Monday, October 8, 2007

Eating In: Rosemary crusted leg of lamb

The lamb feasting continues! Mom and dad had a 7lb bone-in leg of lamb from the whole lamb they'd bought at auction in Ellensburg. And knowing how much we love to cook (and eat) lamb, they decided to hand it over to us to cook for a big family dinner. Score.

What a beautiful piece of meat it was. I had to do a little trimming of silver skin, but not much. We left a good amount of fat on the meat (which we scored so that it'd render more easily) and did a very simple rosemary-lemon-garlic salt rub. We also threw a thick-sliced onion and some sliced fennel into the bottom of the roasting pan (to cook in the lamb juices). Yum.

It was perfect--I wouldn't change a thing.

Rosemary Crusted Leg of Lamb
1 6-7lb leg of lamb, bone-in
4 T rosemary needles
8 cloves garlic
Zest of 1 lemon
1 T kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
olive oil
1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced (optional)
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced (optional)

Prepare salt:
In a small food-processor, chop 6 cloves of garlic, all of the rosemary, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Process until rosemary is very fine and all garlic is chopped fine. Set aside.

Prepare lamb:
Score fat on lamb in a criss-cross pattern with a sharp knife, getting down to the meat level with your knife. This allows the fat to render, which marinates the meat and gives the finished roast a crispy thin crust (as opposed to a thick fatty crust).

Rub the lamb with the rosemary-lemon-garlic salt. Thinly slice the 2 remaining cloves of garlic and, using a long narrow knife, cut slits into the lamb, placing slices of garlic into the slits and pushing them in with your finger. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 to 4 hours.

Remove roast from refrigerator 1/2 hour before cooking, to come to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 425. Place oven rack towards the bottom of the oven (you want the lamb to sit in the middle of the oven, not towards the top). Scatter onions and fennel in bottom of roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt.

Remove plastic from meat and place lamb on a roasting rack. Place rack into the roasting pan (or you can place the roast directly onto the fennel and onions) and roast for 25 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and roast for another hour to 75 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 130 in the thickest part of the roast. Remove from oven and allow meat to rest, tented with foil, for 20 minutes.

While our lamb was resting we had a beet-walnut-goat cheese salad (with gorgeous beets from mom and dad's garden). We served our lamb with roasted "Ruby" fingerling potatoes with shallots, the lamb-juicy onions and fennel, creamed spinach and warm rosemary bread. Everyone had a great time; Ruby even ate some lamb. Strawberry-rhubarb pie ala mode for dessert. We were stuffed.

Ed couldn't stop talking about how much fun it is having a big family dinner on a cold, rainy Sunday evening. I couldn't agree more.

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Doug said...


Ali Scheff said...

I remember you had your first taste of lamb with me during a review dinner. Do you remember where we were? I was so proud! Lamb is goooood.