes per pound
- Medium: internal temperature of 135 to 140 F, cook for 18 to 19 minutes per pound
- Well-Done: internal temperature of 155 to 165 F, cook for 22 to 23 minutes per pound
Remove the leg of lamb from the oven when the internal temperature is 10 degrees below the recommendation. This will prevent overcooking as the leg of lamb will continue cooking as it rests.
Serve leg of lamb carved into slices, with either a mint jelly or a red wine gravy made from the pan drippings.
Leg of lamb is often served alongside roasted root vegetables, such as potatoes, turnips or carrots. The richness of the meat means it pairs well with something as simple as a basic green salad.