Sunday, April 19, 2009

Roasted Leg of Lamb & Parsnip-Potato Puree

When I bought this leg of lamb, I justified the $35 price tag by reminding myself that I was, after all, helping out my local farmers. Additionally, I knew that the lamb had been raised humanely, wasn't fed any creepy hormones, and was probably loved. But as soon as I bit into a juicy, perfectly roasted bite, I realized that that was the only justification I needed.

Of course, I couldn't have known that at the time. I had no faith, standing there holding 3 and a half pounds of meat, that I could do this little lamb justice. Nonetheless, into my shopping bag it went. About a minute later I texted the LeCroys and told them to cancel any Sunday night plans, because we were going to feast like kings! (It's important to always project confidence.)




3.5 lb. boneless leg of lamb
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
3 sprigs fresh oregano, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
3 T. olive oil, plus more for herb rub
2 T. butter


1 small container beef stock
3 T. peach preserves
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 sprig rosemary
2 T. butter


2 parsnips, peeled and chopped into large chunks
2 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 c. half and half
3 T. butter
salt and pepper


spring mix
1/2 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced
1 T. dijon mustard
1-2 T. honey
juice of one lemon
2 T. olive oil
salt and pepper
1 small shallot, minced


Preheat oven to 325. Have a roasting pan with removable roasting rack ready. In a skillet, melt the butter and oil over medium-high heat. Season the lamb on all sides VERY well with salt and pepper. Brown the lamb on all sides. Transfer to roasting rack in pan and pour all accompanying juices/leftover oil with it.


Poke about a dozen small holes in the top of the leg with a knife. Stick the garlic slices in the holes, and also in any natural crevices the meat has. Sprinkle any extra garlic on top and around the lamb. To make the herb rub for the lamb, mix the oregano and rosemary with enough olive oil to moisten the herbs. Add some salt and pepper and stir with your fingers. When the lamb is cool enough to touch, spread the herb-oil mixture over the top, rubbing it into the meat.


Roast the lamb for about 2 hours on 325, until it's medium rare to medium. You can also use a meat thermometer. The meat should be about 145 degrees after a 10-minute resting period.


Boil the potatoes and parsnips in a large pot of salted water until tender. The parsnips may need a bit longer than the potatoes, so you can put them in about 5 minutes before you add the potatoes. Drain.


Heat the half and half in the microwave until hot. Return the potatoes and parsnips to the pot. Stir in the butter until melted. Add the hot half and half and season with salt and pepper. Mash with a fork, then finish by pureeing it in the pot with an immersion blender (or use a food processor or blender).


Bring all ingredients under "SAUCE" except butter to a boil, leaving the rosemary sprig intact. Reduce by about half, until the mixture is thickened. Remove the rosemary sprig. Turn off the heat and whisk in the butter.


Wash the salad and toss the cucumbers with the leaves. Combine the rest of the ingredients to make a quick vinaigrette, and drizzle over the salads.


After the lamb has rested for 10-15 minutes, slice it. Serve it on top of a heaping spoonful of parsnip-potato puree, and top the lamb with the peach sauce. Enjoy!


TAYLOR: The lamb was very well prepared. Just the way you want it with a tender inside and flavorful, garlicky exterior. The peach jus complimented it perfectly with a touch of sweetness. The parsnip puree had a nice smooth texture and rich flavor, which provided a nice starch to balance the meat. I'd call this my favorite Fearless Meal of all time, and there have been many, many good ones.

SARAH: Absolutely divine! The sauce and rub had the perfect combination of sweet and spicy. I preferred the pieces that were less red, more in the medium well range. The parsnip mashed potatoes were a perfect creamy side dish. I had no idea I liked lamb so much!

MY VOTE ON MY DISH: 9 stars! Maybe even 9.5. But I give all - ALL - the credit to the lamb and the farmers. I am 100% positive that I would not have had such delicious results with a more inferior piece of meat (i.e., commercially raised/processed, etc.). I was thrilled with how it came out. And Sarah makes a great point about the medium vs. medium-rare parts - the great thing about a large cut of meat like this is that different pieces are at different doneness levels, and people can pick the sections they like best. The parsnip-potato puree is simply a testament to the power of butter and half and half and the magic they work on mashed carbs. I liked that side dish so much, though, that I am definitely going to incorporate it into my repertoire of go-to side dishes when cooking for guests. It has so few ingredients, but is soooo yummy. I thought I might've gone overboard on the garlic (as I am wont to do), but it really only penetrates the top layer of the meat, so it's not overpowering. The herb rub was divine, too. I'm giving myself a pat on the back! And I'm so glad my guests liked it as much as I did.

Thanks, Mr. and Mrs. LeCroy, and thanks for reading. More soon!

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