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Erin Go Bragh!

Heather's already spoken about her feelings on St. Patty's day. I have not had the same experiences that she has had, so my outlook is somewhat different, though no more or less valid. Different things, different people, as I like to say. Anyway, I always like to do something to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in a big way. I don't really know why I like this day so much. We do have Irish blood in us, but we have a lot of other nationalities in us as well, so it's an unsolved mystery. Let's chalk it up to my intense interest in other cultures for now.

Anyway, I always make a lot of food for our greenest of holidays, usually breakfast for my co-workers and then a semi-traditional Irish dinner. No, we're not talking corned beef and cabbage. I find corned beef very salty, but I love cabbage. There was a time in Mike's and my marriage that he actually put an embargo on the transport of cabbage into my house because I was making it so much. Cabbage is really cheap and really tasty; what's not to love? Anyway, so if we don't have corned beef, what do we have? Lamb! Scrumptious, tender, delicious lamb. If you've never had lamb, you don't know what you're missing. If you don't like lamb, then you need to try my recipe. You may change you mind.

Roasted Leg of Lamb With Garlic and Rosemary

7 to 8 lb. leg of lamb
4 medium garlic cloves
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp rosemary
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 to 3 fresh rosemary sprigs or parsley for garnish

Trim excess fat, leaving a thin film-will cook to a crispy skin-and set aside. Preheat oven to 450. Mix together the garlic, which may need to be crushed, 3/4 tsp. salt, half the pepper, the rosemary, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, and 1 tbsp olive oil.

With a small knife, cut 7 to 8 slits all over the meat 2 to 3 inches deep. Poke the mixed ingredients into the slits and rub any excess paste over the surface of the meat. Brush the lamb with the remaining oil and vinegar and season with remaining salt and pepper.

Place lamb on in a roasting pan with thickest part up and roast for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 and baste with the pan drippings every 15 to 20n minutes. Cook the lamb for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours or until meat thermometer stuck in the thickest part reads 125 to 130 for medium-rare. For medium to medium-well,cook to 140 to 150. Allow lab to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving.

What does a 7 to 8 pound leg of lamb look like? It looks like that! That is a huge piece of meat. We had eight guests over for dinner tonight and every one of them was awestruck at the size of this thing. Let me give you a HUGE hint here: Talk. To. Your. Butcher!!! I cannot stress this enough. I picked this leg up at Publix, which, with the bone, is almost as long as my arm. I looked at it and just knew I couldn't handle it alone, so I took it over to the butcher counter.

Butcher: Hello, how can I help you?
Me: Hi there! I'm buying this, but I don't really know how to handle a leg of lamb. Can you help me?
Butcher: Sure, what do you want done?

And thus ensued a wondrous conversation about the butchery services Publix offers. My new best friend de-boned the leg, took out a nasty, meat-ruining gland that I didn't even know existed, trimmed the fat, and then put the bone back is (bones are flavor!), and tied the whole thing back up into a neat little package for me. This was all at no charge. Now, your supermarket may not offer the same amazing services, but 1) it never hurts to ask and 2) asking can save you a lot of pain and trouble. Thankfully, Mike did not feel threatened when texted him to tell him I was in love with our butcher. Like I said, ASK! The worst they can tell you is no.

This is the first round of flavor. Just the seasoning paste/mix smells glorious. You know your lamb is going to taste amazing with just one whiff.

This should give you an idea of the scale of this piece of meat. I usually do my best to keep one hand clean whenever I'm doing any kind of messy prep work like this, so I used a fork and one hand to put the seasoning in the slits and then used the same hand to spread the love around.

There she is, ready to go into the oven. That is a beautiful sight...

While my lamb was cooking away, I chopped up some cabbage and sliced up some potatoes. The cabbage was steamed in a little water and three tablespoons of butter in a wide, deep saucepan, then drained and tossed with some slightly crushed, seasoned croutons. The croutons add some really nice texture and flavor. The potato sliced were just tossed into another large saucepan with some olive oil and fried up there. I served them with some Parmesan cheese, which I know is not traditional, but it's a quick, easy way to add a salty, cheesy, little kick. I don't have any more food pictures because everyone started arriving pretty quickly in succession, which always causes things to get a little crazy.

Dinner turned out great! The lamb, of course, was the star, and got so many wonderful compliments. Wes even mentioned that I had "talked a big game, but delivered in a big way". Nova kept on going back for nibbles, and we had our own potato mini-famine, as my potatoes were all gone after the first round. I made two-thirds of a 5-lb bag, if not more! We all had a great time, and I couldn't be happier with how things turned out.

Like I said, try this recipe! If you still don't like lamb afterward, okay, but this is a winner no matter what you do. If you have leftovers, which you might not, you can use them in a soup. I have a few bits left and the meaty bone, which is destined for a small stew later on this week. Win-win-win.

I just hope they don't do random drug tests at work tomorrow. Nova brought green food coloring over, and I've been enjoying green wine all night. The side effects of ingesting so much food coloring would be very interesting to explain. :-)

1 comment:

  1. Its cause your St. Patty's Day went infinitely better than mine! Oh well, Stephen is suggesting I start celebrating Opening Day rather than St. Patty's Day. He got the stink eye for that one. :)