Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Garlic and Herb Roast Lamb

This was our first Christmas without Yaya, and everyone was having difficult time adjusting. I too missed her very much, and I decided that making her signature lamb would be the best way to remember her.

Yaya's lamb is stuff with garlic and herbs...in a rather unconventional way. Small incisions are made around the leg of lamb and each 'tunnel' or hole is stuffed with a sliver of garlic and copious amount of herbs. The end result looks like a dynamite. Then, the leg of lamb is slowly cooked all day until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender.

I have been trying to perfect the lamb for last 5 years. I have learned that cooking it longer (overnight) does not make the meat more tender. Nor is browning the surface of the lamb before roasting it. The trick is to simply roast it, bone-in and covered, for an afternoon and no longer. You should be able to simply lift the bone right off the meat without cutting or carving.

As I was preparing the lamb, I could picture Yaya going through the same motion and hear explaining the different herbs she was using.

Ingredients:

1 leg of lamb
2 bulb of garlic
2 tbs dried oregano
2 tbs dried basil
1 tbs parsley
2 tbs ground black pepper
1.5 tbs fluer de sel
2 tsp cayenne pepper

Instruction:
Preheat oven 350F
1. Mix all spices and herbs together
2. Cut the garlics into slivers
3. Insert a small pairing knife straight into the meat towards the bone. Twist the knife to widen the hole.
4. With a small spoon, scoop the herb mix into the hole. Use your finger to push the herb to the bottom. Repeat this a few times until there is about a teaspoon of herb inside. (It's not very scientific, so just fill it however you wish).
5. Then, Insert a sliver of garlic into the hole. If there is more room, fill it with more herbs and garlic.
6. Continue to make more incisions around the lamb about 1 inch to 1.5 inches apart and fill each with herbs and garlic. Make these holes towards the bone, like spokes on a wheel.
7. Rub the entire leg in olive oil, black pepper, and salt.
8. Place in a deep pan and cover tightly.
9. Roast for 5-6 hours.

Usually, Yaya would make orzo with the lamb, to soak up the lamb's natural juice and flavours.  Btw, I am making a video of the prepping process. Stay tuned!

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