For the past couple of years we havenâ€™t done much for Easter. Sure we exchanged some candy, but we never really cooked up a big meal. However, this year Carolynâ€™s parents came down to visit, giving us a perfect excuse to put together something a little fancier.
Lamb is of course a traditional Easter meat, so that was our starting point. If you havenâ€™t guessed, we are big fans of the guys from The Bitten Word. I sort of want to be them when I grow up. They are much more useful than us and post holiday recipesâ€¦ before the holiday! What a concept! They had done an Easter post on an awesome looking lamb recipe, which pretty much locked in our decision for what to make.
Making large portions of meat always scares me a bit. There is the â€œwhat if I screw up and ruin 4 lbs of meatâ€ factor. The risk does make it a bit more exciting though! Luckily for me, and everyone else who was planning on eating lamb, the recipe worked out perfectly. I followed the Bitten Word guys advice and went for frozen artichoke hearts instead of using fresh. I did innovate a little and make the mint sauce in the VitaMix, which turned into a smooth, bright green sauce. I donâ€™t think it made a huge difference taste wise, but it may have made it easier to keep on the lamb. It was easy to coat a lamb bite with the sauce and it may have been a little trickier with the original, chunkier version. Either way it was a lot of fun.
The one slip up I had was making a full batch of the stuffing when I only bought half as much lamb as was called for. This was only a problem because I tried to stuff it all in and roll up the butterflied lamb. Surprisingly it wouldnâ€™t all stay in.
Serving the lamb and keeping it nice and tidy seems to be a little tricky though. As soon as I cut the butchers twine, the tightly rolled lamb sprung open. So instead of a nice disk of lamb and stuffing, guest were served something that was slightly circular. Luckily it was very tasty!
Butterflied, Rolled, And Roasted Leg Of Lamb
- 8 artichoke hearts, finely chopped
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh plain breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (1 ounce)
- 1 Steamed head of garlic, peeled
- 4 ounces pancetta, thinly sliced and finely chopped
- 1 leg of lamb, bone removed (7 to 8 pounds), butterflied
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for rubbing
- 2 cups water
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pulse pancetta, garlic, cheese, breadcrumbs, mint, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, and some pepper in a food processor until combined. Add artichokes. Pulse a few times, keeping mixture chunky.
- Lay lamb flat on a work surface, skin side down. Season with salt. Spread artichoke mixture over top, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Tightly roll lamb, and tie with kitchen twine at 2-inch intervals to hold.
- Rub lamb with oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Transfer to a roasting pan fitted with a roasting rack, and add water to pan. Roast for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Continue to roast until an instant-read thermometer reaches 130 degrees to 135 degrees (for medium-rare), 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Let rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Serve with mint sauce.
Fresh Mint Sauce
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 bunch fresh mint
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Finely chop mint; transfer to a jar. Add olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, and salt. Shake to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use (up to 1 month).