So last night for dinner I made something I typically do not make during the week. We had got a leg of lamb before Easter when the prices were quite reasonable and I decided to make it last night for dinner. I wanted to try something a little different with it as I have made it a couple of different ways before and we felt like trying something new. I found this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated and it sounded like something that was pretty easy to do and like it would be worth giving a try. The only part of it I was a little reluctant with was actually butterflying the leg of lamb, which I had never really done before. I think it turned out pretty well though all things considered.
Roast Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Coriander, Cumin, and Mustard Seeds
1 (6 to 8 pound) butterflied leg of lamb
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 shallots, sliced thin
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1(1 inch) piece ginger, sliced into half-inch thick rounds and smashed
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
3 bay leaves
2 (2 inch) strips lemon zest
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the lamb, place the lamb on a cutting board with the fat Facing down. Using a sharp knife, trim any pockets of fat and connective tissue from the underside of the lamb. Flip the lamb over, and trim the fat cap so it is between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. Pound the roast to an even 1 inch thickness. Cut slits, spaced a half-inch apart, in the fat In a crosshatch pattern, being careful to cut down but not into the meat. Rub 2 tablespoons of salt over the entire roast and into the slits. Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature for one hour.
Meanwhile, adjust the oven racks 4 to 5 inches from the broiler element and to the lower middle position and heat the oven to 250°. Stir together the oil, shallots, garlic, ginger, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, bay leaves, and lemon zest on a rimmed baking sheet and bake on the lower middle rack until the spices are softened and fragrant and the shallots and garlic turn golden, about one hour. Remove the sheet from the oven and discard the bay leaves.
Thoroughly pat the lamb dry with paper towels and transfer, fat side up, to the sheet directly on top of the spices. Roast on the lower middle rack until the lamb registers 120°, approximately 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the sheet from the oven and heat the broiler. Broil the lamb on the upper rack until the surface is well browned and charred in spots and the lamb registers 125°, approximately 3 to 8 minutes for medium rare. Remove the sheet from the oven and, using two pairs of tongs, transfer the lamb to a carving board. Some spices will cling to the bottom of the roast. Tent loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for twenty minutes.
Meanwhile, carefully pour pan juices through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard the solids. Stir in the mint, cilantro, shallot and lemon juice. Add any other accumulated lamb juices to the sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.
With the long side facing you, sliced lamb with the grain into three equal pieces. Turn each piece and slice across the grain into 1/4 inch thick slices. Serve with the sauce.
Admittedly, I looked at a couple of videos online to see what the best way would be to butterflied leg of lamb. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be and the bones actually remove quite easily. You can then trim up the roast by eliminating any excess fat that you find. If you like to meet more well done, you could roast the lamb at a higher temperature does start with and then simply broil for the last couple of minutes to get the nice crust on the outside. I thought that the lamb itself came out quite nicely and you get a very good flavor from all the spices that have bloomed in the oven before you added the lamb.
To go along with the lamb, I wanted to make some potatoes but I didn’t want to just serve the basic roast potatoes were boiled potatoes. Luckily, my new issue of Cook’s Illustrated happened to arrive yesterday morning, and they even had a new recipe in there for braised potatoes.
Braised Red Potatoes with Lemon and Chives
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, unpeeled, halved
2 cups water
3 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves, peeled
3 sprigs fresh thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
Arrange the potatoes in a single layer, cut side down, in a large nonstick skillet. Add the water, butter, garlic, thyme and salt and bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are just tender, about fifteen minutes.
Remove the lid and use a slotted spoon to transfer the garlic to a cutting board; discard the thyme sprigs. Increase the heat to medium-high and vigorously simmer, swirling the pan occasionally, until the water evaporates and the butter starts to sizzle, about 15 to 20 minutes. When it is cool enough to handle, mince the garlic to a paste. Transferred the paste to a bowl and stir in the lemon juice and the pepper.
Continue to cook the potatoes, swirling the pan frequently, until the butter browns and the cut sides of the potatoes turn spotty brown, about 4 to 6 minutes longer. Off they heat add the garlic mixture and that chives and tossed to thoroughly coat.
I thought the potatoes turned out great. You do have to keep a close eye on them once the water evaporates to make sure that they do not burn or stick to the pan. Using a nonstick pan for this is really a pretty good idea. They also have a variation where you can substitute 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard for the lemon juice and used tarragon instead of chives if you want a little bit of a different flavor. I think in banks a pretty good side – and a nice variation for potatoes, giving you that roasted feel without having to roast them.
That’s all I have for today as far as recipe ideas. Tonight I think we are having Sloppy Joe’s for dinner tonight. I have posted a recipe for this before if they want to check it out and see what it’s like. I did add something new to it this time with a new recipe for coleslaw that I tried. I may post that recipe tomorrow along with one Michelle used for brownies that she made this weekend which everyone seemed to love. Check back tomorrow and see what we have. Until then, enjoy this beautiful spring day and enjoy your meal!