Lamb Leg: Meet Your Match!

I make my love of lamb no secret. I find the unique flavors of lamb like no other red meat. Thinking back to my mom’s perfectly-roasted leg of lamb every Easter growing up and how I wish the holiday came more than just once a year frequently has me craving this beautiful young beast. So imagine my delight in spending an afternoon with the American Lamb Board at Hot Stove Society learning the background of these delicious cuties. Not only are they natural (no growth hormones are used in U.S.-raised lamb), but most lamb are raised on a wholesome, naturally-forage diet. As if this weren’t enough, as natural grazers they’re an integral part in diminishing weed growth and brush overgrowth in fire-prone areas. Now there’s more reason for me to love these four-legged stewards of our land!

Deboning and butchering was the focus of this delicious afternoon. Taking a full lamb leg and breaking it down into manageable pieces is truly a daunting task to a newbie like me. However, with instruction from Hot Stove Society’s Bridget Charters and an expert from Anderson Ranch, within 30 minutes I’d conquered the beast and deboned this beautiful leg.

Back home now comes the enviable task of preparing and cooking this heap o’ lamb and sharing the process. These particular cuts lend themselves to a myriad of culinary opportunities: roasts, kebabs, chops or steaks. Lamb lends itself deliciously to the flavors of rosemary, garlic and red wine – thus was my inspiration for the delectable Lamb Roulade recipe I’ve outlined below:

Lamb Roulade

Method:

  • Butterfly a one-and-a-half to two-pound leg of lamb into three 5″x14″ flanks taking care to clean any undesirable connective tissue or fat with a sharp boning knife
  • Arrange separately on parchment paper and pound to 1/2″ thickness
  • Sprinkle with a dusting of fresh-ground pepper and salt
  • Divide 4-ounces of chevre into three equal parts and position over the meat (slice, or spread) – heaps or chunks are fine since the cheese will melt when roasted
  • Saute garlic, onion and shallots in butter and olive oil for 3-4 minutes until softened
  • Add fresh rosemary and saute one additional minute to bloom flavors
  • Divide and evenly spread onion/garlic/herb mix over each butterflied flank
  • Tie with butcher’s twine, loosely cover with parchment and refrigerate
  • Create pan sauce (below)
  • Brown roulades of lamb on 3-4 sides  in 14″ oven-safe pan on cooktop in olive oil and butter (turning every 3-4 minutes as needed)
  • Cover roulades with pan gravy and place in a 375-degree oven until reading an internal temperature of 130 degrees (rare/medium-rare)
  • Let rest 5-7 minutes / slice, serve and garnish with a spring of rosemary
Diced and ready to saute.
Diced and ready to saute.
A quick saute brings out the flavors.
A quick saute brings out the flavors.
Cheve and herbs ready to roll.
Cheve and herbs ready to roll.
Tie securely with butcher's twine.
Tie securely with butcher’s twine.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5-2 pounds of fresh American lamb
  • 4 ounces of goat cheese
  • 2 Tbsp of chopped shallots
  • 1 Tbsp of chopped garlic
  • 2 Tbsp of chopped red onion
  • 6 springs of fresh rosemary
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1.5 cups tawny port
  • 2 cups beef or lamb broth
Reducing the port wine and broth for pan gravy.
Reducing the port wine and broth for pan gravy.

 

Ready for browning!
Ready for browning!
Perfectly browned! Ready for gravy and roasting.
Perfectly browned! Ready for gravy and roasting.

Pan gravy:

  • Using the saute pan from the herbs (and the remaining cooked bits) add port wine and simmer until reduced by half
  • Add 16 oz. of beef or lamb broth, add three springs of rosemary, and simmer until reduced to just 8 oz of gravy

 

*Adapted from my 11/2016 blog post

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