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Roast Leg of Lamb with Fennel Butter

Makes 6 to 8 servings 

If you don't have a heavy roasting pan, you can brown and roast the lamb in a large ovenproof skillet with two-inch-high sides. The seasoned butter can be prepared one day before using. Pair this dish with Tanner Vineyard’s big reds – 2010 Barbera or 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon. 


 Seasoned butter

 •6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, room temperature 

•3 tablespoons fennel seeds, crushed in mortar & pestle or in plastic bag with mallet 

•3 large garlic cloves, minced 

•2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 

•1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce 

•1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper 

•1 1/2 teaspoons dried crushed rosemary 


•2 tablespoons olive oil 

•1 6- to 6 1/2-pound bone-in leg of lamb, well trimmed 

•2 cups dry red wine 

•1 1/3 cups low-salt chicken broth 

•Fresh rosemary sprigs (optional) 


For seasoned butter: Mix all ingredients with fork in medium bowl. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using. (If you do not like the texture of dried herbs, grind them in a spice/coffee mill first or purchase the ground herb instead.) 

For lamb: Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 450°F. Pour 2 tablespoons oil into large roasting pan. Place pan directly atop 2 burners over medium-high heat. Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper. Add lamb to pan and brown on all sides, about 8 minutes total. Remove pan from heat. Brush lamb with half of seasoned butter. Roast lamb 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F; continue roasting until thermometer inserted into thickest part of meat registers 130°F for medium-rare, about 40 minutes longer. Transfer to platter; tent with foil. Let stand 20 minutes. Skim off fat from drippings in roasting pan. Place pan atop 2 burners over high heat. Add wine and broth. Boil until mixture is reduced to 2 cups, about 13 minutes. Whisk in remaining seasoned butter (sauce will be thin). Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. 

 Garnish lamb with rosemary sprigs, if desired. Serve with sauce.