My neighbor, Bob Hewell, was the best kind of country neighbor. He plowed our driveway and showed me how to adjust the idle in my car's engine. He raised chickens and sheep and occasionally treated us to a roasting chicken or a cut of lamb. Bob insisted his bounty should be cooked right away. But I am of the rainy-day school and froze the meat for a special occasion. These days, I am coming around to Bob's view and prefer to use fresh, local lamb when it is available.
6-pound leg of lamb
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1-1/2 cups dry white wine
1/2 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Juice of 1 lemon
Sprinkle the lamb with salt and pepper. Mix 1 cup of the white wine with the olive oil, garlic, herbs, and lemon juice. Place the lamb in a dish and pour the marinade over. Rub it in well. Transfer the lamb and the marinade to a double plastic bag. Squeeze out all the air and seal with a twist tie. Marinate for several hours or overnight.
Bring the lamb to room temperature. Remove from the marinade and wipe dry. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Insert a meat thermometer in the lamb. Place the lamb in a roasting pan and set in the oven to brown for 15 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Add the remaining 1/2 cup wine to the marinade and baste frequently. Roast to the desired degree of doneness. Allow 16 to 18 minutes per pound to reach an internal temperature of 140 degrees (rare); 20 to 25 minutes per pound to reach 160 degrees (medium); and 30 to 35 minutes to reach 170 degrees to 180 degrees (well done).
Allow the lamb to stand for 10 minutes before carving. Slice thinly. Remove the fat from the pan juices. Correct the seasonings and serve the juices on the side.