Laura The Gastronaut > Julia Child > Meat > Roast Leg of Lamb

Roast Leg of Lamb

January 25, 2021 | Updated April 5, 2022 | Laura

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Julia Child's Roast Leg of Lamb

✽ Recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. I | Julia Child ✽

Julia Child Recipe 163 | 365 recipes to go!

✽ Roast Leg of Lamb [Gigot de Pré-Salé Rôti], p. 332


✽ Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. I was written by Julia Child who co-authored with Simone Beck & Louisette Bertholle and was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1961.

✽ You can buy Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I which contains these recipes here. (affiliate link)

The purpose of this Julia Child section of my blog is to document my journey of learning how to cook. To show my successes, my failures, and what I learned along the way.

Since I didn't create these recipes (if only!), I do not post exact amounts of ingredients or word-for-word instructions. If any of these recipes spark your interest, I highly recommend you buy Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking (affiliate link). It's a great investment and learning tool and contains hundreds of classic recipes.

I hope that you enjoy reading my thoughts, learn something new, and leave inspired to try a new recipe. Bon appétit!


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Butter Count & Cost: Roast Leg of Lamb

✽ Butter Count: +2 TB

✽ Cost: $40.53 [~$4.50 per serving]

Check out the total Julia Child butter count & cost here!

→ Looking for a different Julia Child recipe? Here's a list of all of the completed and pending Mastering the Art of French Cooking recipes!

So long, beef. Hello, leg of lamb.

I was SO excited to roast my very first whole leg of lamb (and a little nervous too!). Last thing I wanted was to waste this beautiful huge piece of meat because I had no idea what I was doing.

But like always, I put my faith into Julia and followed her direction. It turned out PERFECT! I could hardly believe it.

This recipe is actually very basic. It reminded me way back to the day when I made my first Julia Child recipe, roast chicken. They both are roasted in the same manner and come out of the oven looking fabulous.

This leg of lamb recipe would be a great choice for Easter dinner, impressing your guests at a dinner party, special occasions, or even just for a weeknight dinner.

Julia Child Leg of Lamb: Rating

✽ Laura's Rating: 8

✽ Brian's Rating: 9

This was a high rating recipe for us and for good reason! Sometimes I appreciate these few ingredient recipes more than the complicated ones.

There are only five main ingredients used- lamb leg, butter, carrot, onion, and stock. That's it! And trust me, that's all you need!

It's the cooking method that makes this great recipe a winner in our book. I now can't wait to try out the next leg of lamb recipes and the recipes for lamb stew!

Leg of Lamb Roast Recipe: Questions

✽ What leg of lamb cooking time?

According to the cookbook for a bone-in 6-pound leg of lamb or shoulder, you should cook it 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 hours (13 - 15 minutes per pound) to get medium to well-done.

The lamb leg should have an internal temperature of 145 to 160 degrees. The meat will be firm when pressed, and the juices will run a pale rose color when you stab with a fork.

For a rare leg of lamb, it will take 1 - 1 1/4 hours (10 - 12 minutes per pound). The lamb leg should have an internal temperature of 125 to 130 degrees. The meat will be slightly resistant when pressed, and if you stab it with a fork, the juices will be a rosy red.

I, personally, try to strive for a medium-rare lamb leg usually and cook the leg for about 12 - 13 minutes per pound.

If you like the lamb to be well done, Julia recommends not going over an internal temperature of 160 degrees because you will lose a lot of the juices and flavor.

✽ What temperature should you roast a leg of lamb at?

For this recipe, the leg is cooked at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes. It is turned and basted every 5 minutes until all sides are browned.

The oven is reduced to 350 degrees for the remainder of the cooking process.

✽ Why do you let the leg of lamb rest after cooking?

This gives all those juices time to get reabsorbed back into the meat. If you didn't allow the leg to rest prior to carving, those juices would run all out on your cutting board.

By letting the leg of lamb rest, the meat will be juicer and more flavorful and tender. The lamb should rest 15-30 minutes prior to carving.

✽ What should you serve with leg of lamb?

