Saturday, November 27, 2004

A Sunday Dinner with Lamb

This is the dinner that went along with the horseradish mashed potatoes featured below (see "Streetside Finds"). This is also the dinner whose centerpiece ousted Sunday's usual main attraction, chicken (see "The Sunday Chicken Club"), in favour of something even more overtly Christian. I blame the cute butcher-in-training at my school. I saw him carrying a massive leg on his way to the school store and I had to stop him. “Put it aside for me, would you?” I had never cooked a lamb in my life, but that wasn't going to stop me. I drew up the guest list, made some calls, and started my preparations…

Leg of Lamb Roasted with a Family of Onions

Serves 8

1 5-6 pound leg of lamb with the bone
coarse salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c. olive oil
2 heads garlic, cut crosswise to expose cloves
4 leeks, trimmed, split in half lengthwise, and washed
4 onions, skins left on, cut in half through the roots
8 whole shallots, skins left on
2 handfuls baby onions, skins left on
2 c. stock or water

Heat oven to 450 degrees F.
Season lamb with salt and pepper.
Put 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a roasting pan. Lay the lamb in the pan and place in the oven. Let the lamb brown for 8-10 min., then turn and brown the other side another 8-10 min.
Lower the heat to 350 degrees F.
Roast lamb for 1 hour, for rare, and 1 1/4 hours for well done. Lamb should always be rare. Baste every 15 min.
In a large bowl, mix all of the onions together and toss with salt, pepper and rest of oil.
After the lamb has been roasting for 20 min. at 350 degrees F, add the roots to the roasting pan, placing leeks and onions cut side up. Baste every 15 min., along with the lamb.
When lamb is done, let it rest for 10 min. before cutting it.
Pour of all but 1 Tbsp. of jus, add stock to pan and deglaze. Reduce to 1 cup, adding salt, if necessary. Strain into a gravy boat or bowl.
Carve the lamb, and serve with onions and jus, horseradish mashed potatoes, and celery root gratin, or anything that strikes your fancy.

This celery root gratin was appreciated by all of our guests. In fact, it was a huge hit. I could have easily doubled the recipe.

Celery Root Gratin

Serves 8, or 4 celery root lovers

2 medium celery roots, trimmed and peeled
juice of 1 lemon
stock or water, to cover
sea salt
2 bay leaves
freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. butter
3/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
1/2 c. crème fraiche

Cut the celery root in half lengthwise, lay cut side down and slice into 1/4 thick slices. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice.
Place celery root in a pot, cover with stock or water, and boil until slightly tender, about 10 min. Drain and reserve 1/2 c. cooking liquid.
Heat the over to 400 degrees F.
Butter a gratin dish or casserole. Layer a third of the celery root on the bottom of the pan, dot with 1 Tbsp. butter and one third of the cheese. Repeat twice more, ending with cheese. Mix the crème fraiche with reserved cooking liquid and pour into the pan.
Bake until bubbling and golden-brown, about 25 minutes. Serve.

Both of these recipes are from Amanda Hesser’s The Cook and the Gardener.


No comments: