Lamb with Yogurt Sauce

A friend of mine will be taking a leave of absence from academia to work in Switzerland for a year, though it may be a permanent move. Before they leave Seattle (this weekend), we’re having their family over for dinner. I was going to make falafel and hummus, but they’re cutting back on the carbs. Instead, the main course will be lamb with beets and a salad.

Leg of Lamb with Yogurt Sauce, from Williams-Sonoma’s Mediterranean Cooking

1 leg of lamb, about 5 lbs, trimmed of excess fat
4 cloves of garlic, cut into slivers

2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T dried oregano
juice from two lemons (about 1/3 C)
1/2 C olive oil
1 C dry red wine

Yogurt sauce:
2 C plain yogurt
1 small cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and coarsely grated
salt to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
2 T lemon juice
3 T chopped fresh mint
papper to taste

  1. The night before… trim the lamb of excess fat. Make 1/2″ slits around the surface and insert a sliver of garlic into the slits.
  2. Whisk the marinade in a bowl. Put the lamb and the marinade in a gallon-size Ziploc bag. Squish the marinade around to coat the lamb and refrigerate it overnight.
  3. Start the yogurt sauce: line a sieve with muslin and place over a bowl. Spoon the yogurt into the sieve, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  4. The day of the meal… preheat oven to 375°F.
  5. Remove the meat from the marinade, saving the marinade. Salt and pepper the lamb to taste and place it in a roasting pan. Roast, basting occasionally, until the internal temperature reads 125°F, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. (This is for medium-rare. Add/subtract 5 degrees for medium or rare, respectively.)
  6. Finish the sauce… Place the grated cucumber in a sieve set over a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and let drain for 30 minutes. Rince off the salt and squeeze the cucumber dry.
  7. In a bowl, combine the drained yogurt, garlic, and olive oil. Fold in the cucumber. Stir in the lemon juice and chopped mint. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
  8. When the lamb is done, put it on a cutting board, covered with aluminum foil, and let it rest about 10 minutes before carving. This lets the juices get sucked back into the core. (Otherwise, when you cut it, the juices all run out and it’s less tender.)
  9. Slice, serve at once with the sauce.

1 thought on “Lamb with Yogurt Sauce”

  1. This recipe was a hit with no leftover lamb. The sauce was mistakenly used as a salad topping. One error I made was in assuming a boneless leg of lamb would need the same time to cook. One portion was medium, the rest was medium rare. (I think lamb should be served medium rare or rare.)

    A lot of liquid came out of the yogurt and cucumber (especially the cucumber). To deseed the cucumber, I just ran a spoon down the halved center.

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