Sunday, December 27, 2009

Of lamb and leftovers

For Christmas dinner this year we had leg of lamb. But this wasn't just any leg of lamb. This wasn't bought at the store, or even at the butcher or even at the farmer's market. This was one of the legs from the lamb that my sister-in-law and I were splitting that we bought from a farmer on Washington Island,WI where our in-laws live. I've seen the pastures this little lamb grazed on. It was one lucky lamb. Until we ate it. But it was darn good. I still have a freezer full of lamb to look for recipes for, but here's what we've done so far.

For christmas dinner we followed my grandmother's tried and true recipe. Nothing could be tastier or easier.

Roast leg of lamb
1 leg of lamb (ours was about 9 lbs)
15 garlic cloves, sliced into thick slices (more or less to taste)
1/2 a lemon, juiced
Worcestershire sauce
powdered ginger
kosher salt

  1. Preheat over to 350. Place meat in a large roasting pan, preferably on a roasting rack.
  2. Trim extra fat from the leg of lamb. Cut slits in it and stick the garlic slices in the slits.
  3. pour the lemon juice over the meat. Liberally sprinkle with worcestershire sauce, powdered ginger, pepper and extra liberally with salt.
  4. Bake until thermometer reads around 160F, approximately 3.5 hours.
We served ours with caramelized brussel sprouts (garlic, onion and bacon), peas, potatoes (lots of butter), cranberry sauce (sweet and spicy, with lots of horseradish), mint jelly, and light wheat bread shaped into a wreath. Dessert was pecan pie from the Best Recipes cookbook.

This meal fed us for two nights, amazingly. Tonight, Andy made stew from the last of the meat on the bone. After much thought and a bit of recipe research here's what he came up with. It was delicious.

Moroccan lamb stew with lentils and winter squash (from left-over leg of lamb)
Left-over leg of lamb (bone with plenty of meat remnants left on it)
carrots, cliced into 1/2 inch rounds
1/2 large butternut squash, peeled and chped into 1/2 inch cubes
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
1 c. red wine
1 onion, sliced
1/2 c. lentils
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
1 1/2 tsp. coriander seeds
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/4 tsp.ground cinnamon
Salt, to taste

  1. Make lamb stock by placing leg of lamb into a large pot and covering in water (6 quarts or so) and bring it to a boil, then simmering for one hour. YOu should have extra to freeze or use for another meal
  2. strain the stock through a colander, seperating out the meat for the stew, setting aside the broth and throwing away the bones and fatty pieces.
  3. In a separate large, heavy bottomed pot saute the carrot, onion, garlic and squash. Add the tomatoes with their juices and the wine. Add the spices and the lentils and bring to a high simmer.
  4. Using kitchen shears, cut the meat off the bone to get 2-3 cups, if you can.
  5. Add the meat and 6-7 cups of the broth you made.
  6. Cook for 20-30 minutes until all the vegtables and lentils are tender, but not mushy.


  1. Hey Lauren! Sounds like a great lamb recipe and an equally great stew recipe. A quick question: what sort of meat thermometer do you use? Any particular recommendation? We've had nothing but bad luck with ours (if by bad luck we mean human error).

  2. Gautham,
    I have about 4 meat thermometers and the one I use and trust most has had a recent run in with an oven that didn't end still works, but it's plastic cover is kaput. I have some digital ones too, but they are more confusing than helpful most of the time. I'll probably get something like this:Taylor Classic Instant-Read Pocket Thermometer