Recipe: Garlic-Studded Leg Of Lamb With A Rosemary Crust
One of our favorite events every summer is The Sylvia Center’s Farm-to-Table dinner, hosted by Great Performances in the fields of Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook, N.Y. The mission of The Sylvia Center is to inspire young people and their families to eat well through hands-on learning experiences on the farm and in the kitchen. The Center does this by teaching skills that inspire students to establish independent healthy eating habits that lead to healthy and productive lives. Sounds like a good plan for all of us, which is why we’ve asked The Sylvia Center’s Liz Neumark, the founder of Great Performances, the farm and center, to share some recipes with us.
Years ago, leg of lamb was the dish my sister Miriam and I chose when we wanted something different for a family Passover dinner in Israel. We visited the butcher and came away with a medium-sized leg of lamb — and a sense of adventure, because, for some reason, lamb was rarely served at home. Home cooks back then seemed to have the notion that lamb needed to be cooked through, not rare or even medium, so it was often overcooked, which destroyed its delicate flavor and succulence. So lots of people of my generation grew up not liking lamb. Miriam and I developed a simple dish that lends itself to a variety of preparations, good for festive or casual meals and easy to prepare. In spring nothing is better with lamb than asparagus; in cold months Potato and Brussels Sprout Gratin (from the cookbook Sylvia’s Table) is a good choice.
Garlic-Studded Leg of Lamb with Rosemary Crust
Serves 6 to 8
One 7-pound leg of lamb, trimmed of excess fat
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup minced garlic (about 4 large cloves)
¼ cup minced rosemary, plus a sprig
¼ cup Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper
About 1½ cups beef stock, homemade or good-quality store bought
½ cup port
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cut 16 slits about 3⁄4 inch deep in the lamb on all sides. Combine the olive oil and garlic and push the mixture into each slit (a tiny spoon or a chopstick is good for this). Combine the minced rosemary and mustard and rub it all over; season well with salt and pepper.
Place the roast on the rack of a broiler pan or roasting pan. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the lamb, taking care not to touch bone. Place the pan in the oven and roast the leg for about 1½ hours, or until the thermometer registers 140 degrees of medium-rare or 155 degrees for medium; keep in mind that the meat will continue to cook as it rests, increasing the internal temperature by about 5 degrees.
Remove the lamb, cover it loosely with foil, and let it stand in a warm spot for 15 minutes.
Spoon off as much accumulated fat as possible from the pan drippings, scrape up any browned bits with a rubber spatula, and pour the drippings into a small saucepan. Add the stock, port, and the sprig of rosemary to the pan; bring to a low boil and reduce by half, about 7 minutes. Strain the sauce, discard the rosemary, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cut the lamb into slices and place them on a platter; ladle a bit of sauce on top and pass the rest at the table.
(Excerpted from SYLVIA’S TABLE by Liz Neumark. Copyright ©2013 by Random House. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.)