when you roast a leg of lamb in the oven do you put it up on a rack?

i am making the lamb shwarma from the jerusalem cookbook, so it is marinaded, and the recipe doesn't mention a rack, but it does mention pouring boiling water into the pan at some point, so it seems like you would use a rack. thoughts?

  • Posted by: esther
  • December 13, 2014
  • 3417 views
  • 24 Comments

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Pegeen
Pegeen December 13, 2014

I don't have the cookbook, so haven't seen the recipe. But it sounds like you're adding water at some point to create steam. If that's the case, yes, I'd put it on a rack. (There's nothing else under the lamb, right, such as a bed of vegetables?)

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esther
esther December 13, 2014

no nothing underneath, although he suggests if you want putting peeled wax potatoes in the pan at some point.

Greenstuff
Greenstuff December 13, 2014

I think you could go either way. He does talk about a traditional vertical roasting spit, which would suggest using the rack. But it's also a long, slow process, with you using the water to baste, so I might go without the rack if I were making it myself.

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luvcookbooks
luvcookbooks December 13, 2014

Rarely use a rack, recipe sounds as if you could go either way.

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Susan W
Susan W December 13, 2014

I would put it on a rack to sort of imitate how it would cook on a vertical spit.

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sdebrango
sdebrango December 13, 2014

I have the book and re read the recipe I do not think it is intended that a rack is used. I do however think it could be done either way and it would be successful. I roast leg of lamb frequently and never use a rack. I like it touching the bottom of the pan and my favorite part is the caramelized portion that touches the pan.

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esther
esther December 13, 2014

you make an excellent point about the caramelization. the only thing that gives me pause is adding the boiling water and wondering if that will mitigate any caramelizing effect. right now it's in the oven on a rack, but i can always take it off.

sdebrango
sdebrango December 13, 2014

I love every recipe I have made from the cookbook, one of my favorites but have never made the lamb. I think you would be right about the boiling water and the caramelization, I think it would steam the meat and make it soft and super tender. I always dry roast or don't use any liquid, I am glad that you asked this question because it reminds me that this is a recipe I must try. Reading the recipe it is roasted uncovered which can dry it out, so the boiling water will create steam and liquid to baste. I roast my leg of lamb covered in a graniteware pan, the lamb is steam roasted (much the same method really) but no liquid is used. If it were me I would take off the rack it's only a cup of water and it reduces so there will be caramelization I believe.

esther
esther December 13, 2014

you are supposed to baste it every hour and make sure 1/4 inch of water stays in the pan. and with three hours to go, you cover it in foil so the spices don't burn, and i suppose, so the meat doesn't dry out.

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sdebrango
sdebrango December 13, 2014

That makes sense, I know that the lamb will be incredible.

ChezHenry
ChezHenry December 13, 2014

I rack items with a skin, chicken, goose, duck etc. This prevents sticking to the pan, and enhances a crispy skin. Most other meats, including leg of lamb, beef roasts, pork roasts, I never put on racks, I just dont see any benefits.

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esther
esther December 13, 2014

with an hour to go, i might remove the rack and get some caramelization.

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Pegeen
Pegeen December 13, 2014

How can you get caramelization at the bottom of the pan if the lamb is sitting in water?

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esther
esther December 13, 2014

i was thinking of stopping to baste at that point. thoughts?

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sdebrango
sdebrango December 13, 2014

Do you mean stop basting and cover with foil?

esther
esther December 13, 2014

it was covered with foil, as per the cookbook instructions, 90 minutes into cooking. supposed to cook for 4 1/2 hours.

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sdebrango
sdebrango December 13, 2014

Well the way I read the recipe is that it is supposed to be basted every hour throughout the entire cooking time so since you are using the recipe I would continue following and continue to baste until it's done. It must smell incredible.

sdebrango
sdebrango December 13, 2014

How much liquid is in the pan?

esther
esther December 13, 2014

i keep refilling as instructed so that there is 1/2 inch in the pan.
and yes, it smells DIVINE!

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sdebrango
sdebrango December 13, 2014

I think the recipe is wonderful you have inspired me to make it.

esther
esther December 16, 2014

thank you to everyone who responded to my leg of lamb question. i ended up putting it on a rack and it was beyond delicious! i HIGHLY recommend this recipe and think racking is the way to go.

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sdebrango
sdebrango December 16, 2014

Thats so good to know especially since I plan on making the recipe. I never used a rack with leg of lamb but agree with Chef June and your stellar results speak loudly. Can't wait to make it now.

ChefJune
ChefJune December 16, 2014

I think I'd use a rack in this case. I often roast leg of lamb, and don't use a rack, but then I don't pour water over it while it's roasting.

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esther
esther December 16, 2014

it was less fatty and still very juicy. the recipe suggests throwing in some potatoes midway through and letting them roast in the juices and that would have been good but i had other side dishes going. the marinade was divine!

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