A stuffed leg of lamb is an easy way to serve an elegant meal for Easter or any other special occasion. This version is filled with spinach, pine nuts and naturally sweet raisins. Sponsored by Sun-Maid Raisins.
Lamb is one of those meats where you either love it or hate it. Coming from a Persian family, I grew up eating lamb so I am definitely in the lover category. My kids are also big fans, so I do my best to prepare it as often as I can.
A classic lamb dinner is common for Easter, so it is easy to find it on sale this time of year. My husband loves grilling a bone-in leg of lamb, but today I am sharing one of my other favorite ways of serving a boneless version.
My family does not celebrate Easter, but that doesn’t mean that I do not appreciate the holiday or find it beautiful. I hold the same sentiment for Passover. So whether you are preparing a lamb feast for a holy holiday or just because, a stuffed leg of lamb will certainly be a crowd pleaser.
You can stuff any roast with any of your favorite flavor combinations. The stuffing I have prepared for this recipe is inspired by my obsession with Mediterranean flavors: raisins, spinach, basil, garlic and pine nuts.
How to butterfly a leg of lamb
A boneless leg of lamb is easy enough to find in your grocery store, but you can always ask your butcher to debone it if you only find a bone-in version. If you don’t mind exerting a little effort, you can also debone it yourself.
Once deboned, you will find that the lamb is not perfectly flat and you will also discover that it is covered in large chunks of fat. You certainly don’t want to find large pockets of fat while you are eating your stuffed leg of lamb, so you need to remove the fat and sinews as best as you can.In my video, I show you how to trim the lamb as well as how to use a knife to further flatten any large chunks of meat. You can also cover the meat with plastic wrap and use a meat mallet to even out and flatten the meat more. Even layers of meat means that your stuffed leg of lamb will cook evenly.
Because we are stuffing the lamb with fresh spinach and basil, it is best to sauté it before spreading it over the meat. This will insure that the water released from the spinach does not water down the lamb. I also toast the pine nuts beforehand, as well.
These little steps give maximum flavor punch to your meal. After adding the layers of stuffing over your butterflied meat, it is time to roll it up.
Rolling it all up
There is no special technique to rolling your meat up. I like to start on the widest end of the lamb and slowly roll it up, tucking in any flaps of meat sticking out, like you do when you roll up a burrito.
Once rolled up, it’s time to tie it up so it will hold its shape. Kitchen twine is one of those pantry staples that you should always have on hand. Tie your lamb roast up lengthwise and crosswise in multiple areas.
Any stuffing that falls out, can be pushed back into the lamb. Once tied up, transfer your stuffed leg of lamb to a roasting pan, rub it down with some extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Roasting a stuffed leg of lamb
Now you are ready for the magic to begin! For this 5-pounder, it took about 90 minutes to roast to medium rare in the center.
Details on the cooking instructions are in the recipe directions below. I do encourage you to test doneness using a meat thermometer. It is truly the only way to guarantee that your stuffed leg of lamb is cooked to your own personal preference.
It may seem complicated, but stuffing and rolling a leg of lamb really is easy. The process is pretty simple. But again, your friends and family don’t need to know that!
Happy Easter, Passover, Norouz or whatever it is you celebrate this spring!
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
- 5 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 ounce fresh basil, chopped
- 3/4 cups raisins
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 5-pound boneless leg of lamb
- Preheat oven to 400ºF/ 200ºC.
- Heat a large pan over medium heat and add pine nuts and toast until golden, about 5 minutes, and reserve.
- Add 1 TBS olive oil to hot pan and sauté garlic until golden, about 5 minutes. Do not burn the garlic or it will taste bitter.
- Stir in spinach and cook until spinach starts to wilt then remove from heat.
- Stir in basil and reserve mixture.
- Unwrap and unroll lamb over a large cutting board.
- Using a sharp knife, remove excess portions of fat over both sides of the leg of lamb. Since you are stuffing and rolling the meat, you do not want big chunks of fat.
- Once trimmed of excess fat, examine meat. One side is typically thicker than the other. To even out the thickness of the lamb, cut horizontally into the thick portion of the meat, but do not cut completely. As you cut, open the meat flap as you would open a page in a book until the meat is flat.
- If you want a thinner slab, cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and pound with a mallet until desired thickness or to help level out the lamb.
- Season lamb with 2 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp pepper.
- Spread spinach mixture evenly over the lamb.
- Next spread raisins over spinach mixture.
- Add toasted pine nuts over raisins.
- Starting with the widest end, start rolling up the lamb into a tight package.
- Tie roast together lengthwise with kitchen twine, with ties running across the roast, in 2-inch intervals. Any stuffing that has fallen out, can be stuffed back into your lamb package.
- Season outside of the lamb all over with remaining salt and pepper.
- Transfer lamb packed to a baking pan and drizzle with 1 TBS olive oil.
- Rub oil all over the lamb roast and place in the oven.
- Cook until desired doneness, until the internal temperature of a thick piece of meat in the center of the roll reaches 145°F/63ºC for medium rare, 160°F/71ºC for medium, approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Transfer roast to cutting board and cover with foil. Allow roast to rest 10 minutes before carving.
Note: Lamb can be stuffed and tied 1 day ahead. Wrap it in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before roasting.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Serving Size:1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 681Total Fat: 43gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 211mgSodium: 1093mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 60g