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Grilled Leg of Lamb a la Greque

I’ve long loved leg of lamb. Served with grilled fennel, carrots and potatoes, it’s marvelous and often frequents our Easter table.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

1 (4-to-5 lb.) whole leg of lamb, butterflied and trimed of hard fat and parchment-like covering

8 cloves garlic, minced

3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 to 4 Tablespoons virgin olive oil, preferably Greek

2 Tablespoons fresh mint leaves or 2 teaspoons dried mint

2 Tablespoons fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried oregano

Freshly ground black pepper

2 heads fennel, quartered

8 to 10 carrots, halved

10 medium new potatoes, halved lengthwise

1. Have your butcher debone a leg of lamb, telling him not to tie it. Combine garlic, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small bowl. Spread half of mixture over inside surface of lamb, reserving the remainder for the outside. Place mint and oregano leaves on the inside surface of the lamb; then roll and tie together with kitchen twine. Apply remaining garlic mixture to the outside. Season with black pepper. Allow to stand 2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.

2. Preheat grill to medium-high or 450°F (230C). If using charcoal, create two banks of coals for an indirect fire. If using electric or gas, then use the heating units at the sides only, not the middle, for best cooking. Place rack about 6 inches above heat. After 20 minutes, turn the heat to 325 F or a medium heat. Roast 1 hour.

3. Lightly brush vegetables with remaining olive oil and place on rack, covering grill if possible. Cook lamb until it reaches desired doneness or about 1 ½ hours total cooking time for medium-rare, turning after 45 minutes. Grill vegetables until fork tender, turning as they cook. If using charcoal, replenish hot coals after 1 hour. Allow roast to stand about 20 minutes before carving.

Note: You can also roast the lamb in an oven using the same temperatures recommended above and for the same timing.

Reprinted with permission from Jane Butel’s Southwestern Grill

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