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Recipes and Stories

30 March 2018: Fresh for Easter V

Irish Butterflied Leg of Lamb Roasted to Medium, the temperature I prefer for lamb

I always have lamb at Easter, following the older tradition even though most Southerners have ham of some kind, and now my household is divided between the ham and lamb camps, so I usually have both. This year, someone else is bringing the ham, so I’m doing a simple butterflied leg of lamb Irish-style, in honor of our Irish priest associate who’ll be joining us for dinner.

Irish-style Butterflied Leg of Lamb

From the picnic hamper, serve this with rolls and horseradish sauce (recipe follows) and let each guest make his or her own sandwiches. From the buffet, offer the sauce on the side.

You can bone the lamb yourself, but it’s much easier to get a boned roast and butterfly it: lay it fat side down on a work surface and cut through at the joints in the muscles, then flatten.

I actually prefer lamb roasted to medium, a little more done than it’s usually cooked nowadays, but I still have Southerners at my table who revolt at the idea of any meat that pink. Adjust the time to suit your own tastes and keep in mind that boned and butterflied lamb cooks more quickly than a whole leg, so watch carefully if you want it rare to medium-rare.

Serves 8

4-1/2-to-5 pounds boned leg of lamb, butterflied
Salt and whole black pepper in a mill
4 large cloves garlic, crushed, peeled, and roughly chopped
3 tablespoons prepared English or Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons Irish whiskey
4 tablespoons Irish butter, melted but cooled
1/2 cup finely chopped mint
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley

1. Wipe lamb dry with paper towels, trim excess fat, and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle garlic with salt and crush to paste with side of knife blade, mix with mustard and beat in whiskey. Beat in butter and brush over lamb on all sides. Cover with herbs, pressing into surface. Rub bottom of large roasting pan with butter and put in lamb, fat side up. Let sit 30 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Sear lamb in oven 25-30 minutes, or until browned. Reduce temperature to 375 degrees and roast until done to your taste, about 20-to-35 minutes more for medium.

3. Remove meat to warm platter, cover with foil, and let rest 20 minutes before carving. Or if serving cold, leave uncovered, cool completely, and wrap well in foil. Refrigerate until needed.

Fresh Horseradish Sauce
This lovely cream-based horseradish sauce is beautiful with any cold roasted meat and makes a very nice dipping sauce for shrimp or spread for cold-smoked salmon or gravlax.
Makes about 2 cups

1-1/2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup prepared horseradish, or to taste
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Pinch dry English mustard (such as Colman’s)
Pinch sugar

1. Lightly whip cream until holding soft peaks.

2. Fold in horseradish, vinegar, mustard, sugar, and salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Can be made a day ahead.

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