1 5- or 6-pound boneless leg of lamb
1 bunch of rosemary, stems removed
20 to 25 cloves garlic, peeled
¼ cup olive oil
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1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1. Remove lamb from package, keeping the netting on. With a small, sharp paring knife, cut slits into the lamb, being careful not to cut the netting. Tuck garlic cloves into slits all around the lamb.
2. Make a deep slit through the fat layer on top of the roast and insert a piece of garlic and cluster of rosemary leaves. Repeat every 2 inches throughout the fat layer, using 15 garlic pieces in all and about a third of the rosemary.
3. In a food processor, combine the remaining rosemary and 10 cloves of garlic with olive oil, pepper and salt, processing until the garlic is finely minced. Rub mixture on the surface of the roast. Place in large roasting pan, cover and refrigerate overnight. (Or, let stand at room temperature 30 minutes to an hour.)
4. Bring lamb to room temperature. Place oven rack in lower third of oven so lamb will sit in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
5. Roast lamb uncovered for 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and continue roasting uncovered until a meat thermometer reaches 150 to 155 degrees (for medium), about an hour and 15 minutes.
6. Transfer lamb to a cutting board (it will continue to cook, increasing the temperature by about another 5 degrees) and let it rest for about 20 minutes before carving.
Note: If sauce is desired, while lamb is resting, pour juices from roasting pan into a skillet. Add a cup of chicken broth, ¼ cup dry vermouth (optional) and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pan. Cook until liquid has reduced and slightly thickened, about five minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with the lamb. For a “skinnier” au jus version, let the pan juices cool until fat solidifies, then skim fat off top before reheating, adding broth and vermouth, and serving.
Note: Make additional use of the oven by roasting potatoes or a medley of root vegetables — radishes, carrots, asparagus, onions or shallots, leeks, fennel bulbs — at the same time as the lamb.
—The (Spokane) Spokesman-Review