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A Succulent Roasted Leg of Lamb Makes Ideal Special-Occasion Fare : A Welcome Entree That Elegantly Ends the Lenten Season

March 23, 1986

After weeks of abstention from red meats during the Lenten season, the succulent flavor of roasted leg of lamb will be welcomed at your Easter dinner feast. It is undisputably one of the most gracious and elegant choices for special occasion fare, and with just a few special treatments a fresh or frozen leg of lamb will complement your holiday dinner table with style.

Parsley, oregano, thyme and mustard give Herb Roasted Leg of Lamb its savor. The herbs join bread crumbs in a flavorful crumb mixture that is pressed over the surface of the meat, which has first been spread with prepared mustard.

In Eastertime Leg of Lamb the meat is lightly seasoned with salt, black pepper, savory and basil. A gentle squeeze of lemon adds a zesty quality to the lamb. Or for a unique and spectacular presentation allow leg of lamb to rest in a sparkling marinade of grapefruit juice blended with olive oil and seasoned with rosemary, thyme and garlic. The marinade is used to baste the meat while roasting and makes a piquant sauce to be served at the table.

Lightly Seasoned Meat

A hearty combination of potatoes, onions and carrots join the subtly seasoned meat in Leg of Lamb With Vegetables. Leg of Lamb Polynesian, another easy-to-prepare dish that provides an exceptional presentation glazed liberally with an apricot preserves and soy sauce mixture, rounds out the selection.

Leg of lamb is available fresh or frozen and should be stored well-covered in the refrigerator to prevent drying. It is delicious whether roasted or braised.

To roast, lamb should be cooked at a low temperature; 325 degrees is average. Roast leg of lamb for an average of 20 to 25 minutes per pound or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 140 degrees for rare, 160 degrees for medium and 170 to 180 degrees for well done.

Use caution when using a meat thermometer; the bulb should not touch bone or rest in fat. Then, allow your roasted leg of lamb to stand 10 to 15 minutes after removal from the oven: The internal temperature will rise and the meat will continue to cook a little for some time. Lamb does not require constant basting unless a special glaze or marinade is used in the recipe. HERB-ROASTED LEG OF LAMB

1 (5- to 6-pound) leg of lamb

2 cloves garlic, cut into slivers

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon oregano leaves

1/4 teaspoon crumbled thyme leaves

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons prepared mustard

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

Place lamb on rack in shallow roasting pan. With sharp knife cut small slits in surface of lamb. Insert garlic slivers into slits. Insert meat thermometer and roast at 325 degrees 1 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, combine bread crumbs, parsley, salt, oregano, thyme and pepper. Remove lamb from oven and score fat in diamond or square pattern. Spread mustard over surface of meat.

Press crumb mixture over mustard, then drizzle with butter. Continue roasting meat 1 hour longer or until meat thermometer registers 160 degrees for medium, 170 to 180 degrees for well done. Makes 6 to 8 servings. EASTERTIME LEG OF LAMB

1 (6- to 9-pound) leg of lamb

2 cloves garlic, cut into slivers

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt, pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried savory

1/2 teaspoon crumbled basil

Place lamb fat-side up in shallow roasting pan. With sharp knife, cut several slits in surface of lamb. Insert garlic slivers into slits. Gently squeeze lemon juice over lamb, rubbing into slits and surface. Season with salt and pepper to taste, savory and basil, rubbing seasonings into surface.

Insert meat thermometer and roast at 325 degrees 20 to 25 minutes per pound or until thermometer registers 140 degrees for rare, 160 degrees for medium or 170 degrees for well done. Allow lamb to stand in warm place 15 to 20 minutes before carving. Makes 6 to 10 servings. LEG OF LAMB WITH VEGETABLES

1 (5- to 6-pound) leg of lamb

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon crumbled rosemary leaves

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon crumbled basil leaves

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/2 pounds small potatoes, peeled

1 1/2 pounds small white onions

1 pound carrots, peeled and cut in 2-inch pieces

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

Place lamb fat-side up on rack in shallow roasting pan. In small bowl, combine garlic, rosemary, salt, basil and pepper. Spread seasonings on surface of lamb.

Insert meat thermometer and roast, uncovered, at 325 degrees 1 hour. Arrange potatoes, onions and carrots around meat. Brush with melted butter. Continue roasting 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until meat thermometer registers 160 degrees for medium or 170 to 180 degrees for well done. Baste vegetables occasionally with pan drippings. Allow meat to stand 10 minutes before carving. Cook vegetables 10 minutes longer or until tender. Makes 6 to 8 servings. LEG OF LAMB POLYNESIAN

1 (4- to 5-pound) leg of lamb

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1/4 cup minced onion

1 (12-ounce) jar apricot preserves

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Season lamb with salt and pepper. Place fat-side up on rack in roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer and roast at 325 degrees about 2 hours or until thermometer registers 140 degrees for rare, 160 degrees for medium or 170 to 180 degrees for well done.

Meanwhile, melt butter in small saucepan. Add onion and saute until tender. Stir in apricot preserves and soy sauce. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Brush glaze on meat during last 30 minutes of roasting, brushing about every 10 minutes. When meat is done allow to stand 10 minutes before carving. Heat remaining glaze and serve as sauce with meat. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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