Easter Preview: Stuffed Leg of Lamb
So The Wife and I are handling Easter Supper for the family (her parents, brother, sister, cousin, etc...) this Weekend. She's doing all of the sides and desserts and I'm doing the main course. Still trying to figure out what exactly I'm wanting to do, I did a trial run last night with a butterflied New Zealand lamb leg roast from Whole Foods.
I began looking for recipes, and decided on this one from Ina Garten. Then we got to Whole Foods and realized a whole lamb roast would be too much for just the two of us, so we went with the butterflied leg - a little over a pound. This is where the recipe and I diverge. I used her coating on the outside, but that's it. I stuffed it with a mushroom, rosemary and garlic mixture.
The lamb turned out tender and only needed about 30-40 minutes to cook in the oven. The Wife thought it was too garlicky, and said she couldn't get the lamb because the garlic was too strong. I'll be the first to admit I have a tendency to go very heavy on the garlic. Other than scaling back the garlic, I was happy with how the lamb was cooked. And a word of advice - fresh herbs make all the difference.
Her brother is somewhat of a picky eater, so I'm not sure I'll make this for Easter, but I really like the rolling/stuffing concept. It lends itself to seasonal versatility - pumpkin and sage in the fall, cranberries in the winter - go crazy!
1 1/2 Lb. Butterflied Lamb Roast
For the Rub:
6 Cloves of Garlic
1 Tablespoon of Fresh Rosemary
1 Tablespoons of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Pepper
2-3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
Add all of the above ingredients to a food processor, blender or mortar and pestle and combine to make a paste. Set aside for flavors to come together while you make the stuffing for the lamb.
For the Stuffing:
6 Cloves of Garlic (perhaps this is why The Wife thought it was too garlicky)
1 Tablespoon of Rosemary
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Slice of Prosciutto
Combine the above ingredients in a food processor/blender until a coarse paste if formed. Set aside and prepare the lamb.
Roll out lamb roast and using a tenderizing mallet, pound meat out to about a 1 inch thickness - using the tenderizing side will help the meat absorb the flavors of the butter/herb/garlic/whatever-you-stuff-it-with. This also helps you get a uniform thickness - thus more even cooking.
Lay out lamb, tenderized side up and spread mushroom stuffing mixture over the entire side.
Starting on the short end, roll the lamb up like a jelly roll and truss the roll with butcher's twine. Truss is a fancy term for "to tie up so it doesn't unroll." Tying the roll also helps to make a uniform size and get you more even cooking.
Rub the rub on the roast and wrap in plastic and stick in the fridge for a couple of hours to overnight. Longer is better.
When you're ready to cook, let the roast sit out on your counter for 1 hour - this allows it to come to room temperature and you'll have a more tender piece of meat.
I roasted this directly on a bed of cubed potatoes, but you could use any vegetable - asparagus, carrots, anything that you would normally roast.
Preheat the oven to 450. This sounds high - but you'll be OK. Set you oven rack on the bottom 1/3 of the oven, so lamb will set in the middle of the oven when on the rack.
Place the lamb in the oven when pre-heated and cook for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and continue cooking until lamb reaches an internal temperature of 110-115 for rare - about 30 more minutes, but go by the temperature on your thermometer.
When lamb is done, remove from oven and cover in tin foil and let rest for at least 10 minutes.
You might need to put the potatoes back in the oven to finish depending on how quickly your lamb takes.
Slice about 1 inch thick and serve with you roasted vegetable of choice. Enjoy!