Leg of Lamb
I have many food memories that revolve around the procurement, preparation and pure enjoyment of eating lamb. From cooking a whole spit-roasted lamb at the New Zealand embassy in Washington, DC, to preparing Lamb Patties with Sour Cream and Capers in my Adult Cooking classes, to combining lamb and bear meat to make Moroccan-style “Bearguez” sausages at my annual Game Feed. My favorite memory, however, was following the meat manager around a small grocery store in Queensland, Australia on our honeymoon, as he marked down all sorts of packages of lamb for quick sale. I spent the whole next day cooking lamb that we delightedly consumed for days. I love lamb.
I especially enjoy leg of lamb because it seems like a commitment. Leg. Of. Lamb. It is the whole darn thing—a primal cut. So in honor of National Leg of Lamb Day yesterday, I decided to grill a stuffed leg of lab. The thing is, I thought of it kind of late in the day to have it ready for dinner. I grilled it anyway and it was done about 9:30pm. Those of you who know me are probably thinking “9:30, that’s your lunch time.” Well as it so often happens, by the time the food was ready, I was hungry for something else. So I had a Flank Steak, Tomato and Arugula Sandwich on a Toasted Asiago Bagel for dinner instead. However, I knew what I was going to have for lunch today.
Grilled Leg of Lamb with Leeks, Brie and Dill
I like to use a Weber grill when I cook large pieces of meat indirectly. I either place coals along both sides of the grill with the meat located in the center or I sometimes place the coals on one side of the grill and put the meat on the opposite side of the grill, which is what I did for this recipe. It is a good idea to have a drip pan or foil under the meat to keep your grill from becoming a big mess.
¼ cup butter
1 cup diced leeks
6 ounces diced rind-on Brie
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
1 boneless, butterflied leg of lamb
Salt and pepper to taste
Serve with sauce of choice (see below)
Method: Start your charcoal. Rub the lamb well with salt and pepper. Cook the leeks with the butter in a sauté pan over low heat until the leeks have sweated. Let cool a bit then combine in a bowl with the Brie, dill and breadcrumbs. Mix well. Season a bit with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, clean the lamb of visible fat and sinew but leave the muscles intact. Lay the lamb out and spread the leek mixture on the lamb. Roll the leg of lamb compactly. Tie if necessary to hold it together. Place on a tin foil tray.
Place all the coals on the left side of the grill as you are facing it. Place the lamb in the tinfoil tray on the right side of the grill. Cook until the internal temperature is about 145°F or higher for more well done. Let the meat rest 30-40 minutes, remove the strings, then slice thinly.
Sauce of choice.
1 cup Merlot
¼ cup sugar
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
Method: Place everything in a non-reactive sauce pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until syrupy. Stain and use as desired.