Roasted Leg of Lamb with Picada Sauce

A bottle of New Deal Pear Brandy, a roasted leg of lamb, and a green sauce is shown on a table with holiday decorations.
There’s nothing like bringing an enormous roast to the table to really set the mood for a holiday meal. This bone-in leg of lamb is prepared quite simply with a fragrant garlic and rosemary rub, but it’s the punchy sauce that really takes it to the next level. Inspired by Spanish picada sauces, I substituted bitter chocolate vodka for the traditional bittersweet chocolate and sherry and amped up the parsley to balance the heat from the booze. And don’t forget the drinks… pair with  The Roman Holiday cocktail. Note: if you’re serving this to children, I suggest substituting lemon juice for the vodka in the picada sauce.


This recipe comes to us from our friend Carlin St. John of Get Together PDX. Specializing in recipe development and catered events, Get Together PDX provides fantastic food and thoughtful details to create special gatherings and dining experiences. Follow @gettogetherpdx and contact Carlin with inquiries at


Rub Ingredients

  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup rosemary, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 TBSP kosher salt
  • 1 TBSP freshly ground black pepper


Lamb Ingredients

  • 4-5 lb bone-in leg of lamb, excess fat removed (your butcher can do this for you)
  • 1 cup New Deal Pear Brandy
  • 2 cups dry white wine


Picada Ingredients



  1. Preheat the oven to 425℉. Allow the lamb to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes prior to roasting. Score the fatty side of lamb with a sharp knife.
  2. Make the rub: combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process into a chunky paste (you don’t want it completely smooth). Smear the rub all over the lamb (use your hands to really get in there).
  3. Transfer the lamb to a roasting pan, fatty side up, and add the brandy and wine. Roast for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 350℉ and continue to roast, basting a few times with the pan juices, until the internal temperature reaches 145℉ when tested in multiple spots on the lamb. This could take anywhere from 60-90 minutes, so check the meat every 10-15 minutes for doneness. Note: add more wine to the pan if it reduces too fast. You want to have about 1” of liquid in the bottom of the pan throughout the roasting process.
  4. Transfer the lamb to a platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil; allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes before serving.
  5. Make the picada sauce: add the almonds to a small saucepan over medium-low heat and toast until they are just golden brown, about 5-8 minutes (watch them closely so they don’t burn). Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper if desired.
  6. Slice the lamb and serve with picada sauce on the side.


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