Quick Roast Lamb with Mint Sauce

Juicy tender lamb roast served with a sweet and tangy mint sauce

As some of you may know, I’m participating in the week of eating in challenge this week, which means I’m supposed to eat in for 7 straight days. Simple right? Well, if you have a job with unpredictably long hours and an evening schedule filled with freelance writing and photography gigs, it’s actually more challenging than it sounds.

I had one of those days at work today that was gobbled up by time hungry meetings. The last one was a four hour humdinger, which left me feeling drained, and delayed my arrival home by nearly two hours. This wouldn’t normally be much of an issue, except I’d planned on making a roast tonight. I’m sure you’re falling out of your seat laughing at me for planning such an ambitious meal on a weeknight, but I had a defrosted lamb roast in the fridge which bah’ed “coohook meehee” every time I opened the door.

Top Round Roast Lamb with cumin and fennel rub

The lamb was a gorgeous one and a half pound top round sent over by the nice folks at Lava Lake Lamb, a great grass-fed outfit that makes some of the best American lamb I’ve ever had. For those that aren’t familiar with a top round, it’s the the most tender cut from the hind leg, which is both flavourful and lean. It’s great for steaks and roasts and I had high hopes of doing a slow roast in a cool oven and serving it with a cauliflower gratin and a mint gelée.

Since i didn’t have time to stop at the store, the cauliflower was out, and the slow roast would have had me eating after midnight. To save time, I decided to adapt my method of making steaks and seared the whole top round in a cast iron skillet before throwing it in the oven to finish roasting. It turned out gorgeously and I’m not sure I’d do it any differently next time. Since the lamb doesn’t marinate, it’s important to be very generous with the rub so the roast gets a nice thick crust of salt.

Lamb roast rubbed with cumin and fennel in the pan

Since a gelée needs to be strained and cooled, I opted for an updated version of a classic mint sauce, that provides a nice sweet and tangy counterpoint to the salty crust. The fresh mint also plays nicely with the minerally red lamb that would make the staunchest lamb nay-sayer reconsider their stand.

I served this quick roast lamb with a smear of my cheesy potatoes. The yukon gold potatoes are boiled whole, until they’re tender. While the potatoes are cooking, I grate a generous amount of cheese (I used asiago this time) into a bowl. When the potatoes are tender, I just pass them through a ricer which not only mashes them, but peels them at the same time. After the cheese is mixed in, I add cream until the potatoes are at a consistency I like, then season them with salt as needed.

Lamb top round roasted and served with a tangy mint sauce

This whole meal took only 40 minutes to make and I was sitting down to this gorgeous plate by 8:10.

Quick Roast Lamb with Mint Sauce

1 1/2 lbs lamb top round
3 cloves of garlic grated

for rub
1 Tbs kosher salt (halve if using table salt)
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds

for mint sauce
5 sprigs of mint, stems removed and discarded
1 small shallot
1 small clove garlic
2 Tbs cider vinegar
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Remove the lamb from the refrigerator about an hour before starting to bring it up to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the salt, black pepper, fennel and cumin in a spice grinder, or use a mortar and pestle to roughly grind

Rub the outside of the lamb with the grated garlic. Then sprinkle about half the rub onto one side of the lamb in a relatively thick layer. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat until very hot. Add a splash of oil and put the lamb, seasoned side down. Sprinkle the remaining rub on the other side of the lamb. Fry until golden brown (about 5-6 minutes) then flip. Put the pan in the oven and cook until an instant read thermometer reads 135 degrees F for rare (15-20 minutes). Remove the pan form the oven and let it sit uncovered for 15 minutes. This relaxes the proteins in the meat allowing the juices to reabsorb into the fibers, which keeps the meat moist when you cut it.

Put all the ingredients for the mint sauce in a blender or food processor and puree.

Slice up the roast lamb and serve with the mint sauce.

  • http://friedwontonsforyou.com/ Fried Wontons For You

    Any suggestions on what to do with the lamb for leftovers? I really like how simple this dish comes together and that no marination is needed for the lamb.

  • http://souvlakiforthesoul.com/ Peter G

    I can never say no to lamb! I did something similar with a rack the other day (seared in a hot cast iron pan and then roasted in a hot oven-I love this method!). Love that mint sauce too Marc!

  • norecipes

    That's a great question! I actually have half the lamb left over, so I've been mulling it over myself. You could slice it up thinly and make a sandwich with some gorgonzola and caramelized onions, or you could chop it up and make a pasta. I was thinking about doing some cumin noodles with garlic scapes and lamb.

  • http://fivestarfoodie.com/ 5 Star Foodie

    Gorgeous lamb, perfectly cooked! I love the vibrant fresh mint sauce – it makes me think of spring coming soon!

  • http://cookappeal.blogspot.com/ Chef E

    Great looking dish and post…love grass feed lamb!

  • http://www.figandcherry.com/ Fig and Cherry

    You're killing me Marc! It's almost 7pm and I'm still at work… that looks perfectly cooked! Just beautiful.

  • http://recipespicbypic.blogspot.com/ Núria

    What a great dish Mark! I love lamb and mint combined and the way you cook it is so simple and flavourful! May I adopt the recipe? I'm definitevely trying this one soon 😀

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com/ Manggy

    This was quite obvious, but I have to say that you're a far better cook than I… It would have very quickly become a canned beans and toast situation for me that late at night :) So impressed with how quickly it came together, too. 8PM is not bad at all!

  • http://bunkycooks.wordpress.com/ bunkycooks

    What a beautiful dish in such a short amount of time! I am learning to like lamb after having my mom's overcooked lamb chops and sticky mint jelly as a child! I never knew what I was missing. Thanks for the recipe!

  • http://pithyandcleaver.com/ Maggie

    Gorgeous! I love that you managed this on a weeknight.

  • http://windattack.com/ The Wind Attack

    Sounds like an expensive meal for a weeknight, but wow oh wow, does that look fantastic. It's only 10am and I'm real hungry now.

  • MadebyMariko

    You are seriously talented. WTF in a really good way.

  • http://www.eleanorhoh.blogspot.com/ Eleanor Hoh (WokStar)

    Lamb is one of my favorite meats. Your roast looks outstanding, quite rare. Did I miss how long the roasting took?

  • norecipes

    It depends on how much the roast weighs, mine took about 20 minutes
    after searing on the stove for 10.

  • theduodishes

    It's crazy the things you can make at home when you take a little time…40 min to be exact.

  • carolynjung

    You are ambitious. I got a sample of that lamb round, too. And we made kebabs out of it, which we stuffed into pita with hummus, cucumbers, onions and spring mix.

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  • http://www.domesticdivasblog.com/ Jen (The Domestic Diva)

    Oh, I am soooo trying your quick mint sauce this week! Getting some beautiful grass-fed lamb from my CSA this weekend. Yum yum yum!

  • http://trissalicious.com/ Trissa

    Quick and delicious? Okay – I am definitely sold!

  • http://www.thecurrypop.blogspot.com/ uncledee

    wow. this is unpretentious and simple, im sure its delicious too. what a genius

  • papawow

    Only 40 minutes? Eat you heart out Rachael Ray. This looks amazing. I haven't had lamb in too long. thanks for the [no recipe]!

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com/ Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    Gorgeous! I haven't had roast lamb in too, too long, and I like this rather swift way of doing it. Laughed at the idea of the lamb baa-ing at you 😀

  • jerrydrussell

    Looks like a perfect solution for a time crunch to me. Adaptability is key! great recipe Marc

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  • http://www.instantreadthermometer.org/ Instant Read Thermometer

    Hmmm… I'm hungry and need to eat your roast lamb with mint sauce. Thanks for recipe.

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  • Joelle

    I just made this tonight and it was oh so good! I have fresh mint growing out on the porch and I swear I could have just ate the mint sauce! Wonderful recipies, I will be checking out the rest!

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I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

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