By Vida Gustafson

Contributing Writer

I love the tradition of a big Sunday supper, lingering over seconds or thirds, playing board games or maybe taking a much-needed nap. Whether you have something to celebrate or not, I think it’s high time to bring back Sunday roasts. 

The beauty of a leg of lamb is that it’s pretty forgiving. It won’t dry out as fast as chicken or get tough quickly like a beef roast if you’re a couple of degrees over on your cook times. 

Lamb meat takes to really strong flavors, lots of herbs, garlic and citrus. I grew up eating it with the indispensable mint sauce or jelly, but a pan gravy made from the drippings is delicious too. 

You can buy lamb legs partially or wholly deboned, I prefer mine bone-in, because it adds to the flavor and you end up with a bone to use for a soup later in the week.

I roast mine in a cast iron skillet, no need to bring out the roasting pan if you don’t want to!


One 4-5 lb leg of lamb

1 head of garlic

1 stem of fresh rosemary

2-3 tsp thyme, fresh finely chopped (1 tsp, if using dried)

2-3 tsp oregano, fresh, finely chopped (1 tsp, if using dried)

2 tsp black pepper

1-2 tbsp Kosher salt

2 tbsp olive oil

juice and zest of 1 lemon


Preheat the oven to 325°F. To prepare the meat, create small slits, set about 3 inches apart across the surface of the roast with a small sharp knife, insert a clove of garlic and a sprig of rosemary into each. Rub the lamb with the lemon juice and sprinkle all over with the salt, oregano, thyme, black pepper and lemon zest.

Place the roast onto a cast iron skillet large enough to accommodate it with a small amount of oil in the bottom and place in the oven. Drizzle the olive oil over the surface of the lamb. If you prefer your lamb cooked rare, cook for 20 minutes per pound (at 325° F), 25 for medium rare and 30 for well done. 

Place some par boiled potatoes and/or carrots around and under the roast 1 hour before removing the meat from the oven for an effortless side dish.

Be sure to rest the meat for at least 10 minutes before carving. You can make quick pan gravy while you wait by adding a tablespoon of flour to the drippings, cooking over medium heat while stirring with a fork or whisk to get all the tasty bits off the bottom of the pan, then adding a couple cups of stock or wine and stirring until thickened and seasoning to taste.