The ABC's of Cooking with Lynn Fredericks
author of Cooking Time Is Family Time

   H  is for Herbs
Roast Leg of Lamb Provencal

Adapted from Lynne Fredericks' Cooking Time is Family Time.

Roasts are an excellent choice for parties and celebrations. The roast can be cooking while you and the kids prepare side dishes. Leg of lamb is a very flavorful choice. For this dish you will need a reliable butcher and to ask for the leg to be boned. Also request that they place 6-8 cloves of garlic, each halved, inside the meat before they tie it up. Garlic and lamb go very well together and the garlic flavors will penetrate the flesh deeply when embedded in the meat. Bring your children to the butcher so the butcher can instruct them about the cuts and degrees of tenderness. Serve the roast with ratatouille, parsley potatoes, or any simple vegetable your family enjoys. Another delectable accompaniment is Polenta with Portobellos (see recipe).


Yield: 6-12 servings

  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil plus 1 Tablespoon
  • One 6-8 pound leg of lamb (trimmed, butterflied and tied by butcher, with 6-8 cloves of garlic inserted before tying)
Preheat oven to 400°F.

Have little ones pick the leaves off the rosemary and thyme and place on a cutting board. Discard the stems.Now have older children chop the herbs finely. Place the chopped herbs and the 1/4 cup olive oil in a small bowl and stir to combine.

Now let everyone help rub the herb/oil mixture over the entire surface of the leg of lamb, pressing the herbs into the flesh.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining olive oil on high. Now parents should add the leg of lamb and sear the entire surface area of the meat to seal in the juices. This is awkward and too difficult for children. The sides and ends must be seared and to do this, you must hold the meat up with tongs or your hand and a long meat fork to allow each area to be browned in the skillet. This will require a significant amount of strength that only teenagers or parents can accomplish safely.

When the meat is completely seared, place it in a roasting pan and roast until cooked, about 1 hour for very rare meat and an additional 20 minutes, approximately for medium rare. Remove from the oven after one hour to check this, by inserting a knife on one end. If the end is very pink, the inside is still quite rare. Roasts should be removed slightly rarer than you want to eat it, as they should set for 10-15 minutes before carving so all the juices are not released. The meat will continue to cook while it is resting, so it is important not to remove from the oven too over-cooked.

To serve, carve the roast thinly and serve immediately while it is still very warm.

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