I may be forced to switch careers to something not food-related. I mean, food is just so good. This photo does not do dinner justice. (And yes, I realize that is not a suitable serving size for meat and potatoes. Did I mention the roasted lamb and garlicky lemon potatoes? And how good they were? I knew to take lots from picking at the crispy bits.) I’d like to say we also ate salad, but there just wasn’t room.
And the funny thing? It’s one of the easiest things I’ve ever made. Why is it that the celebratory stuff – the edibles that make a huge splash – always end up being the simplest? What are we so afraid of?
(Ha – I thought this thought felt familiar – I had the same reaction last time I made roast leg of lamb!)
Lamb, of course, is all over the place in spring, and very often makes its way onto an Easter table. Cooking an entire leg of lamb, however, can be a hassle, mostly due to its shape – thick on one end, tapered on the other, it’s difficult to cook evenly without one end being overcooked or the other raw. Deboned legs of lamb are good alternatives – without bones it’s a more uniform cut of meat, and stuffable – but in general meat roasted on the bone has more flavour.
The other thing about leg of lamb, whether it’s the entire leg or just the shank portion, is that it has a lot of tough connective tissues which need long, slow cooking in order to break them down.
Enter my CrockPot. (While we’re on the subject, I stopped by Zellers today, and while chasing W down the small appliances aisle noticed that CrockPots – the same kind I gave away awhile ago – are 50% off this week – only $24.95! Twenty-four! Ninety-five!) Lamb is the perfect candidate for a slow cooker. I bought an entire leg, bone in, and when it looked like it might not fit (I told the butcher I planned to jam it into my CrockPot) he simply sawed off the shank. Perfect.
Now, any number of flavours go with lamb. You don’t need to rub it down with anything, but I chose to make a sort of rough paste out of garlic, rosemary, lemon and olive oil and smear it all over the meat first. Cumin would have worked well too, or fresh thyme. At this point you could leave it to sit for a bit, or refrigerate it overnight to let it marinate. Then all I did was toss it into the slow cooker – no need to brown it first, although you could – pour about a half cup of red wine or stock or tomato juice or water around it, and leave it to cook on low for 6-8 hours.
And the only thing to serve with roast lamb is lemon potatoes. So I offer up this recipe: