I don’t often get to cook with my mom. She lives a plane ride away, and although we talk (at length) about food during our regular phone chats, we rarely have the chance to get into the kitchen together. When my parents came to visit for Easter a few weeks ago, I had some vague plans for what I wanted to make while they were in town. Oh, who am I kidding? I had decided exactly what to make and had even printed out some recipes to be prepared. This marinated, grilled leg of lamb was on the menu for our Easter dinner, and it was one of the many dishes that my mom and I collaborated on over that weekend.
While I think mom and I each had to adjust to the idea of cooking with someone else (we’re used to cooking solo), we handled ourselves quite well. There was a (perhaps unhealthy) amount of discussion about the lamb – “where did you find the recipe?” “hmm, what do you think about subbing rosemary for the cilantro?” “Should I pull the meat off of the grill now, or does it need a few more minutes?” You see, my mom and I both share a – we’ll call it a quirk – called over-thinking. Incidentally, my roommate and my dad both managed to steer clear of the kitchen for the entire day. They knew what they’d be in for – my roommate once made the mistake of entering the kitchen on Thanksgiving when my mother, my sister and I were cooking and baking up a storm. He said that it felt like being caught in the eye of a hurricane, and he couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
And so, after my mom and I had made a proper mess in the kitchen on Easter Sunday, we all sat down to this lovely, refreshing grilled leg of lamb. Because it had marinated overnight, the meat was tender and juicy and delicately scented with herbs and spices. We paired it with a bright cous cous salad and plenty of red wine. It was the perfect way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon.
Yogurt-Marinated Grilled Leg of Lamb
1 cup loosely packed fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
1 1/2 cups mint leaves
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
3 cloves garlic
Zest of one lemon
1 Tablespoon whole cumin seeds, toasted and ground*
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 butterflied, boneless leg of lamb, about 3 pounds
To make the marinade, puree the rosemary, mint, yogurt, garlic, lemon zest, ground cumin seeds, salt, and pepper in a food processor or blender. Flatten out the butterflied leg of lamb and lay it into a baking dish. Pour the marinade over the leg of lamb, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Let the meat sit at room temperature while a grill heats to high, about 30 minutes. Lightly oil the grill grates and reduce the heat to medium. Wipe the excess marinade off of the lamb and grill until medium-rare, about 7 minutes per side (the internal temperature should be 145-150° F.) I used an instant-read thermometer to test mine and I pulled it off of the grill at 145°. It will continue to cook for a few minutes after removing from the grill. Slice the lamb thinly against the grain and serve.
*We toasted whole cumin seeds in a dry saute pan until fragrant. Then we ground them by hand with a mortar and pestle.
Source: I ripped this recipe out of a magazine years ago, but I can’t remember the name!