Spring is full of celebrations and rich traditions that bring the family around the table for special meals. A savory leg of lamb or a dish with succulent lamb loin chops is a delicious way to enjoy a flavorful meal, no matter the occasion.

American lamb pairs beautifully with a variety of wines. Wineries such as Kendall-Jackson have a wide selection of wines that bring out lamb’s mild, meaty flavor and make it even more irresistible.

Tips for Roasting Lamb
* A bone-in leg of lamb cooks faster than a boneless leg of lamb. Use a good meat thermometer to determine doneness: Rare135 degrees F, Medium Rare145 degrees F, Medium160 degrees F

* You can sear the lamb roast first in a hot 450 degrees F oven for 15 minutes to seal in the juices and then reduce oven temp to 325 degrees F and continue roasting for approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until internal temperature reaches 5 to 10 degrees less than your desired temperature.

* Remove roast from oven and let rest for 20 minutes before serving. This allows the meat’s juices to settle and make carving easier. (As the meat rests, the internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees.)

* Carve the roast against the grain so the meat will be tender. A naturally tender cut like leg should be sliced about one half inch thick.

To order a free “Spring Celebrations American Lamb” cook booklet, visit www.americanlamb.com.

Choosing the Right Wine
* COMPLEMENT. Similarly flavored foods and wines complement each other.

Example: Citrus-based sauce and a lemony, lightly oaked Chardonnay (such as Kendall-Jackson Avant Chardonnay or Chablis from the Burgundy region of France).

Example: Mushrooms with the earthy flavors of Pinot Noir.

* CONTRAST. Contrasting flavors balance each other.

Example: Spicy foods and sweet wines, such as Thai food and an off-dry Riesling.

Example: Salty foods and crisp, high-acid wines such as Sauvignon Blanc or Champagne.

* MATCH the TENOR. Match a food’s weight and intensity to similar elements in wine.

Example: Delicately flavored foods call for delicate varieties of wine, such as Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc.

Example: Weighty textures and intense flavors are a better match for more powerful wines, such as matching herb-crusted roast lamb with a robust Syrah or Merlot.

To learn more about food and wine pairings, visit www.kj.com.

Roasted Leg of American Lamb
Serves 8

Serve with Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Merlot.

1–boneless leg of lamb, approximately 6 pounds

For the marinade:
4–garlic cloves, smashed
2–lemons, zested
1/2–tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1–tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2–tablespoons dried oregano
1–tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1–bunch parsley, chopped
1–cup olive oil
1/4–cup kosher salt

In small bowl, combine all ingredients. Rub mixture on leg of lamb. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate overnight.

Bring lamb to room temperature and sprinkle with salt. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into center of leg reads 125 degrees F to 130 degrees F. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 20 minutes.