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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Drunken Lamb: Recipe

Lamb is a natural for Easter, right? Spring, re-birth, renew = a little lamb...yikes! That sounds morbid!

Okay, let's start that again...I love lamb! And Easter seems like a perfect time for it. This year, I wanted to do something I've not done before - a stuffed leg of lamb. I went to the butcher - highly recommended - and I asked the man for a butterflied leg of lamb. I told him I was having 13 people and told him I'd like to please keep the bones. (I have NO CLUE what to do with them but I'm sure I'll figure out something!)

What is butterflied, exactly? Well, it's simple, really. If you take a whole leg of lamb and slice it along the top with a very sharp knife and remove the bones and slice it a bit deeper, you can then open up the piece of meat - almost like a book - and it will resemble a butterfly. Preparing the meat this way will reduce cooking time, if grilled, and it will allow a marinade to penetrate the meat, more so than if you had the entire leg in tact. Quite frankly, holding up this giant piece of meat it occured to me that it looked like a pair of pants! It was funny, really.

The night before I was ready to serve this, I made the stuffing and put the whole thing together. Thank the Lord for my husband - I should really say that he put the whole thing together! And it was a comedy routine between the two of us.  I would urge you to ask for some help - folding and trussing a piece of meat this large by yourself if bound to be both frustrating and more frustrating.

So...WOW! This was a huge hit and it was delicious. I was really pleased. I think it would have been good if I had made it in the oven but the fact that I we made it on the barbecue and that my husband did as great a job on it as he did made this all the more incredible. I've added some "notes" below for your information.

Drunken Roast Leg of Lamb Stuffed with Sundried Tomatoes, Spinach and Feta
11 lbs. butterflied leg of lamb (no bone)
5 heaping Tbls. Dijon Mustard
1 cup Sauvignon Blanc - from New Zealand
2/3 cup olive oil
10 garlic cloves
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt

In a food processor, combine the mustard, oil, garlic, thyme, oregano and salt. Mix well - until all the garlic is completely minced. Into the shoot, pour the wine and continue to mix it in while motor is running.

Place the meat into a large throw-away roasting tin and lightly score the meat all over. Pour mixture over the meat and using a spoon and a fork, ensure all meat is well covered. Cover pan with foil and refrigerate for 3 nights.

1 very packed cup sundried tomatoes (not in oil)
1 10-oz. pkg. chopped, frozen, spinach - thawed and squeezed of any excess water
8 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
6 oz. crumbled feta cheese

In a food processor, combine the tomatoes, oil, and garlic until a smooth paste is formed. Combine it with the cheese and spinach in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.

* Remove the lamb from the refrigerator and with a pastry brush, clear away a good amount of the marinade from the meat - do not discard
* Place the meat - bone side up - on a clean work surface (I placed it onto the foil that was used to cover the meat) with the two "pant legs" closest to you
* Overlap the two "pant legs" slightly so the entire piece looks like a rectangle
* Spoon the stuffing mixture onto the lamb - leaving a two inch border around the outside
* Cut yourself a very, very long piece of trussing string
* Fold and roll one long side of the meat toward the center at a time - both sides will be folded in toward each other, trying to keep the stuffing inside
* VERY tightly, tie a knot around the very end of one side and repeat with a second piece of string on the other side
* Next take the long string and tie knots every 2 inches - working your way from one end to the other and securing all the way
* Reserve the marinade and place into a bowl - cover and refrigerate
* Place the meat back into the tin tray and recover and refrigerate overnight

* Set up the grill by placing an 8 or 9 inch tin pan in the center of the bottom of the grill. Spread the charcoal around the pan - in a circle and allow the fire to get super hot - we planned to put the meat on the grill at 2 p.m. and we started the grill at 1:15 p.m.
* Bring the meat to room temperature before cooking - to reduce cooking time and to allow the meat to get a crisp outside before continuing to cook over indirect heat. I left it out for 2 hours - in the same tin foil tray it was in and with the cover on it.
* Sear the meat: place it on the grill for 20 minutes - about 10 minutes each side. Do not cover the grill but rather leave it open to ensure a crisp outside.
* Baste the meat regularly - about 15-20 minutes - with the left over marinade. Each time you baste, turn the meat over to ensure even cooking and no burning or charring
* Be sure to add a few more coals to the grill as needed - over the course of about 2 hours we added coals about 3 times
* Cook the meat - (if using this many pounds) about 1 hour 40 minutes and allow it to rest on your serving platter, covered lightly with foil, for another 20 minutes before slicing
* Slice the meat on the serving platter it's already on - don't think you can move the meat with the can't!

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