Friday, January 11, 2013

Arugula Stuffed Leg of Lamb

On Christmas day, I made an amazing recipe for leg of lamb stuffed with delicious, garlicky arugula. I served it alongside the same wine I used in the recipe.  This is a complete meal fit for a holiday or any day, and my whole family devoured it. I bought the leg boneless at Costco and it worked perfectly. Make sure you have kitchen twine on hand, but it is not difficult to make. Enjoy!

Arugula Stuffed Leg of Lamb
Recipe adapted from www.epicurious.com and Gourmet Live.
Serves 6

Arugula Filling:
· 3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced lengthwise
· 1 Tbsp olive oil
· 10 ounces baby arugula or baby spinach
· Salt
Lamb:
· 7 large garlic cloves
· 3 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
· 1 Tbsp grated fresh lemon zest
· 2 Tbsp olive oil
 · Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
· 4 1/2-to 5-lb boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of fat on both sides and butterflied (from an 8-lb lamb leg on the bone)
Vegetables:
· 2 medium red onions, peeled and root ends trimmed, but left intact
· 1 1/2 pounds small (1 1/2- to 2-inch) red potatoes (or regular potatoes cut to size)
· 1 pound medium carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
· 2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
· Salt and Freshly ground black pepper

All my beautiful vegetables!
I used zucchini as my green veg,
which roasts beautifully.
     · 1 pound green vegetable of choice, such as asparagus, zucchini or green beans, cut in 1” pieces
Sauce:
     · Pan drippings from lamb
     · 3/4 cup red wine
     · 2 cups chicken stock or reduced-sodium broth
     · 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch (labeled as “maicena” in Mexico), dissolved in 3 Tbsp cold water
     · Salt and Freshly ground black pepper

For arugula filling: In a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat, cook garlic in olive oil, stirring, until it begins to turn pale golden, then add arugula in batches, stirring and turning over with tongs until slightly wilted before adding each new batch, and continue sautéing until completely wilted, about 1 minute more. Season with salt, and transfer arugula filling to a large sieve set over a bowl to drain. Let cool.

My butteflied lamb leg, with Arugula filling
ready to roll up!
For lamb: With a food processor running, add garlic cloves, one at a time, through feed tube, and finely chop. Add rosemary, lemon zest, olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to processor, and pulse until paste is well blended.
Pat the lamb dry. Arrange it, boned side up, on a work surface. Patch any holes with slices of meat from the edge, and season it with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Rub boned side with half of rosemary paste, then top it evenly with all of the arugula mixture, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges.
Beginning with a short side, roll up lamb, enclosing arugula (the rolled roast will appear messy and ungainly, but once it's roasted, it will look delicious). Snugly tie roast closed, crosswise at 1-inch intervals and around the length, with kitchen string.
Transfer lamb to a roasting pan and rub it all over with the remaining rosemary paste. Let it stand for 1 hour at room temperature.
Put oven rack in middle of oven and heat oven to 450°F.
Roast lamb for 30 minutes.
 
Ready to roast my veg...
The lamb had already roasted about 30 min
at this point.
      Prepare vegetables while lamb is roasting: Cut each onion lengthwise into eighths, and halve potatoes or quarter if large. Toss onions, potatoes, and carrots with 2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Scatter vegetables (not including green vegetables) around lamb in the pan, then reduce oven temperature to 350°F, and roast lamb until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of thickest part of roast registers 130°F for medium-rare meat (test temperature in several places), 40 to 50 minutes more. Transfer lamb to a platter and tent loosely with foil, then let it stand for 30 minutes.


While lamb is standing, increase oven to 450°F, then stir vegetables in pan, and continue to roast until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
Toss green vegetable with remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil and 1/8 teaspoon salt, and scatter among roasted vegetables, then continue to roast until green vegetable is just tender, about 10 minutes.
Transfer vegetables with a slotted spoon to a serving dish, and keep warm, loosely covered. Reserve roasting pan.

For sauce: Skim any fat from the pan drippings in roasting pan, and set roasting pan over 2 burners over medium-high heat. Add wine and deglaze the pan by boiling the liquid, scraping up the brown bits, for 1 minute. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a saucepan, then boil until reduced by half (to about 1/3 cup). Add chicken stock and any juices that have accumulated on the platter, and boil the sauce until reduced to about 2 cups. Reduce heat to a simmer.
Stir the cornstarch mixture, then add it to simmering sauce; continue to simmer sauce, stirring, for 1 minute. Season sauce with salt and pepper and keep it warm.
Discard the strings from the lamb, then carve lamb into thin slices on a cutting board and serve it with sauce and vegetables.

Cooks' Notes:
The boneless leg of lamb I bought at Costco was not butterflied (cut open so that the boned leg lies flat and the thicker parts of the meat sliced to even out the overall thickness), or trimmed well of fat. The quality of the butterflying and trimming can also be a problem at supermarkets. The good news is that it was not difficult to remedy the situation.
  • Use your sharpest knife to trim the fat from both the boned side and the outside of the lamb.
  • To butterfly your boneless lamb leg, cut it open so that it lies flat, boned side up. Look for the sections that are thicker, and holding a very sharp boning or other long-bladed knife horizontally, cut each thick muscle almost, but not completely, in half, keeping the upper piece attached, so that the meat opens up to form a bigger area with a more uniform thickness.