Saturday, May 31, 2014

Boneless Spring Lamb Roast

A while back, we hosted a dinner with a theme that featured recipes from Maryland.  The theme was America in Miniature, which featured recipes that highlight the produce and products of that wonderful state.  I have already posted two of the recipes from that dinner, an appetizer of Shrimp Pâté with Crostini and a Cream of Asparagus Soup.  Now, we have reached the main course ... Boneless Spring Lamb Roast.
The raising of lamb and sheep is an important part of the agricultural sector in Maryland.  There are farms throughout the state -- such as Jehovah Jireh FarmEvermore Farm and Castle Hill Harm -- where farmers raise lamb and sheep in environmentally conscious and humane ways.  There are organizations and associations, such as the Frederick County Sheep Breeders Association, which are devoted to promoting and improving the raising of these animals within Maryland.   Even the University of Maryland has a role, with a program specifically designed to various aspects of raising sheep and goats. 

Most importantly, there are people like myself in Maryland who love to eat lamb.  When I planned our wine dinner, this recipe stood out as a perfect main course.  The recipe is relatively easy to make, with three basic steps: (1) marinating the meat, (2) prepping the meat for roasting; and (3) roasting the meat.  Although you have to watch the temperature of the meat, so as to not overcook it, this recipe allows you to turn to the preparation of other dishes while the roast is cooking in the oven. 

The one slight change I made to the recipe is that, after straining the drippings, I returned them to a small pot and added a little beef stock to the drippings.  I brought it to a boil and reduced it slightly.  This allowed for more "drippings" to ensure that every plate has some of the jus to go with the lamb.

Recipe from Dishing up Maryland, page 68
Serves 6

1 lemon
3/4 cup olive oil
10 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 boneless leg of lamb (3 to 3 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1.  Marinate the lamb.  Zest and juice the lemon.  Combine the lemon zest and juice with the olive oil, 3 of the garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon of he oregano, 1 teaspoon of the rosemary, the paprika and salt in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Place the leg of lamb in a large ziplock bag and add the marinade.  Put the ziplock bag into a larger plastic bag or large container to ensure there is no leakage and place it in the refrigerator to marinate over night or for at least four hours.

2.  Prepare the lamb.  Remove the lamb from the refrigerator and allow the contents to come to room temperature.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.  Combine the remaining 1 teaspoon  oregano and 1 teaspoon rosemary with the sea salt and pepper.  Rub this mixture all over the lamb.  Cut small incisions into the lamb and insert the remaining 7 garlic cloves into the incisions.  Insert a meat thermometer into the roast.

3. Roast the lamb.  Place the lamb on a rack in a roasting pan, fattiest side up.  Roast for 15 minutes.  Reduce the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and roast for an additional 10 to 15 minutes per pound, 30 to 45 minutes, until the meat thermometer reads 140 degrees for medium rare to 150 degrees for medium.  Remove the lamb from the oven, cover it with foil or a lid and allow it to rest for 20 minutes.  Cut the strings from the lamb and transfer it to a serving platter.  Cut the lamb into thick slices.  Strain the pan drippings and pour them over the lamb.


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