I remember, from my childhood, eating succulent loin lamb chops for dinner. We ate them regularly, gobbling up every bit as us kids, my three younger siblings and I, chewed them down to the bone. What a luxury it was, I see now, upon an adult reflection. Price wise, these choice ribs can cost nearly $20.00 a pound, quite outrageous! As a child, I didn’t realize my privilege. I just ate what I was served, as most children do. Those tasty years behind me left me loving lamb, but now I don’t buy loin chops; often purchasing shoulder lamb chops which are fattier, but still the lamb flavor comes through which my husband and I really enjoy them.
Recently though I purchased a four pound boneless leg of lamb which happily caught my eye at the grocery store; its red meat seemed to glimmer through the plastic cover. This roast remained in my freezer for a few weeks until I was ready to cook it. I experimented with a new recipe, tweaking it with additions and changes which would add special flavoring. Although “experts” say marinades don’t penetrate too deeply, I still tried this one. I poked the meat several times with a sharp knife to help the marinade sink more deeply into the meat. Also I was thrilled that the recipe called for garlic. I loved pulling fat bulbs out of my summer garden, breaking the cloves apart and squishing the juice and garlic particles out of them! Plus I added the green sharp needles from my recently planted rosemary herb.
Although I love to cook and bake, I like to use leftover to enjoy the food again, plus I’m given a break from cooking now and then to partake of baking or work with other crafts.
With left over meat I’ll use it in stir fries, and too, my husband will surely take a lamb sandwich to work for his lunch. A four pound roast will go far.
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 6-inch piece of fresh rosemary, plus 1 short strip. Pick needles off the first piece
1 teaspoon thyme, fresh
1/2 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 cup dry sherry or beef stock
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon Hoisin sauce
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 – 4 pound boneless leg of lamb, tied, at room temperature for one hour or more
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium sized onion, cut in quarters
3 scallions, coarsely chopped
5 medium sized gold potatoes, cut in 1 1/2 inch chunks
3 carrots, cut in 3 or 4 pieces
1 small red pepper, coarsely chopped
1 small bunch broccoli head or 1 medium bok choy, either, cut in large chunks
1 In a blender, or mix strongly by hand, the garlic, chopped rosemary, thyme leaves, orange juice, sherry or chicken stock, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, soy sauce, and Hoisin sauce and pulse all several times until combined.
2 Season lamb liberally with salt and pepper and place in a resealable plastic bag. Do not cut the string around the roast. Add the liquid from the blender and seal the bag, squeezing out all the air. Transfer to the refrigerator and marinate for 3 hours or overnight. Turning occasionally if overnight, or just a few times if the marinating time is 3 hours. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
3 Remove the lamb from the marinade and pat the meat dry with paper towels. Let it remain at room temperature for one hour.
4 In a large roasting pan add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, spreading it around. Make a nice mound of the vegetables. Top them with the lamb, rubbing the remaining olive oil over the top of the meat. Add the remaining small sprig of rosemary atop the vegetables. Cook, uncovered for fifteen minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375 and cook for about another hour, or until the meat reaches a temperature of 130 degrees for medium rare. Bast occasionally with juices from the lamb and vegetables. Stir the vegetables too to make sure they are not sticking to the pan. It is important to use a meat thermometer to get a correct reading. If desired, sprinkle additional salt and pepper over the meat and vegetables.
5 Naturally, before slicing, let the meat rest for fifteen minutes so that the juices collect and remain inside the roast. Cut the string. Serve the vegetables next to the roast. Spoon juices over the roast and vegetables.
TIPS AND TWEAKS
- use other vegetables you may prefer, keep them of uniform size so they cook roughly at the same time.
- Adjust herbs to your liking, perhaps using marjoram, oregano, and cumin, roughly a half dried teaspoon of each. For more of a spicy kick, use a half teaspoon of Garam masala. When using herbs remember that 3 tablespoons of fresh equals one teaspoon dried.