Fa Lalalala Lalalalaa!
Need an impressive main-dish that doesn’t require defrosting or brining for days? One that you can prepare in advance and will turn even Scrooge’s frown upside-down? Then this painless lamb-roast will be your claim to fame.
Simply purchase a few legs of lamb (local whenever available) and butterfly it. Kindly ask your butcher to do it if you’re in a bind but it’s honestly not difficult. To butterfly simply means to get it as flat and even as possible. Make shallow, parallel slits along the leg so that it lies in one layer. Remember that it’ll be rolled up later so it doesn’t need to be pretty.
I chose to use nuts instead of breadcrumbs because it brings additional colour, flavour, and textural interest to the dish. Here, I picked pistachios because of its vibrant green colour and that it melds well with the other Mediterranean flavours in the stuffing. Cashews, hazelnuts, or even macadamia nuts are fantastic options.
The best part about his dish is you can prepare the stuffing the day before and not have to sweat it on the big day. You can also substitute the ingredients with whatever your heart desires. Try different combinations such as mint and apricots or basil and cherries.
Lastly, my friend Enoch shot this really neat stop-motion video of Pete and me collaborating on dinner. While I prepared the lamb, he skillfully arranged the couscous’ mise en place . Check out the knife skills on that boy!
- 4.5 lb Fraser Valley leg of lamb, butterflied
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Olive oil
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachio, chopped
- 1 cup dried dates, pitted
- zest of 1 orange
- 3 sprigs of rosemary leaves, minced finely
- 3 sprigs of thyme leaves, minced finely
- 2 cups red wine
Preheat oven to 400˚F (204˚C)
Bring the red wine to a simmer in a small saucepan. Add the dried dates and slowly poach for 15 minutes, until very soft and plump. Allow the dates to cool in the wine, then chop roughly.
Trim the lamb of excess fat and sinuous bits. Wash and pat dry. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, then massage the meat with some olive oil.
Combine the dates with the remaining stuffing ingredients.
Spread the stuffing in one even layer. Roll and truss the lamb to create a roast. Adjust the diameter of the roast to ensure even cooking time. Place the lamb on a roasting pan, rub over once more with olive oil, and place into the hot oven.
A nice brown crust should form on the lamb after 15 minutes of cooking. When the desired colour is achieved, drape a piece of aluminum foil over the meat and continue to cook for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 135˚F (57˚C).
Remove from the oven and allow the meat to rest under a foil tent for 10 minutes.
Carve, serve, and curtsey to the applause!