Monday, November 15, 2010

Roasted Leg of Lamb

By the way, Food Network's website is a great place to get accurate and delicious recipes.

In one drunken midnight sometime ago, I saw Pitchin' In with Lynn Crawford and that episode where she visited a sheep rancher in Ontario.  She made Hay Roasted Leg of Lamb with Ratatuille and Parmeasan Zuchinni Frites for the rancher's family and a festive-loving greek guy.  The hay was used as 'bedding' for the lamb in the roasting pan.  Since lambs ate hay for their entire life, the beautiful smoky and earth aroma of the hay was eagerly absorbed by the meat. Ingenious!

Where do you get hay? According to Peter, you can ask farmers in south of Richmond for free.  According to Tom, manager at Caper's Wholefood on 4th Ave, you can order clean, organic hay through their produce department.  Unfortunately, I did not have time to order them or find them last minute, so I decided to use the vegetable scrapings (garlic stem, onion skins, carrot peels, and etc) for the "bed" for the lamb.

Garlic Spinach Swirl inside the lamb
My awesome butcher at Market Meat deboned the leg of lamb for me and even chopped the bone into small pieces for my sauce. I follow the recipe to the 'T" and it tasted amazing.  I am so happy to have discovered this recipe.  It's dairy, egg, and sugar free. However, I used my own ratatouille recipe instead of hers and I skipped the deep fried parmeasan zuchinni frites.  People also commented that the sauce added moisture to the lamb, but it did not really add to the flavor. It's also needed tons of butter which I did not appreciate. I can safely say that you can skip on the sauce all together.

Recipe from Food Network
Serves 6

3 handfuls hay, soaked in water
2 cups white wine
1 leg of lamb, deboned and butterflied, reserve the bones for sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons anchovies, finely chopped
1 lemon, zest and juiced
2 tablespoons capers, chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon thyme, chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 shallots, finely diced
8 cups baby spinach
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Butcher twine

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, anchovies, lemon, capers, mustard and herbs together to form a loose paste. 
  3. In a large sauté pan over medium high heat add the butter and shallots. Cook until shallots are soft then add the spinach in batches and sauté until wilted and season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and cool on a plate.
  4. Season the lamb on both sides with salt and pepper and rub both sides with the marinade. 
  5. Lay the lamb leg out and place the spinach on the inside surface in an even layer. Roll the lamb into a cylinder. Take about six 12” pieces of butcher’s twine and tie the leg together making sure you pull twine taut.
  6. Heat olive oil in a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Add lamb to skillet; cook until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. 
  7. Take a large deep roasting tray, and line the base with hay about 2 inches thick. Moisten hay with wine. Lay the leg onto the hay, and cover with the rest of the hay. Place a lid on top of the roasting tray or cover well twice with foil. It must be completely sealed. 
  8. Bake for about 15 minutes and then lower heat to 350F. Continue to roast lamb until thermometer inserted into thickest part registers to 135-140F about 55 minutes, depending on the size of the leg.
  9. Transfer lamb to platter and let rest for 20 minutes.

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