- 1 bunch fresh rosemary
- 1 small or ½ large bone-in leg of lamb (4 to 5 pounds)
- 6 cloves garlic, cut into slivers
- 6 Kalamata olives, cut into slivers and frozen
- California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil in a spray bottle, plus 3 to 4 tablespoons for basting
- 1 Tbsp. coarse salt
- 1 Tbsp. homemade Herbes de Provence (recipe follows) or a commercial brand
- 1 tsp. cracked black peppercorns
Homemade Herbes de Provence
(Makes about 1 cup)
- 3 Tbsp. dried rosemary
- 3 Tbsp. dried basil
- 3 Tbsp. dried marjoram
- 3 Tbsp. dried oregano
- 2 Tbsp. dried summer savory (optional)
- 1 Tbsp. dried thyme
- 2 tsp. fennel seeds
- 2 tsp. dried lavender
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- ½ tsp. ground bay leaves
In a small mixing bowl, crumble the rosemary between your fingers to break the needles into small pieces. Add the remaining ingredients and toss with your fingers to mix. Store the Herbes de Provence in an airtight container away from light; it will keep for as long as 6 months.
Note: This recipe makes more Herbes de Provence than you’ll need. The seasoning is great sprinkled on virtually any grilled meat, poultry, seafood, or vegetables.
Directions for Lamb
Strip the leaves off 2 rosemary sprigs. Finely chop the leaves of 1 sprig. Set aside the remainder of the bunch of rosemary.
Using the tip of a sharp, slender knife, make a series of ½-inch-deep holes in the lamb, mostly in the sheath of fat on top, but also on the sides and bottom. The holes should be about 1 inch apart. Insert the garlic, olives, and whole rosemary leaves in the holes, one flavoring per hole.
Spray the leg of lamb on all sides with oil. Combine the salt, Herbes de Provence, peppercorns, and chopped rosemary leaves and sprinkle them all over the lamb, patting them on with your fingertips.
Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium. If using a charcoal grill, place a drip pan in the center. If using a gas grill, place all the wood chips, if desired, in the smoker box or in a smoker pouch and preheat on high until you see smoke, then reduce the heat to medium.
When ready to cook, if using a charcoal grill, toss half of the wood chips, if desired, on the coals. Place the lamb on the hot grate, away from the heat, and cover the grill. Grill until cooked to taste, 1 ½ to 2 hours for medium-rare. Every 30 minutes, baste the leg of lamb with extra virgin olive oil, using the remaining rosemary sprigs as a basting brush. To test for doneness, insert an instant-read meat thermometer into the thickest part of the leg but not touching the bone: The internal temperature will be about 125°F for rare; 145°F for medium-rare; and 160°F for medium. If using a charcoal grill, you’ll need to add 12 fresh coals and ½ cup wood chips to each side after 1 hour of grilling.
Transfer the lamb to a cutting board, let rest for 10 minutes, then carve and serve.
Note: You’ll need 2 cups wood chips (optional; preferably oak), soaked for 1 hour in cold water to cover then drained; spray bottle.
Recipe courtesy of Steven Raichlen, How to Grill(Workman Publishing Co., 2001)