Thursday, April 19, 2012

Luscious Leg of Lamb

To me, Easter means lamb.  I know lamb is not for everyone; but I do love its luscious, succulent, tender meat and although I don't eat it very often, Easter is one of those holidays when I'll pull out all the stops and cook a leg of lamb...usually a very different preparation from year to year.

This year I decided to smoke it.

I don't have many photographs for this dish, actually just a before and an after, but I'll try to make the recipe clear and concise.  But you do need a smoker for this one.

Luscious Leg of Lamb
(A spinach and goat cheese stuffing might taste good even in a tennis ball, but the combo is always a sure bet inside a tender leg of lamb :)
Adapted from Smoke & Spice
Luscious Paste
10 garlic cloves roasted (I roasted one whole head of garlic)
2 teaspoons coarse salt, either kosher or sea salt (I used kosher)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
5-pound to 5 1/2 pound boned, butterflied leg of lamb

Filling
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts, chopped
1 1/2 pounds spinach, cooked, drained well and chopped
8 ounces mild goat cheese
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup dried currants or raisins
1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)

Steps:
The night before you plan to barbecue, mix the roasted garlic and salt together.  Add the olive oil in a thin stream until a thick paste forms.  Rub the paste very lightly over the lamb.  Place the lamb in a plastic bag or cover it in plastic wrap (which is what I did), place it on a cookie sheet and refrigerate overnight.

Prepare the smoker for barbecuing, bringing the temperature to 200F to 220F.

Remove the meat from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

To make the filling, warm the olive oil over medium heat in a small skillet.  Add the onions and garlic and sauté until softened.  Add the pine nuts and continue to cook for another minute or two.  Spoon the mixture into a bowl.  Add the spinach, cheese, parsley, currants and the anchovy paste if using (I did) and blend well.  Spread the filling evenly over the lamb.  Roll up the meat snugly from one of the long sides, totally enclosing the filling.  Tie as needed with kitchen twine to secure.  Warm a heavy skillet over high heat, add a little extra virgin olive oil and sear the lamb quickly on all sides.


Transfer the lamb to the smoker.  Cook for 35-40 minutes per pound, until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 145F, rare to medium rare.  For the 4.8lb lamb that I cooked, I cooked it for 2 hours, 45 minutes and it was perfect!

Remove the lamb from the smoker and let it sit for 10 minutes.


Slice the lamb and serve it warm.

I served it with a spinach salad, roasted asparagus and a homemade cherry pie for dessert!

Buon appetito!

2 comments:

  1. Now I could go for that. I never really cooked a good leg of lamb before, I should give your recipe a try.

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  2. It really is delicious Donna. And easy! Thanks for stopping by :)

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