Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Dinner - Roast Lamb and Potatoes

We don't have lamb at our house very often, usually a couple of times a year as my hubby is about the only one that really likes it.  I did things a bit different this year and had the best tasting lamb roast I've ever had (in my humble opinion and limited experiences) and it's converted me.  We had this with some really simple roasted potatoes that we did in the same pan and some asparagus that we roasted by itself.

We used a 1/2 leg, shank portion cut that was really just the thick part of the leg, chopped off.  It had a nice thick bone through the middle and was about 4 lbs.  Also, most recipes I see for roast lamb call for rosemary, but my mother hates it and since she was joining us, I left that out.  You could certainly add some if you like, but this was lovely without it.

You'll need:
-A cut of lamb, could be the leg or the shank portion of the leg as we did, or really any nice lamb roast-style cut
-One fresh package of thyme or a large bundle of thyme if it's coming from your garden
-About 10 pieces of garlic, fresh, peeled
-Olive oil for drizzling
-One stick of salted (or unsalted) butter
-Potatoes - Any kind, any amount, but the more uniform in size the better. Yukon Gold works well, but so would red potatoes.  I wouldn't suggest tiny new potatoes or fingerlings as they'll be too small to really work for this type of prep.
-Salt and Pepper, maybe a bit of garlic salt if you like

Pre-heat oven to 450º (F)

In roaster pan, lay lamb, fat side up, sprinkle with olive oil, salt, garlic salt and pepper. We didn't use the rack and found it worked better without it.

Strip the leaves from a large sprig or several sprigs of fresh thyme and sprinkle a good portion of this over the lamb as well.  Allow this to come up to nearly room temperature.

While your lamb is resting and coming up to room temp, peel your potatoes.  It doesn't really matter what kind, but I used a Yukon Gold type that were nice and buttery without much work.  Boil the peeled potatoes for about 10 minutes, maybe a bit longer depending on their size.  You want them to be just starting to get slightly soft, but not mushy. This way they'll crisp up on the outside and be buttery soft on the inside.

Drain the potatoes and place around the lamb in your roaster pan.  Sprinkle the remaining stripped thyme leaves over the potatoes along with salt and pepper.

Peel about 10 pieces of garlic and crush slightly, place these around the lamb and potatoes.

Toss in a few sprigs of time around the lamb and potatoes and drizzle all with a little olive oil.  I also added a stick of salted butter as there wasn't much fat on the piece of lamb we get bought.

Leave uncovered and roast at 450º for about 15 minutes, then turn heat down to 425º. Again, all depending on your oven.  The idea is to start a sear on the fat side of the lamb and get the oil and butter hot.

Turn the potatoes about every 15 minutes or so, trying to get them brown and crisp on all sides, I also turned the lamb over about every time to, just to get a bit of browning all the way around.  The less oil and fat, the quicker things will brown, but the idea is to get the potatoes crisp on the outside and tender on the inside at the same time your lamb is ready to come out.

Depending on how you like your lamb, go by the internal temperature, allowing for it's resting period at the end where it will come up by 5º to 10º.  Once the lamb was in, we roasted for about 1 1/2 hours.  The smaller potatoes were almost to crisp, but the larger ones weren't so much.  They were all still lovely, but next time I'll probably try to get more even size ones to use.  The lamb ended up between medium rare at the very center to a nice well near the outside.  With a good thermometer you can figure out just what you'd like.

Lamb is something we'll definitely be having a bit more around our house, it was tender, flavorful and not gamey or muttoney at all.  I loved it and so did our five year old.

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