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resized leg of lamb


That picture above there? It’s not good. I had to get a stock photo and play with Photoshop. Why didn’t I already have a picture of a boneless leg of lamb? Well, the simple fact it, Suzen and I don’t eat lamb that much. We like it, we do cook lamb — by the leg and by the rack. But not that often. We are Americans.

Long ago, Suzi stopped suggesting lamb to her Cooking by the Book clients. They go for chicken and beef and salmon. God forbid we suggest Bambi, or Thumper, or some tender little baby lamby thingy.

Our British cousins have a different viewpoint. They lamb-up or man-up. Lamb is readily eaten and enjoyed. Which brings us to the name of this recipe: Midweek Lamb. Americans think of lamb as a serious undertaking, one to be considered for holidays or weekends alone. Lamb is complicated. Lamb takes time. Lamb …

It’s all nonsense. This recipe is from LEON: Family and Friends, a book devoted to recipes that are casual, quick, and wonderful. The preparation time for this lamb is a mere 15 minutes and the suggested cooking time is 40 minutes. In about one hour, you can have a lamb treasure on you table. Suzi and I love the combination here of lamb and anchovies plus chilies. There is a rainbow of flavors here that will make your midweek seem like a Sunday evening.

There are options to this recipe. After you have finished cooking, you can deglaze the roasting pan with 1 cup of wine, stock, or water to make a terrific gravy. I vote for a serious red wine.

If anchovies are not your thing — I so hope that is not true but people, like recipes, come in all flavors — then you can substitute black olives. Say 18 or so.

If you want a more complete but still one-dish meal, then before you put the lamb in the roasting pan, put down a layer of vegetables. The LEON authors suggest red bell peppers and a bulb or two of fennel. Of course, you could do onions, carrots, or diced/sliced potatoes. It’s your choice and your pleasure.


Midweek Lamb

Yield: serves 4


  • A small bunch of fresh rosemary
  • 1 boned leg of lamb, about 2 ¾ pounds in weight
  • 6 anchovies — about 1 ounce
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • 2 dried chilies
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 425⁰ F.

Strip the leaves off the rosemary and set aside. Sprinkle the twigs in a roasting pan. Open out the lamb, pat dry, and lay it on top of the rosemary twigs.

Put all the remaining ingredients into a food processor with the rosemary leaves and process to a paste. Spread the paste over the lamb.

Roast in the oven for 40 minutes or until the lam is still nicely pink inside. Set it aside to rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Source: LEON: Family & Friends by Kay Plunkett-Hogge & John Vincent