Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sunday Dinner: Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary

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My husband's biggest fear when baby girl was baptized Catholic (he's Jewish by birth and atheist in practice) was that she would be talking all the time about Jesus and how much she loved him. I laughed hysterically at his fears since I don't remember being completely obsessed with Jesus as a child and I was basically raised by nuns and priests. Not only is my mother very religious, but she put me through Catholic school all the way through college. Seriously, I was a convent school girl. Well, funnily enough, baby girl on her recent trips to church has begun creating songs about baby Jesus and how he's coming and how she loves him so much. I have no idea where these songs came from since Catholic church is more about singing of being blind and sinning.

On Easter Sunday, the hubby got to experience her solos first hand when he accompanied us to church and watched as she clapped her hands and sang and danced all through the parts of mass when you're supposed to be quiet. Little girl loves to entertain. Luckily, the hubby seemed more amused than horrified. He's a very good sport and I'm lucky to have a husband who supports me in my beliefs even when they aren't his own. My father (an Episcopalian turned atheist turned deist - aye yai yai!) did that for my mother and I think that play between religious devotion and understanding everyone is free to hold different beliefs was a beautiful way to grow up.

OK, that's the closest I'll ever get to preaching about politics and religion and freedom. This is a food blog for goodness's sake!! What I really want to tell you is that after church, we went on an easter egg hunt and then to brunch with some wonderful friends. And then after that, while baby girl was sleeping, I made the most delectable Easter dinner. My father use to make leg of lamb with garlic inserted in slits all over. He'd grill it and serve it with Laban, a Lebanese yogurt sauce. Well, I decided to do something similar: I bought a huge butterflied leg of lamb and inserted garlic. Then I doused it with lemon, salt and pepper and wrapped it up with rosemary in the middle. I roasted some potatoes with it (also doused in lemon juice and rosemary and garlic) and served it with a beautiful green salad. Easiest holiday meal I've ever made and quite possibly the tastiest. Enjoy!

Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary
(This is a perfect meal for entertaining since it's so easy and delicious. It's a show stopper. I'm terrible at tying up chicken and roasts so just do your best. It will still look pretty.)

What You'll Need:
1 3-4 pound Boneless Leg of Lamb butterflied
1 head of Garlic cloves separated and cut into thick slices
2/3 cup Lemon Juice fresh squeezed
5 good sized sprigs of Rosemary
Salt and Pepper
Cooking string

2-3 pounds Baby Potatoes such as fingerling sliced down the middle

Preheat the oven to 350.

Place the lamb in a roasting pan and open it up so the the cavity is facing up. Tuck in the garlic into any little coves and nooks. Then stab the lamb gently making slits and slipping in pieces of garlic all over. Use about a third of the garlic. Lay 3 sprigs of rosemary in the middle along the length of the lamb and pour about a third of a cup of lemon juice over it. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Then tie the lamb up as best you can with string, gathering it up and either rolling it or pressing it snuggly together and securing it with string. (I know, I definitely need to learn how to do it properly so I can share the wealth.)

Now that the lamb's tied up, make slits all along the outside and slip in another third of the garlic all over. Scatter the potatoes and remaining garlic in the pan alongside the lamb. Add the remaining rosemary sprigs and lemon juice. Salt and pepper the potatoes and the roast generously and pop in the oven. Cook until a thermometer reads 140, about 1.5-2 hours. Every so often stir the potatoes. Remove the lamb and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes. 

Turn up the oven heat to 375 and cook the potatoes until they are soft and browning on the outside. 

To serve, remove the string from the lamb and cut into half inch thick slices. Place on a platter alongside the potatoes and enjoy with a salad or even some minted peas. Yum!

Approximate Cost:
Groceries: $50
Cost per Meal: From a 4 pound roast, you can expect 8-10 servings. This is a pricey meal best save for a special occasion.

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  1. Cute story. Our kids compare everything to God. "You're strong, but not as strong as God."

  2. What an awesome meal. I agree, a special meal is worth spending a little extra on (an non-special meals too LOL). My philosophy is that life is too short to eat bad food.
    Looks wonderful.
    *kisses* HH

  3. The lamb looks divine. I wish I had one ready to eat right now.

    I'm basically a Buddhist and my husband is atheist, so we've never taken our daughter to a Christian church. I'm not necessarily against it. It's just not a priority. Well, you can tell your husband that my very not church going daughter tells me about Jesus all the time. She learned all about him from other kids at school. It's funny to listen to because 1) she doesn't have it quite right 2) she tells Bible stories through the eyes of a 5 year old. I can't think of one off the top of my head, but I promise: if your daughter ever brings Jesus home, your husband will get a kick out of it. Kids are just too darn cute.

  4. love this post and yes i can relate to your convent school days! baby girl sounds like so much fun! not a huge lamb eater but now that i'm in new zealand i've learned to appreciate it. will definitely share this recipe with my friends. ;)

  5. Unplanned Cooking - I love that your kids say that! How funny.

    Heavenly Housewife - I couldn't agree more! I always feel like i wasted stomach space after eating a less that great meal.

    Alisa - It's so funny how kids pick things up. Love how your daughter has her own versions of bible stories.

    Lauren - Fellow CSG!!!

  6. I liked your little story. It's fascinating to see how families sort these things out. And, your lamb! Wow! My favorite. Thanks for the recipe.

  7. Oh! I love lamb! Here's my favorite recipe here:


    What's your favorite cut? I'm a chop girl, myself.

  8. I've never been a huge fan of lamb but my guess is I could use this recipe with a pork loin, yes?



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