Thursday, April 20, 2006

Monkey Had A Little Lamb

It's leg was quite a show (or fleece was white as snow?). Either way, it was tasty. I'm not so sure what happened to the rest of the lamb, but boy howdy the leg was de-lish! There's a top notch butcher shop in Seattle called A&J Meats and Seafood that happens to have some of the finest cuts of meat in town. They did me the honor of preparing the lamb ahead of time, butterflying and wrapping it to go. They even advised me on how many people different cuts might feed. According to them, a rack (6-8 chops) only feeds about 2 people (or 1 hubby), while a 5 pound leg can fill the bellies of 10. A rack is the more traditional and presentation-friendly approach. But I took the practical, pocket-book friendly route instead. Turned out to be a good decision. Being a newbie to all of this lamb business, I was certainly impressed with the taste and tenderness of the meat.
Yes, this leg was quite a show. Who cares what color the fleece was, right? Well, I guess Mary might. Oh well.

Little Lamb
Rosemary Honey-Mustard Lamb
w/ Asiago & Balsamic Pears and Goat Cheese Polenta

5 pound leg of lamb, butterfly cut
1/4 c honey
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
2 Tbs fresh rosemary
1 tsp lemon zest
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp kosher salt

1. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for lamb.
2. Coat lamb in the marinade and refrigerate for 1-4 hours.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
3. Leave lamb out at room temperature for 30 minutes. Cover in tinfoil (I cut the leg in half to help manageability).
4. Cook for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 400 degrees F. Cook for another 30-45 minutes.
5. The internal temperature of the lamb should reach between 120 and 145 degrees F.
6. Let lamb sit and cool off for 15 minutes before slicing.

Asiago-Balsamic Pears
2 Bartlett Pears, peeled and sliced in half
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
3 Tbs brown sugar
1/2 c asiago cheese, grated

Preheat broiler to 350 degrees F.
1. Broil pears cut side down on a baking sheet for 15-20 minutes, or until they have turned a nice golden brown.
2. Remove. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Top with cheese.
3. You can cut into smaller pieces at this point if desired.

Goat Cheese Polenta
3 Tbs white onion
2 Tbs green onion
2 Tbs leek
1 Tbs chive

3 c milk
3/4 c polenta (corn meal)
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt

4 oz goat cheese

Preheat broiler to 350 degrees F.
1. Saute onions in olive oil until slightly translucent. Set aside.
2. In a medium sauce pot on medium heat, cook milk, polenta, salt, pepper and onions until creamy, about 10 minutes.
3. Let cool slightly, and place 1 tablespoon of polenta in the bottom of greased muffin pan.
4. Place a teaspoon or two of goat cheese on top, and coat with another tablespoon of polenta to cover cheese.
5. Broil for 15-20 minutes.

Monkey Note: For a little seasonal fun, I used a bunny shaped dish my mother-in-law sent us. We had polenta bunnies hopping all over our lamb leg. Sounds like a shephard's worst nightmare. Almost disturbing - mostly tasty.


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