Earl Grey tea adds a lightly floral and flavorful crunch to this boned, rolled, tied leg of lamb. Similar to a coffee rub, the tea, mixed with Meyer lemon zest, will toast and form a crust that sticks to the lamb even after you snip off the strings. For this roast, the lamb is refrigerated overnight, uncovered, with the tea rub, then brought to room temperature, so it cooks evenly. The meat is oven-seared (in a very hot oven) for 15 minutes. Then turn down the heat to cook slow-and-low. It is important to check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer after one hour, and again 30 minutes later, because not all ovens are created equal. You may have to slightly adjust the roasting time to prevent the roast from getting over done. Remove it from the oven and the residual heat will continue to cook the roast and raise the internal temperature five degrees. When a piece of meat hits heat, it tenses up, so letting it rest before carving allows the juices to flow back through the meat, and gives you a much juicier, tender roast.
|3||tablespoons loose Earl Grey tea leaves|
|Grated rind of 2 Meyer lemons (or grated rind of 1 large orange and 1 lemon; reserve fruits)|
|1½||teaspoons black pepper|
1. Put the tea in a plastic bag, secure tightly, and use a rolling pin or the bottom of a small skillet to crush it slightly.
2. Tip the tea into a bowl. Add the citrus rind, salt, and pepper. Stir well.
|1||boned, rolled leg of lamb (4 pounds)|
|Olive oil (for sprinkling)|
|1||bunch fresh thyme|
|1||bunch fresh rosemary|
|2||whole garlic bulbs, tops sliced off|
|2||Meyer lemons or 1 small sliced orange and 1 lemon (reserved from the rub)|
|2||cups hot water|
1. Rub the lamb with olive oil. Press the tea mixture all over the lamb. Set on a platter and refrigerate, uncovered, overnight.
2. Let the lamb sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
3. Set the oven at 450 degrees. Have on hand a roasting pan that will fit the lamb with a little room around the edges. You also need a rack that fits in the pan.
4. Place ¾ of the thyme, ¾ of the rosemary, and garlic in the roasting pan. Quarter the lemons or cut the orange into wedges and set them in the pan. Place the rack in the pan and the lamb on the rack.
5. Roast the lamb for 15 minutes.
6. Turn the oven temperature down to 325 degrees. Continue roasting the meat for 1 hour and 40 minutes (25 minutes per pound), or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the lamb registers 120 degrees for rare, 125 degrees for medium-rare, or 130 degrees for medium-done meat. Check the meat during roasting at 1 hour, and again 30 minutes later.
7. Transfer the lamb to a warm platter and let it rest in a warm place for 20 minutes. Add the garlic bulbs and citrus pieces to the platter.
8. Add the hot water to the roasting pan and set it over a burner. Turn the heat to medium and let the water come to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan. Let it bubble steadily for 5 minutes. Strain the mixture into a bowl.
9. Snip off the lamb strings and carve it into slices. Serve with the pan juices and roast potatoes or baked risotto (see recipe, below). Lauren AllenLauren Allen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.