Spiced Leg of Lamb on theĀ Grill

March 22, 2010
Author Notes

I had been looking for a lamb recipe and kept running into ones that used herbs and aromatics. I was looking for something with spices. Aggregating ideas from a number of sources, plus some taste memories of my own, I came up with this one. (The structure of the recipe relies on two recipes by Mark Bittman: a marinated steak < > and a grilled leg of lamb < >.) It's not far from marinating the lamb in a mulled wine. It takes a little work in advance, plus the patience (or planning) to wait for the marination, but it is simple, and tasty, too. The recipe is tolerant of variation. For wine I chose Zinfandel (Ridge 2007 Ponzo Vineyard), but any bold red like a fruity Syrah or Malbec would do. The choice of spices is only limited by your spice merchant and your palate. I chose spices that reminded me of India. —asabnis

Test Kitchen Notes

The title of this recipe conjures up a lengthy process in your kitchen and on your deck, but it's one of the fastest recipes around. The marinade takes about 10 minutes to make and the lamb, because it's butterflied, cooks in about the same time. It was pouring rain the day we made this so we opted to broil it, and it turns out it's a terrific alternative. We laid the butterflied lamb on a baking sheet and set it about 6 inches from the broiler flame. Five minutes per side and we had perfect medium-rare, spicy and fragrant lamb. - A&M —The Editors

  • Serves 4-6
  • 4 pounds boneless butterflied leg of lamb
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon cumin, ground
  • 1 tablespoon coriander, ground
  • 2 pieces cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, minced
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, crushed
  • 1 sprig mint leaves
  • 1 piece orange or lemon peel
  • 1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • salt and pepper
In This Recipe
  1. Boil the wine with the sugar, peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, coriander, and cardamom.
  2. Simmer the marinade for 10 minutes, then add ginger, garlic, mint, orange peel, and soy sauce.
  3. Remove marinade from heat and cool to room temperature. (This can be done up to a day in advance, however, then refrigerate the marinade and strain the mint and solid spices out after 24 hours.)
  4. Trim as much fat as possible from the leg of lamb (or ask your butcher).
  5. Place lamb in a large zipper bag or airtight container, add marinade, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
  6. Remove lamb from marinade and dry with paper towels. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides.
  7. Grill over medium heat, about 10-15 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature at the thickest part measures 125 F for medium rare.
  8. Remove lamb from grill. Rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve with any collected juices.
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