stuffed butterflied leg of lamb

I got some big news last week. I finally got something I’ve wanted for a long time, and life is going to change drastically. I’m a little worried about when I’ll find the time to do the things I like to do – the baking, blogging, and exercising due to the baking – but I’m sure it will be worth it.

I’m not pregnant.

I do, however, have a job; a real one, with 40 hours of work per week and benefits and a retirement plan and everything. See, I’ve kept this on the down-low because I was embarrassed by it, but since I finished graduate school several years ago, I’ve been unemployed or partially employed. But those days are over now.

This was cause for celebration around here, which means that Dave and I have been drinking generous amounts of our favorite champagne. It also means we had an excuse for a fancy dinner. I got to decide whether that meal would be eaten in or out, and it wasn’t a hard decision for me – we don’t exactly live in area known for its restaurants, and spending Saturday night at home, drinking wine, watching the NBA playoffs, and grilling with Dave is pretty much my perfect evening.

What to make? Lamb, of course. I was deciding between two recipes, and Dave told me to pick the easier one. Yes, the easier option included trimming, butterflying, pounding, rolling, and tying the roast. And then I got to hand it off to Dave to cook…while I worked on the sauce. And the sides.

But in the end, what a great meal. Served with great wine, shared with a great husband, celebrating great news.

Two years ago: Hash Browns with Sauteed Vegetables and Poached Eggs

Printer Friendly Recipe
Stuffed Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Caramelized Lemon Jus
(adapted slightly from Bon Apetit via epicurious; suggested by Cara)

Serves 4-6

You can probably tell from the photos that my lamb isn’t cooked to rare. Oops. Next time.

4-to 4½-pound boneless leg of lamb, shank end removed
salt and pepper
4 large garlic cloves; 3 chopped, 1 sliced
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
20 fresh sage leaves (about), divided
4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta (Italian bacon)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Trim the silver skin and as much fat as possible from the lamb. Butterfly the lamb by making one ¾-to 1-inch-deep full-length cut in each thick portion of the lamb (do not cut through to work surface). Cover the lamb with a sheet of plastic wrap. Using a rolling pin or meat pounder, pound to an even 1- to 1½-inch thickness (lamb will be about 8×19 inches).

2. Remove the plastic wrap and season lamb evenly with salt and pepper, chopped garlic, and lemon zest. Top with 15 sage leaves, spaced evenly apart, then cover with the pancetta. Starting at a long side, fold the lamb in half. Tie the lamb tightly at 2-inch intervals into a long roll. Then, using a small knife, make slits in the lamb and insert a slice of garlic and a piece of sage leaf into each slit. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. (Lamb can be prepared 1 day ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate.)

3. Whisk the lemon juice and oil in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Brush the lemon juice mixture all over the lamb and let stand at room temperature 1 hour.

4. Prepare a medium-hot grill. Place the prepared lamb on the grill and sear on all sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Continue to grill, brushing with the lemon juice mixture and rotating the lamb about every 5 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 130°F for rare.

5. Transfer the lamb to a cutting board, cover it loosely with foil, and let it rest for 10 minutes. Slice the lamb into ½-inch thick slices. Serve immediately with Caramelized Lemon Jus.

Caramelized Lemon Jus

1 large lemon, cut into ½-inch-thick slices
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 large shallots, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
10 large fresh sage leaves
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons sugar
¾ cup dry white wine
¼ cup vodka
2 cups beef broth

1. Prepare a medium-hot grill. Grill the lemon slices until charred, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to plate; chop coarsely.

2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the sage leaves, garlic, and grilled lemon pieces with any juices, then the sugar. Cook until the shallots start to color, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and vodka. Using a long wooden skewer, ignite the liquors and let them burn off, about 4 minutes. Add the beef broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium; simmer until jus is reduced to 3 cups, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm before serving.)


  1. CONGRATULATIONS, BRIDGET!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know you’re so happy. You’re lucky, too!! I hope you enjoy working at your job.

  2. Congratulations! How lucky for your new coworkers. And how sad for their diets. =D

  3. Way to go Bridget

  4. Oh my god, YAY! How awesome for you! And totally a good reason to make lamb, even if I would probably make up any kind of lame excuse to have lamb 🙂 We used to raise sheep, and that was the best part – home-raised lamb = lamb chops, leg of lamb, lamb burgers, etc. And then they sold off the sheep and got goats. Yeah. Anyways, CONGRATS!

  5. Congratulations on the job!!

  6. Congrats on the new job! And, the lamb looks delish! :o)

  7. Congratulations on the new job! This looks like the perfect way to celebrate!

  8. Congratulations!!!!! That is great news 🙂 And certainly, the unemployed/partially employed thing was nothing to be embarassed about! Most of us have been there 🙂

  9. Congratulations Bridget! What wonderful news – looks like you had a terrific meal to celebrate 🙂

  10. Congrats girl! How exciting for you! Good luck with everything, and I’m sure you’ll still have time to showcase some of your amazing cooking and baking. Don’t be afraid to scale back a little, though… we’ll all still be here ready for more! Good luck!

    (oh, and the lamb looks fantastic!)

  11. Congrats! This looks like the perfect meal to celebrate 🙂

  12. Hope it all goes well Bridget!!

  13. Looks absolutely delicious. A perfect dinner for a well-deserved congratulations!! 🙂 🙂

  14. Congratulations, Bridget! I hope this new job is even better than you imagine it to be!

  15. Congratulations!!

  16. Congrats! That is exciting news indeed 🙂 And so glad you celebrated with this lamb dish. I’d love to know what it in comparison makes it easy!

  17. bridget says:

    Cara – I was going to adapt these Herbed Lamb Chops with Pinot Noir Sauce for the grill and for leg of lamb. (I had half of a boneless leg of lamb in the freezer.)

  18. Congrats!
    Its my first time commenting on here but I love your blog, hopefully you still find time to post your great recipes not to mention pictures!