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Cookbook author and scholar Jessica B. Harris serves this roast leg of lamb cooked over a bed of new potatoes as the centerpiece of her Bastille Day dinner party, which she has traditionally hosted to open up her summers on Martha's Vineyard. Dried lavender and fresh thyme lend floral, woodsy flavor to fresh garlic cloves in a simple paste created on the cutting board. The paste seasons the lamb before cooking and helps the dried spice crust stick to the meat. The mint sauce — what Harris calls a "jazzed-up mint jelly" made by cooking mint jelly in a skillet with a splash of rum and jalapeño — will appear very thin when hot but thickens to a glaze as it cools. If you like, serve the leg of lamb and potatoes as Harris does, alongside string beans and a salad of fresh island lettuces mixed with avocado chunks and blueberries, followed by lemon chess pie for dessert.

Gallery

Credit: Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Recipe Summary

active:
30 mins
total:
1 hr 55 mins
Yield:
6 to 8 servings
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Ingredients

Lamb and Potatoes
Spicy Mint-Rum Sauce

Directions

Make the lamb and potatoes:
  • Preheat oven to 450°F. Finely chop garlic on a cutting board; sprinkle with thyme and lavender. Using the flat side of a chef's knife, smash garlic mixture until a coarse paste forms. Using the tip of a sharp paring knife, make about 15 (1/2-inch-wide, 3/4-inch-deep) incisions all over lamb leg. Stuff garlic mixture evenly into holes (about 1/4 teaspoon mixture each). Set aside.

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  • Toss together potatoes, oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large roasting pan; spread in an even layer. Roast in preheated oven until potatoes have just started to brown, about 10 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, combine peppercorns, rosemary, herbes de Provence, and remaining 2 tablespoons salt in a spice grinder. Pulse until coarsely ground, about 8 pulses. Rub mixture all over lamb.

  • Remove potatoes from oven; stir mixture in pan. Place lamb, fat side up, on potatoes. Return to oven, and roast at 450°F until lamb just begins to brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Stir potatoes in pan, lifting lamb to stir potatoes under it. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Continue roasting to desired degree of doneness or until a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of meat registers 120°F for medium-rare, 1 hour to 1 hour and 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Let rest 15 minutes.

Make the spicy mint-rum sauce:
  • Cook mint jelly, rum, and jalapeño in a small saucepan over medium, stirring often, until jelly liquefies and sauce is warmed through, about 5 minutes.

  • Transfer lamb to a cutting board; carve into long, thin slices. Toss potatoes with pan drippings. Serve lamb alongside potatoes and spicy mint-rum sauce.

Make Ahead

Leftover spicy mint-rum sauce can be stored in an airtight container up to 2 days. Reheat over warm before serving.

Note

The shank-end lamb leg is not a standard cut; it refers to a lamb leg with the butt of the leg removed. It cooks faster than a larger whole leg and still offers a beautiful bone-in presentation. A grocery store butcher counter can prepare this precise cut upon request, or you can substitute a 3- to 4-pound whole leg of lamb or bone-in shoulder. Different brands' herbes de Provence blends will have different ratios of herbs and levels of coarseness, so we recommend Simply Organic for this recipe.

Suggested Pairing

Peppery, dark-fruited Sonoma Zinfandel: Valravn Sonoma County

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