There was a time in my culinary journey where I confidently cooked lamb: chops, loins, legs, ground. It was usually very good. Then I am not sure why, I just stopped cold turkey and have felt intimidated cooking it myself since. I think it may have had to do with eating it on a trip to Paris and feeling I just could not live up to that perfect dish. I often order it in restaurants for that reason but am often underwowed at the seasonings and usually disappointed. The fabulous Selma at Selma’s Table once posted a recipe for lamb that had me sitting up straight, hanging on her every word and wanting to leap through my screen right to her table. It was a boneless shoulder of lamb brilliantly rubbed with an interesting paste ON THE INSIDE of the meat.
Say again? I have always rubbed meats on the outside and most of the rub ends up burning before the roast is done. I knew I had to make this roast and I am here to tell you it was sublime, just as Selma called it. The rub is a flavor sensation of anchovy, rosemary, loads of garlic, Dijon and harissa. Harissa, you ask? Me too! It is a paste of ground peppers and available in different levels of fire. I bought the mild but will be more adventurous next time. I am putting harissa in all kinds of foods like scrambled eggs, as a sandwich spread, with tuna instead of mayo. Delish! But I digress, back to the lamb. Roast the lamb on a rack fitted over a pan where you will have placed your potatoes halves so they can roast in the savory pan drippings. You may never have had potatoes this good. O.M.G. The aroma permeating the house as this intensely savoury lamb roasted, even had my cat moaning around the kitchen unable to endure the wait for a nibble. Neither could we, so without any further waiting, here is the recipe. The lamb ends up succulent, juicy and bursting with sensational flavor.
SUBLIME BONELESS LEG OF LAMB ROAST with POTATOES
4-5 lb boneless leg or shoulder of lamb(ask your butcher to prepare it for rolling/stuffing)
10-12 potatoes such as Yukon Golds, peeled and cut in half length wise
salt and pepper
olive oil for potatoes
RUB ingredients: 2 stems of fresh rosemary to yield about 2 T of leaves; 2 T fresh thyme leaves; 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped; 8 anchovies in oil; 2 T anchovy oil from the can; 2 t grainy Dijon; 2 t harissa paste. Pulverize all the ingredients in a small food mill to create a thick paste.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Coat the potato halves with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the potatoe halves face down on the roasting pan and begin roasting while you prepare the lamb. I tucked in the extra herbs around the potatoes.
Turn on your BBQ grill to high in preparation for searing the meat. Doing this step outdoors minimizes the clean up. If you don’t have a grill, you can sear the roast in a stovetop Dutch oven. Remove your roast from the elastic butcher string it comes in and reserve these. Unroll the lamb and smear generously with the paste, making sure to get it into all the crevices and cracks.
Reroll the lamb with the fatty side on the outside and secure it back in the reserved strings or in kitchen twine if your roast did not come with strings. Coat the ends with any paste that extrudes out. Sear the meat over high heat, about 2 minutes on each side to create nice grill marks.Turn the potatoes over and place your lamb on the roasting rack.
Bake according to the temperature you desire:
20 minutes per pound for rare(internal temperature 120-130F).
25 minutes per pound for medium rare (internal temperature 130-140F)
30 minutes per pound for medium (140-150F)
35 minutes per pound for well done (150-160F)
Make yourself a cup of tea or pour yourself a glass of wine while you sit back and let this delectable dinner cook itself.
The lamb will rest 20 minutes once done and continue cooking in that time so bear this in mind when calculating your cooking time. Remove the butcher string and slice in 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices. Serve with the potatoes and a vegetable side. Green beans, broccoli or brussels sprouts are all good choices.
Making the rub:
Starting to roast the potatoes:
Smearing the rub inside and out of the meat then rerolling and searing the outside on the grill:
Finishing the roasting of the potatoes and the lamb in the oven:
This sublime roast would be perfect for a Sunday dinner.