Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Silence of the Lamb Roast

Gentle readers, my rollercoaster love-hate relationship with the Key Foods (née Met Foods) continues. Today I fell in love with it all over again when I found bone-in leg of lamb for $2.99 a pound. I purchased a roast that was about 2 1/2 pounds—mind you, knowing that a fair bit of that weight was the bone itself, but still feeling psyched that it was a good value.

I came home (singing “Kiiitty had a leg of lamb, leg of lamb, leg of lamb...”), preheated the oven to 350°, and slathered the meat with a paste of Dijon mustard, panko bread crumbs, garlic powder, shaved lemon zest, paprika, kosher salt, thyme, and parsley. (Tip: Mince your herbs/zest on a bed of the salt and other dry spices, it helps break them down. This works well for garlic too, but to my immense shame, I did not have any fresh garlic in the house.)

I put the meat in a foil-lined baking pan splashed with a bit of olive oil (photo below), and dropped it into the oven, followed shortly by another foil-lined baking pan containing unskinned Idaho potatoes, cut into wedges and tossed in salt and olive oil.

I also sliced and sautéed an 8-oz. package of white mushrooms in butter with a bit of thyme and salt and a splash of balsamic, to serve as a dressing for the lamb. Finally, I tossed some arugula in a mix of lemon juice and Dijon mustard—to echo the flavors of the lamb paste while creating an acidic counterpoint to the meat’s richness—and diced some mozzarella into it, because I didn’t want it tooooo counterpointy.

I cooked the meat and potatoes for about 45 minutes and then turned the heat up to 400° and roasted the meat another 15 min, then let it rest while I let a bottle of Malbec breathe. I tossed the potatoes with some chopped chives, plated it all, took the obligatory photos, then started carving. Parts of the inside of the lamb were a bit bloody for my taste, but some people like it like that—luckily, including my boyfriend, because I was all about hacking off the lighter-pink pieces. Our adopted son (a.k.a. his 26-year-old friend who sleeps on our couch) was fine with the ones somewhere in between, so it all worked out.

These guys are gratifyingly good eaters. When I cook for these two, I can tell when they really like a meal, because they both stop talking for at least 5 solid minutes while going to town on their plates. That happened tonight—hence, the Silence of the Lamb Roast. Within the next 5 minutes, which included silence-breaking dinner conversation such as “Babe, can you cut me another piece of meat, thanks,” almost everything on the table was consumed (with the exception of the salad—because salad, cheese notwithstanding).

I'm not exaggerating about this good-eater thing. Not five minutes after the lamb roast was decimated, a pint of Haagen-Dazs quietly emerged from the fridge, and my young son observed that my boyfriend was enjoying the Silence of the Ice Cream.

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