“Wow, that’s a lot of wine.”

I’m pouring nearly an entire bottle of Rojo Mojo over a gorgeous leg of lamb we bought last fall at Rumbleway Farm. The husband is skeptical.

“Are you sure that isn’t too much wine?”

Well, no. But after adding lemon slices, garlic cloves, handfuls of fresh herbs and peppercorns, I can’t imagine how this marinade could be bad. The lamb will sit in its wine-drenched bath overnight, drinking up all those rich flavors.

But now I’m worried. This is, after all, our Easter centerpiece: A bone-in leg of lamb accompanied by smashed potatoes, baby lettuces, and a berry and lemon curd pavlova. We’ll eat at our typical holiday mealtime, which falls somewhere between 3 and 4. (Not quite dinner; not quite lunch. The husband deems it “dunch.”) If the lamb isn’t edible, dunch will be a bit meager.

A few hours before mealtime, I remove the lamb from its wine soaking and pat it dry.

“Is that cooked?” the husband asks.

It kind of looks that way … rosy red; fat and satiated with liquid.

“No,” I tell him. “It’s just resting.”

Which it is. For an hour. Then I slather on a quick coat of garlic, rosemary and grainy mustard and roast the meat for a couple of hours.

It emerges from the oven wonderfully brown and aromatic.

“Smells like wine,” the husband says.

Yes. And garlic, and citrus and rosemary. Because this is a grass-fed, organic lamb, it throws off very little fat. I pour the pan juices in a saucepan and reduce them by about half. Then shave the meat off the lamb leg’s bone in long, thin slices.

lamb & potates

The lamb comes to the table plated with the oven-smashed potatoes. And one quick taste dispels any doubts.

Yes, our lamb is drunk. There’s no mistaking its deep, winey flavor.

It’s also delicious. A perfect entree for Easter dunch.

Drunken Leg Of Lamb

For the marinade:

  • 1 4- to 6-pound bone-in leg of lamb, preferably organic and grass-fed
  • 3 cups red wine
  • 2 lemons, thickly sliced
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

For the rub:

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons grainy mustard
  • Juice of 1 lemon

For the roast:

  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3-4 cups beef broth

In a 9x13x2-inch pan, combine the 3 cups red wine and the remaining marinade ingredients. Whisk well, then add the leg of lamb, turning to coat well. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator 12 to 14 hours, turning occasionally.

One hour before roasting, take the lamb out of the fridge. Remove it from its wine bath and pat it dry. Let it come to room temperature.

Meanwhile, make the rub: Finely chop the garlic and rosemary. Place in a bowl, then add the grainy mustard and the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, and stir well.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place a sheet of foil in the bottom of a large roasting pan. Put a rack on top of the foil and coat everything well with nonstick cooking spray.

Place the lamb, fat-side up, on the rack. Season it with salt and pepper, then pour the rub over top, making sure every nook and cranny is covered. Pour 1 cup red wine into the bottom of the pan, then place the roasting pan in the oven. Roast for 15 minutes, then reduce your oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Continue roasting for another 90 minutes, pouring beef broth into the roasting pan and over the top of the lamb every 20 minutes or so. You want to be sure the liquid in the bottom of the pan doesn’t scorch.

After the 90 minutes has passed, stick an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the lamb, being careful not to touch the bone. You want the internal temp to reach 140 to 145 degrees. Most likely, the lamb will need another 10-15 minutes of roasting. Lightly cover the meat with a sheet of foil and continue cooking until the temperature reaches your target.

When done, remove the lamb to a cutting board and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes. While the meat is resting, pour the pan juices into a sauce pan. Skim off any fat that has accumulated and boil for 5-10 minutes to reduce. Taste for seasoning and add a bit of lemon juice, salt or pepper if necessary. Set the sauce aside.

lambHolding the lamb by its bone, stand it upright and begin carving the meat off the bone. The first few slices will give you a lot of fat-laden pieces. Discard those.

Place the meat on a platter. Scatter any mustard-rub that has fallen on your cutting board back over the lamb slices. Garnish with parsley. Serve with the sauce and whatever other dishes you want to round out your dunch.