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Leg of Lamb with Tarragon and Fresh Mint Sauce

Maren Caruso

Servings: 8 to 10

The tarragon in the lamb is mild, offering just a light hint of anise to the dish. The red-wine vinegar combined with the sugar and mint give the sauce its classic sweet-sour profile that works so well with the lamb.

This recipe is excerpted from Big Buy Cooking.


For the lamb

  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 1 Tbs.)
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 lbs. boneless leg of lamb

For the sauce

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tbs)
  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar, more to taste
  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar, more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, chopped (about 1 cup)

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 380
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 180
  • Fat (g): 20
  • Saturated Fat (g): 5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11
  • Cholesterol (mg): 135
  • Sodium (mg): 810
  • Carbohydrates (g): 3
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 43


Prepare & cook the lamb

  • In a large non-reactive dish, mix 2 Tbs. oil with the wine, mustard, garlic, tarragon, 2 Tbs. salt, and 1 tsp. black pepper. Add the lamb and coat with the marinade, cover, and refrigerate, flipping occasionally, for at least 8 hours and up to a day.
  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F. Put the lamb on a large cutting board and cut away any fatty patches. Set the lamb in a large roasting pan. Brush with the remaining Tbs. oil and sprinkle with pepper.
  • Roast the lamb until it starts to brown on top, 12 to 15 minutes. Reduce the oven’s heat to 325°F and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into a thicker part of the lamb registers 135°F for medium-rare, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes.

Make the sauce

  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil with the garlic, stirring, until the garlic sizzles steadily and just starts to turn golden at the edges, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add 3/4 cup water and the vinegar. Whisk in the sugar until dissolved. Stir in 1/2 tsp. pepper. Taste and season the sauce with more sugar, salt, and pepper if needed. Let sit at room temperature while the lamb roasts.

To serve

  • Stir the mint into the sauce right before serving. Thinly slice the lamb and serve with the mint sauce on the side.


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