ROASTED LEG OF LAMB WITH MIDDLE EASTERN CARDAMOM, ORANGE AND YOGURT MARINADE (for six to eight)
one 5 to 7 pound leg of lamb, preferably at room temperature, shank removed if necessary
½ cup whole milk yogurt
¼ cup chopped fresh mint, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons orange zest
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat the oven to 425*. Remove as much surface fat from the lamb as is practical. Mix together the yogurt, mint, orange zest, cardamom, salt and pepper, and rub the meat all over with the yogurt mixture. If you have time, let the lamb sit for an hour or more (refrigerate if it will be much longer).
2. Put the lamb on a rack in a roasting pan (You might line the pan first with aluminum foil to make clean-up easier). Roast for 30 minutes, then check; if the lamb threatens to burn, turn the heat down to 350*, otherwise leave it at 425*.
3. After about 1 hour (total) of roasting, check the internal temperature of the lamb with an instant read thermometer. Continue to check every 10 minutes; when it reaches 130* for medium rare (125 for very rare) in its thickest part (check it in several places) it’s done. Total cooking time will be less than 1-1/2 hours. Let it rest for a few minutes before carving. Serve garnished with more chopped mint.
from Mark Bittman, The New York Times Magazine, April 17, 2011