Don Your Eatin’ Pants, You’re Gonna Want Seconds

As is typical for us on Easter, our go-to entree is roast lamb, instead of cooking ham. And as you know, we’ve been on a roll with lamb recipes in a variety of incarnations. This one, Apricot-and-Herb Stuffed Leg of Lamb, with it’s unconventional stuffing, has now become one of my faves!

Rolling the lamb around the filling means you get some of those bright stuffing flavors in just about every bite. For the best flavor, stuff the lamb the day before you roast it. And to make a gorgeous first impression, garnish the platter of lamb with some of the same herbs from the filling.

We didn’t change a thing with the ingredients or preparation, stuffing our meat a full 24 hours ahead of time to make sure all that yummy goodness penetrated the lamb as much as possible. The Potato and Caramelized Onion Gratin was also made a day ahead; but we waited until the last minute to cook the unusual combination of veggies in the Spring Vegetable Ragout. (Gratin recipe to follow soon.)

Contributing to the feast was “The Greatest” Deviled Eggs—according to Bon Appétit— hardboiled by me, filling made by Russ, and assembled by son David. Friends Barb and Brad brought a real tasty artichoke bruschetta spread with baguette toasts and a gorgeous chocolate bottom cheesecake loaded with chocolate chips for dessert.

Looks like we’ll be eating light the rest of the week…

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The leg of lamb as it looks coming from the butcher.

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The chopped apricots will soak in hot water for at least 5 minutes.

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Russ pounds out the meat to a uniform thickness.

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Once the apricots are done soaking, the herbs are added to make the paste.

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An even coating of paste is layered on top of the meat.

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The lamb is gently rolled onto itself.

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I assist as Russ ties up the roast.

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The meat is now tied up completely and ready for plastic wrap and a 24-hour stint in the refrigerator.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup small-diced dried apricots
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 3-1/2- to 4-1/2-lb. boneless leg of lamb
  • 1 cup lower-salt chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth

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We check the temperature to make sure it is where we want it to be for medium-rare.

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Chicken broth and wine are added and begin to simmer in the roasting pan.

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After the roast has rested for 30 minutes, Russ slices it on a cutting board with a moat to catch all of the juices to add back to the roasting pan sauce.

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, cover the apricots with 1/4 cup boiling water; let soak for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, pulse the garlic, parsley, mint, rosemary, mustard, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper in a food processor until coarsely chopped. With the machine running, add the olive oil, and process to a thick paste. Drain the apricots and stir them in.
  3. Lay the meat flat and pat dry with paper towels. Trim any excess fat. If there are portions that are much thicker than others, butterfly the thicker portions of the lamb to make it evenly thick. Lightly pound the lamb with a meat mallet, if necessary, to further even it out and make it roughly rectangular in shape. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread the herb paste over the lamb, using your fingers to work it into any crevices. Starting at one short end, roll the lamb up tightly, making sure to roll the meat so slices will cut across the grain. Tie the roll snugly at 1-inch intervals with kitchen twine. For a more compact shape, tie the roast lengthwise with a piece of twine. If there is any herb paste left on the work surface, rub it on the outside of the lamb. Wrap the lamb well in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 and up to 24 hours.
  5. Let the lamb sit at room temperature for about 1 hour before roasting. Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
  6. Unwrap the lamb, transfer it to a small, flameproof roasting pan, and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat reads 125°F to 135°F for medium rare, 45 minutes to 1-1/4 hours; begin checking early. Transfer to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, add the chicken broth and wine to the roasting pan. Simmer over medium heat, scraping up any pan drippings and stirring frequently, until slightly reduced, about 4 minutes.
  8. Cut the lamb into 1/2-inch-thick slices, snipping away the twine as you go, and transfer to a platter. Add any juice from the cutting board to the roasting pan. Strain the jus, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the lamb with the jus.

Recipe by Molly Stevens

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The table is set and ready for guests.

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A platter of “The Greatest” deviled eggs—the jury is in, they were very good!

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The potato and caramelized onion gratin was heavenly.

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A vegetable ragout that included, sugar snap peas, scallion, turnips, radishes and baby spinach.

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A feast for the eyes—and the stomach!

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Barb’s homemade chocolate bottom cake/cheesecake combination.

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