Cooking Happy. Half Lamb Leg With Herb Crust On Cippolinis
Rosemary and lavender are still thriving in my garden, and as rosemary is my favorite herb, I’m always looking for ways to use it. The smell just makes me happy. For those herbs that have long since bit the dust, I have my 9-pod Aerogarden®.*
And anytime I get to play with my mortar and pestle for a dish, I’m also happy.
As a leg of lamb is too much for me unless I’m having dinner guests, I go to Whole Foods where they’re willing to cut it in half for me. This one was just under 3 pounds.
It cooks for 90 minutes, but the prep is so minimal, it’s a good choice for when you don’t have much time to prep. And your house will smell heavenly.
1 (3-pound) half leg of lamb
1 small bulb garlic
8-10 Cippolini onions, peeled
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup dry red wine or beef broth (optional)
Pat lamb dry and score fat by making shallow cuts all over with the tip of a sharp knife.
Peel the garlic cloves and either mash them with a fork or use a mortar and pestle. Add the herbs salt & pepper and pound or process everything into a paste.
Rub the pan and the lamb leg with the oil. Place the onions in a single layer on the bottom of the pan. Use a little of the salt and pepper.
Place the lamb on top of the onions and press the paste all over the top of the meat.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Let the meat come to room temperature - about a half hour.
Roast lamb in middle of oven until a meat thermometer inserted 2 inches into thickest part of meat (do not touch bone) registers 130°F, about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand 15 to 25 minutes (internal temperature will rise to about 140°F as it rests, for medium rare).
If you like, you can use the wine or broth to deglaze the pan, scraping up the fond on the bottom of the pan.
You can serve this on top of potatoes, but if you’re watching carbs, just steam a head of cauliflower and process it in a blender with a little butter, salt and pepper - it tastes just like mashed potatoes.
Make sure each plate gets a couple onions. (Onions and garlic AND rosemary? Happy again.) And make sure each person gets some of the lovely crust on top of the roast.
*If you’re not familiar with Aerogardens®, they’re little hydroponic garden systems that can provide herbs and small vegetables during the winter months, and I highly recommend them.
It takes a bit to learn how to prune them to stay relatively compact, but it’s great having fresh herbs all year-round, and can chase the winter blues away for those of us that love to dig in the dirt for our dinner.