Grilled Leg of Lamb

By Beacon Staff

One of my favorite things to grill is lamb and especially the leg. With all the great flavor of lamb chops or rack of lamb but usually costing half the price, a leg of lamb can be the perfect choice for entertaining groups of six-10. I like to season lamb in a variety of ways but my favorite is with Mediterranean flavors such as olive oil, fresh herbs, garlic and spices from Africa and the Middle East. Served with a simple roasted vegetable salad, steamed couscous and a delicious yogurt-feta cheese sauce, it makes a wonderful meal with some real exotic flavors.

We will begin by making the marinade. For this you will need to gather together the following ingredients:

1 1/2 cups fresh herbs like oregano, rosemary, thyme and parsley, chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lemon, juice & zest
2 T Gram Masala Spice or any other curry spice blend
Course cracked pepper
Sea salt
1 4-to-5 pound boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of excess fat

I think that marinating meat is very important when grilling, especially when cooking large cuts like our leg of lamb. For this we will combine all ingredients and rub them into the lamb. Then place the lamb in a large sealable bag and let it sit for at least four hours but it is best if left overnight in the refrigerator. When you are done marinating the lamb remove it from the bag, pat dry of any excess marinade and place on a sheet pan. I usually reserve the leftover marinade for basting during the grilling process. At this point it is time to preheat your grill on high heat.

Now gather together the remaining ingredients to complete the meal. For this you will need:

1 large eggplant, sliced in 1 inch thick rounds
2 red onions, peeled and sliced
2 medium zucchini, cut in half length wise
2 lbs. baby bell peppers or 3-4 large red bell peppers quartered and seeds removed
1 bunch spring onions
2 T Balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Cracked pepper
Sea salt
3 cups plain yogurt
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 clove garlic, chopped
1 lemon, juice and zest
3 cups couscous
4 1/2 cups warm chicken stock

Next, combine all vegetables in a large bowl, toss lightly with the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper and set them aside. In a smaller bowl combine the yogurt, feta cheese, garlic and lemon with salt and pepper to taste and place in your refrigerator to let the flavors combine. Now it’s time to grill.

Reduce the heat to med.-high and thoroughly brush your grill clean of any ash that has formed. Start the leg of lamb skin-side down on the grill. Be careful, it will flame up a bit at first so keep an eye on it. Once you have gotten some nice color and rendered some of the fat, flip it over and continue cooking for another six to eight minutes. When it looks nice and golden brown, reduce the heat to medium on one side of the grill and to low on the opposite side. Place the lamb skin-side up on the low heat side of your grill and cover with the lid. You want to cook the lamb to about 135 degrees or about 25 to 30 minutes, turning and basting with the marinade during this time. When cooked to the appropriate doneness remove from the grill, cover with aluminum foil and let rest while you prepare the vegetables. To do this, turn the grill back up to high heat. When it is good and hot place the vegetables on the grill and give them a nice char, about two to three minutes per side. Don’t be afraid to let them get a little black but not burned. When they have achieved some nice grill marks, remove from the heat, place all the vegetables in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Now, place the couscous in a medium sauce pan with a lid over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it is aromatic and beginning to turn color, three to five minutes. Add the stock all at once, along with some salt and pepper. Cover and turn the heat to low. Cook for seven to 12 minutes, undisturbed, until the liquid is absorbed but the couscous is still quite moist. Fluff with a fork.

When the couscous is finished it is time to plate and serve. Remove the vegetables from the bowl and give them a rough chop. Slice the lamb and place over the couscous on a large platter. You can serve the vegetables with the lamb or in a separate bowl. Garnish with some fresh chopped parsley and fresh lemons wedges. Use the yogurt-feta sauce as a nice condiment and enjoy!