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Butterflied Leg of Lamb

Butterflied Leg of Lamb
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 70 minutes
Servings: 8 to 10 Serves 8 to 10.


  • 1 leg of lamb, 5 to 6 lb., trimmed of fat, boned and
  • 7 large garlic cloves
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 bottle full-bodied red wine
  • 9 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup pitted oil-cured olives, plus extra for
  • 2 Tbs. herbes de Provence
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 to 2 tsp. olive oil, or as needed
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Make 15 to 20 small slits at regular intervals in the butterflied lamb. Sliver 2 of the garlic cloves and insert into the slits. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Place the lamb in a large lock-top plastic bag or a nonaluminum dish and add 2 cups of the wine. Seal the bag securely or cover the dish. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or for up to 3 days, turning occasionally. Bring the lamb to room temperature before roasting.

On a cutting board, place the remaining 5 garlic cloves, sprinkle with a few pinches of coarse salt, then chop. Add the sun-dried tomatoes,
1/2 cup olives, herbes de Provence and the 2 tsp. pepper and continue to chop to form a coarse paste.

Preheat an oven to 450°F. Remove the lamb from the marinade and lay it flat, cut side up. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan, bring to a boil and remove from the heat. Evenly spread the tomato-olive paste over the meat. Roll up the lamb and tie securely with kitchen string at intervals of 2 to 3 inches.

In a roasting pan over high heat, warm enough olive oil to form a film on the pan bottom. Add the lamb and brown on all sides, 5 to 6 minutes total. Transfer to the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and continue to roast, basting every 10 to 15 minutes with the reserved marinade, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 125° to 130°F for very rare to medium-rare, about 45 minutes. Alternatively, cut into the meat with a sharp knife; it should be pink or done to your liking. Transfer to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Meanwhile, place the roasting pan over high heat. Add 1 cup of the wine and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the pan bottom. Bring to a boil and boil until reduced by half, 5 to 8 minutes. Spoon off the fat from the pan juices, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a warmed sauceboat.

Snip the strings and carve the lamb across the grain into thin slices. Arrange on a warmed platter, sprinkle with chopped parsley and garnish with the olives. Pass the pan juices at the table.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Everyday Roasting, by Janeen Sarlin (Time-Life Books, 1998).