Saturday, April 7, 2012

it is easter and passover this weekend, need a recipe for roasted boneless leg of lamb?

happy spring!
i spent all day wednesday preparing and serving a seder meal celebration for the local catholic church.  got that?  every time i said that sentence this week i received puzzled looks and loads of questions.  so...long story short.  this church holds a seder each year on the wednesday before easter as a way to honor their history.  i was asked a few years ago to "help".  somehow that became "diane is in charge of this event".  i actually have a really good time, have a ton of people who help, and find the subject matter really interesting.

i blogged about this last year...told you about the menu and posted a recipe for a passover friendly dessert, "caramel chocolate matzo crunch" which has become a new tradition.  i made it again this year...received rave reviews...and was told by many people that this has become one of their all time favorites. (you really should give it a try...easy, quick, delicious...what could be better?)  recipe here

caramel chocolate matzo crunch
i also received many, many compliments for the roasted lamb.  so many people confided that they were hesitant to try to make it on their own...a number said their lamb always turned out tough and dry...many asked for the recipe.  i figured if they had questions, others might also. goes!  a very easy, breezy, effortless way to prepare. i roast the lamb for a bit at high heat and then reduce the temperature to finish cooking.  the juices are used to prepare a wonderful gravy flavored with broth and balsamic vinegar.  served with garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed mixed vegetables, this makes a perfect easter or passover meal.

i cooked the seder dinner for 70 people.  i had every intention of photographing all the lamb roasts...wouldn't that have been a gorgeous photo...all piled up on a beautiful platter?   of course, i forgot to take the picture in the midst of the controlled chaos that occurs when a non-pro like me needs to get that many people served plated dinners at one time.  by the time i remembered, all that was left was a couple of shank bones (used for the seder ceremony) and the carved meat!!  sorry :)

what are you making/eating for the holiday?  please let us know in the comments section of this post.

shank bones, part of the symbolism of the seder plate

35 lbs of roasted lamb...steam trays are never pretty!

roast lamb with garlic and rosemary
1 boneless leg of lamb 4-5 lbs (ask your butcher to hand tie with string)
1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
extra virgin olive oil
8 rosemary branches, 8-10 inches each
sea salt
lamb gravy (recipe follows)

preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  drizzle olive oil over bottom of roasting pan, three passes of the bottle.  place 4 rosemary branches in the bottom of the roasting pan.

using a small sharp knife, cut small slits all over lamb and stuff with garlic cloves. (about 20 per leg). pour 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil over lamb and rub to coat. weave remaining 4 rosemary branches through the lamb's string netting.  generously coat lamb with salt and pepper. place on top of the rosemary in prepared pan. 

place in preheated oven and roast  for 15 minutes.  reduce heat to 350 degrees F, baste with pan juices and continue roasting until cooked to your preference, basting a couple more times during the cooking process.  i think lamb is best at medium or 145 degrees F internal temperature which takes about 30 minutes per lb. at medium the center is light pink and the outer portion is brown. medium well is 155 degrees F and there is no pink. **note, these are the temperatures you want when you take out of the oven.  the roast should rest for 10-15 minutes before you carve and will continue to cook during this time***

carve the meat and serve with the lamb gravy.  i like to carve the meat and put on a big platter with a few ladles of the gravy spooned on top.  additional gravy is served alongside.

seder meal lamb gravy
(i use potato starch instead of flour to thicken the gravy to keep it appropriate for passover.  if this is not a concern for you, feel free to use flour)

pan drippings
3 tbsp potato starch
1 cup water
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
sea salt
black pepper

skim all but one tablespoon fat from pan. strain out any pieces of rosemary.  place pan over high heat.   combine the stock, wine, balsamic vinegar and lamb juices in pan and cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes or until bubbling.  in a small bowl, combine the potato starch and water and whisk until smooth.  add to the gravy and cook, stirring frequently,  for 7-8 minutes or until thickened. season to taste with salt and pepper.

happy easter and/or passover everyone!


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1 comment:

Theresa Hayden said...

I am making lamb tonight for Easter dinner. Your recipe came just in time as I have never attempted this before. I will write again to let you know how it turns out.
Thank You,