I, personally, love having fresh homemade bread with lamb and then using that bread the next day for lamb sandwiches.

Julia suggests serving lamb with green beans, potatoes, and tomatoes.

Looking for more Julia Child lamb recipes to read about?

→ Check out all of the meat recipes that I've completed so far!

Fun Lambs Facts

✽ Who in the United States produces the most sheep?

The top five sheep-producing states in America are Texas, California, Colorado, Wyoming, and South Dakota.

✽ What is a lamb?

By definition, a lamb is a sheep that's under one year old. Mutton is a sheep that's over one year old.

✽ How much lamb do Americans eat?

The average American eats less than one pound of lamb a year. On the other hand, the average American eats 85 pounds of beef in a year!

For this recipe:

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How to Roast Leg of Lamb

Julia Child Leg of Lamb

✽ Step 1: Brush Lamb with Butter & Roast at High Heat

The very first thing you will do in this recipe is slather that leg with butter and olive oil.

The next part is the key to this recipe. Julia instructs to roast the leg of lamb on the rack of a roasting pan in a 450 degree oven. That's hot!

The leg is basted every 5 minutes and is left in the very hot oven for a few minutes. This will give the leg a beautifully light golden brown color all over.

This will give the outside of the lamb a nice sear and keep all those delicious juices in.

Lamb Leg Julia Child Recipe

✽ Step 2: Roast Leg of Lamb

The temperature of the oven is then knocked down. Aromatic vegetables are added to the bottom of the pan. Then the lamb is roasted until done.

You can also add in garlic cloves a few minutes prior to the end of roasting.

Ideally you would want to use a meat thermometer to determine if it is done cooking, but my thermometer was completely destroyed.

I put all my trust in Julia's times and my oven and cooked it exactly for the length of time the book told me. For a medium-rare leg of lamb, you want to aim for around 12 minutes per pound. The juices will run rosy red when done.

This lamb was anything but dry. So much juicy goodness!

Lamb Julia Child

✽ Step 3: Let the Lamb Rest at Room Temperature

Once the lamb is done cooking, it is seasoned and allowed to rest for about 30 minutes.

This allows the "juices to retreat back into the tissues."

✽ Step 4: Make Gravy

Julia Child Lamb Gravy

The last thing to do is make the sauce! The excess fat is spooned out of the roasting pan. Then the stock is added to the pan drippings.

All that stuff stuck to the bottom is going to give this gravy the best flavor.

This is all quickly boiled down making sure to squish the vegetables to get all those delicious juices out of them.

The sauce is strained and served in a gravy boat.

✽ Step 5: Decorate with Parsley and Serve

The lamb is to be decorated with parsley sprigs and served on warmed plates.

Julia Child Gigot de Pre-Sale Roti

Gigot de Pre-Sale Roti Julia Child

*This blog, Laura The Gastronaut, and this post were/are not endorsed or supported by Julia Child or The Julia Child Foundation.

Category: Julia Child, Meat Cuisine: French
Keywords: leg of lamb, Julia Child lamb recipes, lamb easter dinner, French leg of lamb recipe

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More Lamb Recipes:

Garlic Sauce for Roast Lamb (a delicious and garlicky gravy variation for lamb of leg)
Gigot a la Moutarde (Julia Child's herbal mustard coating for leg of lamb is so tasty)
Pork and Herb Stuffing (a super flavorful pork and herb stuffing for a boneless leg of lamb)
→ Check out all of the completed Julia Child meat recipes!

✽ You can find this recipe and all the other Julia Child recipes I make in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I (affiliate link).
→ Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. I was written by Julia Child who co-authored with Simone Beck & Louisette Bertholle and was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1961.

✽ Check out my Julia Child Recipe Checklist to see a list of all my completed and pending recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking!

Bon appétit!

January 25, 2021 by Laura Bullock

*This Roast Leg of Lamb blog post may contain some Amazon affiliate links. These link to products that I personally use and recommend. If you purchase anything using my links, it will not cost you anything. It will though give some financial support which helps me keep this blog running. Thank you for reading my blogs and your continued support.