“I’d rather make something and blow your mind than make something and blow my mind.”
–Michael Wild, Baywolf Restaurant
My mom is a funny woman. Whenever I make her taste something out of her normal eating pattern she will say, “I don’t usually like ____, but this is great!” or “I don’t usually eat ____, but wow is this good!”
Like mother like daughter, today I will say, “I don’t usually eat lamb, but wowza this is mmm mmm good!” Super tender. Marinated overnight with fresh mint and rosemary, garlic, cumin, red wine, and vinegar. Slow roasted in the oven. Butchered to perfection.
Back in the day I used to say that I would never cook meat because I did not like to touch, smell, or look at the raw meat. Let’s just say I conquered that fear. Actually, I quite enjoy rubbing my hands all over a piece of raw meat. It is really soft and almost therapeutic?! Sometimes I even feel like a doctor preparing for surgery. Okay, that may be taking it too far…
Anyway, this was my first attempt at making lamb, and I successfully did it for a house of 60 people! I wish I could have captured a more decent picture of the lamb, sliced and plated and garnished with fresh herbs; however it was devoured before I had the chance.
So here you go, a picture of the huge hunk of meat just before we sliced it.
I decided to use cumin in my marinade because I was making some other dishes that incorporated the spice. Feel free to experiment and add whatever you like to your marinade. You could go for a more Asian style and add chili paste and orange juice, or you could go Italian and add artichoke hearts, olives, and oregano.
This was my menu:
• Cubed melon, cucumber, and red onion salad dressed with balsamic
• Lamb Roasted with Garlic, Herbs, and Red Wine
• Cumin and Turmeric mashed sweet potatoes with spinach, onions, and chickpeas, topped with a peanut-sauce
• Roasted Kale “chips”
• Roasted Parsnips and Beets
Some key tips that I found helped me throughout the process:
(thanks to Alice Waters and her book The Art of Simple Food)
-Cut slats into the meat and shove crushed garlic and herbs in between the slats.
-Make sure that you marinate the lamb for at least a few hours, best if overnight.
-Let the meat come to room temperature before placing in the oven; otherwise it will cook unevenly (aka the outside will be fully cooked before the inside has even had a chance to warm up). Take the meat out at least 1-2 hours ahead of time.
-Keep basting and turning so as to ensure juicy meat.
-The lamb will be done when a meat thermometer reads 128°F.
-After you take the meat out of the oven and before slicing it, you should let the meat rest for about 20 minutes to let the internal temperature stabilize. This is so all of the juices do not leak out, leaving you with unevenly cooked and overly dry pieces.
Roast Lamb with Garlic, Fresh Herbs, and Red Wine
Adapted from The Silver Palate
Adapted from The Silver Palate
*Fresh rosemary, about a tablespoon or so
*Fresh mint leaves, about ½ a cup
*5 garlic cloves, crushed
*½ cup of vinegar (I used half balsamic and half red wine vinegar)
*¼ cup of soy sauce
*½ cup of dry red wine (I used “Two-buck Chuck,” half Cabernet and half Merlot)
*1 Tablespoon of cumin
*1 big hunk of lamb (I think I used the thigh?), about 5 pounds or so
*2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1. Cut slats in the lamb. In other words, use a sharp knife to make a few slits (about 3-5) in your hunk of lamb.
2. Combine herbs, garlic, vinegars, soy sauce, red wine, cumin, and black pepper in a bowl. Add the lamb and turn to coat with the marinade. Shove some of the garlic and herb-y pieces in the slits.
3. Marinate the lamb, covered, in the refrigerator, overnight.
4. The next day, take the lamb out of the refrigerator and place it in a shallow roasting pan with all of the marinade. Let it come to room temperature.
5. Preheat oven to 350°F.
6. Spread the mustard over the meat.
7. Bake for 1 ½ hours, or 18 minutes per pound, basting occasionally. The roast will be medium rare (Bake for another 10-15 minutes for well-done meat).
8. Let the roast stand 20 minutes before carving. Serve with the pan juices.