April 6, 2010
Lamb Unsilenced: Easter Dinner Leg of Lamb
Well after a slight sabbatical, I FINALLY created a new post (one of many soon to come). Dinner this Easter was leg of lamb. One of the best lamb dishes I ever had was at Joe’s Bar and Grill in Kihei, Maui (literally next to Wailea). The place is the named after Joe Gannon, former Road Manager for Alice Cooper among other acts, whose wife is well-known chef Bev Gannon. It was an herb crusted rack of lamb. It wasn’t cheap but DEFINITELY worth the time.
So above is the finished product. I tried my best to recreate that fine crust I enjoyed at Joe’s and it did come out pretty well. My parents seemed to enjoy it. This was a 10 lb leg. This was done in a few different stages but didn’t think to take pictures of each step. I don't like buying one that has been preseasoned because I know I can season it to my liking.
Stage one involved getting some flavors to complement the meat. I used the following:
- This is where I would debone the lamb should I decided to do so. I did tie the lose pieces together before I went to the next step.
- Pierce the skin of the lamb with a knife (in a way you would when cooking a duck).
- Take some olive oil and your choice of mustard. to your liking. Use enough of each to cover the leg. Spread the olive oil on first (enough where you can cover the entire leg) and season with oregano, kosher salt and pepper. I mixed 2 cups of mustard. Then spread the mustard (I used Dijon, but Creole, honey, spicy brown or a similar type. I would not use basic yellow mustard because it has no flavor and German mustard might be a bit too strong).
- One warning is to beware of using too much salt. This is one cut of meat that you can ruin pretty quickly by oversalting.
- If time allows, cover and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. This is what I did here.
- You can also cut the end shank off and cook it apart from the lamb.
Stage two is the crust. The follow is what I did:
- Mix the following in a bowl- bread crumbs (I used about 2 cups), 4 tablespoons of rosemary and thyme, *garlic (fresh or powder), ½ cup parsley, 3 tablespoons, and ½ cup of olive oil, kosher salt (1-2 teaspoons) and pepper (at least 2 tablespoons). I also added 4 tablespoons of cayenne pepper and 2 tablespoons of dry paprika (Hungarian hot is what I prefer but Spanish pap will also do the trick). For some, cayenne and paprika might be a bit powerful for some
- Once the mix is created, cover one or all sides of the lamb.
- *= Garlic is excellent on lamb. You can add as little or much as you wish. I would say at the very least 1-2 tablespoons of powder or 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic. I would use much more than that as you will read below.
Stage three is cooking it. I placed the lamb in the oven. Cover with foil. Since I could not find my rack, I just placed it in a roasting pan. I started cooking the lamb at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. Then I lowered the temperature to 375 degrees and cooked for another 20 minutes. Finally, I lowered the temperature again to 350 degrees for about 1 ½ hours. Once the leg of lamb is done, let the meat rest for at least 15 minutes.
I was cooking for my parents and they generally like lamb medium to medium well. The times can vary due to the size of the leg and how well (or rare) you want your meat. A meat thermometer is a perfect tool for this. Wherever you want your meat to be, use the thermometer to be your guide. If the bone is still in, remove the leg when it’s about 15-20 degrees less that where you want the service temperature because the meat will still cook while resting. Then serve. You can take the drippings and make gravy or a sauce if you wish by using 1/4-1/2 cup of stock or whatever liquid you prefer to use. Whatever thinkening agents you use nomally, use them.
Here's a short list of what I may do next time around
- Debone the lamb and consider stuffing the leg with rice or a dressing.
- Add at least 10 garlic cloves (I would probably add 15-20 cloves).
- Cook at a lower temperature for a longer period.
- Make a sauce (or two).
- Roast some veggies while cooking. It will provide incredible flavor but serious fat. This is a once in a while dish so should you normal eating habits are good, this should not hurt you.
- It was served with mixed greens (mustard and turnup) and mashed pototoes. With the mixed greens, I might used prosciutto while cooking. Also conside making rice or better yet, mac & cheese (made with 1 part cheddar & 1 part goat's milk cheese). The side dish I had on my Wailea adventure was goat cheese macaroni. As Guy Fieri would say- money!!!
By the way, the shank tasted VERY good on its own (as you can see below)!!! The shank below I would guess is between 6-8 oz of meat but very tasty.