Since Sunday, I've been repeating a particular mantra: "All I want to do is go home and cook that f***ing lamb!"
Why the foul-mouthed theatrics? Well, first there was The Epic Oven Fail of 2010 (Adam, remember how much I adore you). I bought a 6 lb. ($40) leg (LEG!) of lamb from Whole Foods on Sunday morning, psyched to (as I had promised) roast it in Adam's oven and serve it for the Superbowl festivities he was hosting. At 2 PM the day of the big game, Adam texted me saying his oven was suffering from an electrical failure, rendering it locked (LOCKED!), and thus unable to roast said lamb (or to cook his delicious stuffed pizza, trucked in from Indiana).
Needless to say, we all survived. The Saints were victorious, and the patron saint of snack foods, St. Guacamole, saved the day.
Then came Monday. I rarely curse (on this blog, I mean), but Monday was an undeniable shitshow from the very beginning. Said shitshow continued well into the evening (until midnight, to be precise), as my Digitas team toiled into the night creating brilliant online advertising that will one day be avoided by all of you in a fit of irritation.
Back to the lamb. As you can see, for the past 48 hours, my lonely leg of lamb, having made the arduous trek from New Zealand to the Whole Foods in Boystown, was left to marinate in the fridge for a full 48 hours in a blanket of the delectable Tunisian chile paste, harissa. It had been sitting in salt and harissa for two days. And that, my friends, is not a curse - it is a blessing of the most savory, meaty variety.
Because that lamb, I swear to God, was the most delicious meat I have ever put into my mouth. Most. Delicious. Meat. Ever.
You all KNOW how I feel about meat: lukewarm, at best! But this was no ordinary meat. It was the best. Ever.
So, in conclusion, I advise all of you to buy an absurdly large and expensive leg of lamb, rub something all over it, and then become too busy to cook it for two days. In the end, you will thank me. Seriously.
6-lb. leg of lamb, bone-in (fresh)
lots of harissa paste (I used about a half a jar)
lots of kosher salt (don't be shy, salt it up, it's a whole damn lamb's leg for god's sake)
1/3 c. olive oil
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
lots of freshly chopped cilantro
lots of freshly chopped parsley
3 medium carrots, in large chunks
7-8 baby yukon gold potatoes, halved
1 red onion, in large dice
drizzle olive oil
2 tsp. cumin
salt and pepper to taste
Place the raw lamb leg in a large baking dish (I used a 9 X 12 casserole dish, and the lamb bone hung out the side - I also had to turn the dish sideways when I put it in the oven - the hilarity of living in a shoebox), fat-side up. Make shallow slices in the top of it, diagonally going both ways (making an allover X pattern). Rub with salt, then harissa. Cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate for 1-2 days. In an airtight container, combine olive oil, garlic, cilantro, and parsley. Shake. Refrigerate that also.
Preheat the oven to 450. Toss the carrots, onion, and potatoes in the olive oil with salt, pepper, and cumin in a baking dish. Set aside.
Take lamb out of fridge. Remove plastic or foil. Rub the harissa into the lamb again (not new harissa, just the same harissa - jsut give it a rub). Pour the oil-garlic-herb mixture over the top. Place the lamb in oven and roast at 450 for about 30 minutes.
Turn the heat down to 350 and place the potato/onion/carrots into the oven with the lamb. Roast the veggies and lamb for another hour. After an hour, take the meat's temperature. The lamb needs to reach an internal temp of 145 (make sure the meat thermometer does not touch the bone). If the lamb is up to temp, remove it from the oven and cover it with aluminum foil. Allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Let the veggies keep roasting till the lamb is done resting.
Slice the lamb. Serve it with the vegetables. Enjoy!