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Celebrate the New Year with Celebration Leg of Lamb

As it got towards the end of 2014 there were a number of great sales on different cuts of meat and roasts at the local markets here as there likely were in many places around the country. People tend to buy more roasts with thoughts of elegant meals around Christmas and New year’s so it was great to find good deals on things I do not buy too often and it gave me the chance to get some stuff together to make some great meals. One of those that I snatched up was a leg of lamb that was on sale. Lamb can be pretty pricey unless you can get a good deal on it and leg of lamb is big, so unless you are planning a lot with the leftovers you need to make sure you have a crowd that likes lamb over for dinner that day. I know everyone is not a big fan of lamb but it is a family favorite around here so we relish when we get the chance to have it and the recipe I tried out this time is a very basic one that I got from Superior Farms, a commercial supplier of lamb in the United States. it makes use of a few simple spices and some soy sauce and produces a really flavorful lamb.

Celebration Leg of Lamb

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 whole bay leaf, crushed

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried sage

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

6 to 9 pounds leg of lamb, bone-in, trimmed

In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, olive oil, crushed garlic, pepper, ground ginger, crushed bay leaf, thyme, sage and marjoram until it is all well blended. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large roasting pan, place the leg of lamb on a rack in the roasting pan. With a sharp knife, make frequent slits in the surface of the lamb. Move the knife from side to side to enlarge the pockets. Rub the herb mixture into each slit. Rub any of the remaining mixture all over the leg of lamb.

Roast the lamb in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes per pound or until the meat registers 145 degrees for medium-rare on an instant-read thermometer placed in the thickest part of the leg of lamb. For medium, roast the lamb until it reaches 160 degrees or 170 degrees for well done. Remove the roast from the oven and cover it with aluminum foil to allow it to rest for 10 minutes. The internal temperature of the lamb will continue to rise while it is resting about another 10 degrees, so you should figure this into your timing. Use the pan drippings to make a gravy if you like or simply skim the fat off the drippings and serve the sauce as an au jus.

The results of the roast are wonderful and you get the great spice flavor from the herbs mixed in with the lamb and it is just fantastic. For my money, lamb needs to medium-rare so I always try to cook it that way, though I know some people prefer not to see any pink in the meat, but lamb can get pretty tough if it is overcooked and well done, so you want to be really careful in the timing and watch it so that it is cooked just the way you like it. I always tend to make roasted potatoes with lamb and you can have all kinds of great roasted vegetables to go along with it if you like. This is definitely a good weekend, entertaining meal unless you have the time during the week to make this one. Naturally, there were leftovers from a 7 pound leg of lamb so I was able to make a couple of other meals with the lamb and I’ll be sharing those recipes with you over the next couple of days.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day (more freezing rain and snow here in our part of New York today), and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on January 12, 2015 in Cooking, Dinner, Herbs, Lamb

 

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The Lamb Lies Down with Roasted Potatoes

I have had a boneless leg of lamb in the freezer for a few weeks now and we had been waiting for just the right occasion to make it, but it was a pretty large roast so I had to wait until we were having some people over to share it with. It was over five pounds and I had bought it at a really great sale price so it was going to make a nice, elegant meal. For me, one of the best things with lamb is just some simple roasted potatoes and asparagus, which is what I decided to make that day, so I adapted this recipe from  Michael Symon for roasted leg of lamb with potatoes. I had to alter it a bit to fit my particular needs since the recipe is for a 6-pound leg of lamb with the bone in, but I really wanted it more for the marinade than anything else. I just adjusted the spices down a little bit, but here is the original recipe that I used as a basis.

Roasted Leg of Lamb with Roasted Potatoes and Tzatziki Sauce

For the Leg of Lamb:
6 shallots, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh rosemary
1/4 cup fresh oregano
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 6-pound bone-in leg of lamb

For the Roasted Potatoes:
Nonstick vegetable cooking oil spray
4 pounds unpeeled fingerling potatoes, rinsed and halved lengthwise
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
4 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
Kosher salt and black pepper

For the Tzatziki Sauce:
2 cups Greek yogurt
1 cucumber
kosher salt
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons Chopped Fresh Mint
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced shallot
Freshly ground black pepper

For the Leg of Lamb: Mix together in a medium bowl the shallots, garlic, rosemary, oregano, sugar, coriander, red pepper flakes, and salt.
Rub the mixture all over the surface of the lamb. Place the lamb in a large baking dish, cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it overnight.
  Remove the lamb from the baking dish, rinse off the seasonings, and pat dry. Let the lamb sit a room temperature for 1 hour.
  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat a roasting pan or large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the lamb and brown the lamb on all sides, about 7 to 10 minutes.Transfer the lamb, fat side up, to a roasting rack set into a roasting pan. If you have extra rosemary lay the sprigs over the lamb with a drizzle of olive oil over the top. Roast the lamb until the lamb reaches an internal temperature of about 140 degrees, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove the lamb from the pan and set it aside on a cutting board loosely tented with aluminum foil to rest for 20 minutes before slicing.
For the Potatoes: Position a rack in the top third and 1 rack in bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Spray 2 large rimmed baking sheets with nonstick spray. Toss the potatoes with 1/2 cup of the olive oil in a large bowl. Sprinkle the potatoes generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spread the potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheets, dividing the potatoes equally among the two pans. Roast  the potatoes for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, dill, and lemon peel in small bowl to blend for dressing for the potatoes. Reverse the baking sheets in the oven and toss the potatoes and continue to roast them until the potatoes are tender and brown around the edges, about 15 minutes longer.
Toss the roasted potatoes in a large bowl with enough of the remaining dressing to coat them and serve.
For the Tzatziki Sauce: Put the yogurt in a paper towel-lined or cheesecloth-lined strainer and set it over a bowl and let the yogurt drain for 24 hours in the refrigerator. Peel and dice the cucumber, sprinkle it with salt and place the cucumbers in a strainer at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours to drain.
Stir together the yogurt, cucumber, lemon juice and zest, mint, garlic, and shallot in a medium bowl until the mixture is thoroughly combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Naturally, you can roast the potatoes and the lamb together in the oven at the same time or even together in the same roasting pan to save yourself some space. When you take the lamb out to rest, you can then dress the potatoes and continue roasting them until they are roasted the way you like them. The Tzatziki sauce really goes well with the lamb and seems to blend nicely with everything. Don’t worry if your lamb is still pink inside when you roast it to 140 degrees; it really is at its best when it is medium-rare and has the best flavor. Overcooked lamb can be pretty tough and chewy, so this is one of those meals you want to keep an eye for temperature. It takes some prep work ahead of time, but the seasoning for the lamb is great and adds fantastic flavor and crust to the lamb. It is always a family favorite for us and something we don’t have too often, but ut is worth the effort to put in to make it once in a while.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!
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Posted by on June 16, 2014 in Cookbooks, Dinner, Lamb, Potatoes, Sauce, Vegetables

 

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Butterflied Leg of Lamb and Braised Potatoes

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
Kosher salt
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!

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2013 in Cooking, Dinner, Lamb, Potatoes

 

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