© Constantine William Spyrou
My absolute favorite meat of all time has to be lamb. When cooked right, its got this really deep and just primal meaty flavor that can't be achieved by any other meat. My favorite way to have it is braised in a traditional Italian style. I put my own Greek and sort of Asian spin on a braised leg of lamb last year for a church picnic, and it literally flew off the table (that 6 pound lamb was gone in 6 minutes. Literally). I decided to write up the recipe for it so I can remember it and because it's an absolute favorite that will wow crowds for any feast. This is a really simple, traditional Italian-style braised lamb, just with some spices and other things mixed around to lift the dish up to something that I really enjoy.
Recipe will serve up to 12 people.
1 6 pound leg of lamb, boned, rolled, and tied
1 head of garlic, all the cloves taken out and peeled
1 bottle red wine
Salt and Pepper to season
6 sprigs of fresh Rosemary
2 tablespoons Dried Rosemary
2 tablespoons Marjoram
2 tablespoons Hungarian Paprika
1 tablespoon Dried Mint
6 bay leaves (1 per pound)
4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons dried Basil
2 tablespoons Madras curry powder
2 tablespoons Ground Fennel Seed
4 tablespoons Oregano
2 roughly chopped onions
2 roughly chopped carrots
2 roughly chopped stalks of celery
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Create some deep cuts into the lamb leg and stuff each of these cavities with the garlic cloves. Season with salt and pepper and half of the spices, and rub lightly with olive oil.
2. Place a roasting tray on the stove (this will take up two burners!) and place on high heat. Lightly dust the lamb with flour, add olive oil to the tray, and sear the lamb on all sides until they all get a nice brown color. This should take around 15-20 minutes. Remove the lamb from the roasting tray and use the tying string to help adhere the rosemary sprigs to the lamb.
3. In the roasting tray, add the chopped onions, carrots, and celery, and saute off. When the onions start becoming translucent, add the wine to deglaze the roasting tray. Add the chicken stock, bay leaves, and the remainder of the spices.
4. Place the lamb leg back on top of the roasting tray so that it rests over the vegetables and isn't sticking to the bottom of the tray. Make sure that at least a fourth of the lamb is covered with liquid; if it isn't, add some more chicken stock to balance it out. Cover the roasting tray with foil in a tent-like formation to help the lamb steam.
5. Roast in the oven at 350 degrees for around 7 hours. When it's done, remove the foil, and let it rest for about 15 minutes. Remove the twine, and serve.
I served this with the braising liquid as a sauce, and the two combined were an extremely flavorful punch, especially with the garlic. Try this one out at your next feast!
I hope you enjoyed reading this recipe! Let me know what you think, and try it at home and tell me what changes you would make! Enjoy! =)