Roast Leg of Lamb, Pompeii Style

Total Time:
1 hr 50 min
20 min
1 hr 30 min

4 to 6 servings

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 leg of lamb, bone-in, about 5 pounds
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons anchovy paste
  • 1 red onion, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 carrot, cut in 1-inch length pieces
  • 1 stalk celery, cut in 1-inch length pieces
  • Date Sauce, recipe follows
  • Date Sauce:
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 5 dried dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 balsamic reduction, see note below
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

  • In a heavy-bottomed roasting pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.

  • In a small bowl, combine the thyme with the anchovy paste. Season lamb with the salt and pepper, and smear lamb entirely with the thyme and anchovy paste mixture. Brown the lamb on all sides in the roasting pan. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and place lamb in oven. Roast for 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until meat is fork tender. Serve with the date sauce.

Date Sauce:
  • Using a mortar and pestle (or food processor) combine thyme, dates, and anchovy paste, and pulverize into a paste. Add the red wine, balsamic reduction, and olive oil and continue to pulverize until completely combined. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Note: To make balsamic reduction, pour 1 cup balsamic vinegar into a sauce pan and simmer over low heat. Reduce down to 1/4 cup to make a syrup, or reduction, of balsamic vinegar.

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