There is nothing more traditional than a roasted leg of lamb in Iceland. I worked on a vegetable farm for two summers in Northern Iceland and it was served almost every Sunday. They grew vegetables like carrots, cabbage, cauliflower and potatoes which would be steamed and served with a gravy made from the pan drippings. Simple, but so good, and the simply prepared vegetables are fantastic with lamb gravy.
I grew up eating steamed potatoes, which are actually quite good, and if you are serving them with gravy they can be a lot healthier than mashed potatoes not to mention easier to cook! Of course, the better quality the potato the better it is boiled but I think Americans could eat a lot more boiled/steamed foods. Yes, I know a hard sell, but some of the best foods I have had have been in Iceland and Ireland where boiling or poaching are popular cooking methods. If you start out with fresh, quality ingredients, simple preparations are always the way to go.
This is true with this roasted leg of lamb; the only seasoning is freshly cracked pepper and kosher salt. No garlic, no thyme and no rosemary and because this leg was grass-fed on our farm I think it is the best way to enjoy the complex but mild flavors.
Leg of Lamb
1 -leg of lamb with bone(about 4-6 pounds)
freshly ground pepper and kosher salt to taste
1 cup of water to start out at the bottom of the roasting pan, you will want to keep adding more while roasting making sure that the drippings do not burn.
Simple Lamb Gravy
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour (if you like it really thick add 3 tablespoons)
2 cups of lamb drippings(use water to deglaze roasting pan), homemade chicken or lamb broth. I think a cup of lamb dripping and a cup of broth work well.
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Some might tell you to cut off the fat on the leg but I love to keep it, when roasted it is really makes the slices of tender lamb decadent as there is a crispy fat top.
3. Season the leg liberally with freshly cracked pepper and salt.
4. Place on a roasting pan, preferably with rack.
5. Add a cup of water.
6. Roast at 425 degrees for 15 -20 minutes.
7. Lower temperature to 325 and roast for another 1 to an 1 and a half depending on your oven and meat thermometer.
8. Let rest at least 10 minutes before serving.
9. You can also add water at the end to make the drippings more liquid. Use your personal taste test to make sure that you do not add to little or too much water.
Simple Lamb Gravy
1. In a small sauce pan, add butter, melt over medium heat.
2. When melted add flour, whisk.
3. Add two cups of dripping and broth, whisk until smooth, bring to a boil reduce heat and serve! Many Icelandic cooks will only use drippings and water which I think is very good, but if you have homemade broth on hand I think it adds more flavor to the gravy. 1 cup of pan dripping and 1 cup of broth is a good combo.
4. *in Iceland they use a browning coloring to make the gravy brown, which is not natural. This gravy might look like chicken gravy but it is not and has a very deep rich flavor even though the color is light