Saturday, September 14, 2013

Herb Roasted Leg of Lamb and Tapenade

Even though it's just SLIGHTLY cooler in Texas, I am mentally ready for it to be full-blown fall. Nothing says fall to me, like a leg of lamb. It's also one of those things that looks incredibly impressive and intimidating for a dinner party, but is super easy - just rub and roast. When it comes to a side, creamed corn came to mind, because let's face it, corn is cheap, lamb is expensive, and it works for fall without being as heavy as a sweet potato etc. Corn is also just sweet enough to balance the salty, savory flavors of the tapenade and lamb rub. Look for the Chive and Parmesan Creamed Corn recipe coming soon! This lamb recipe was inspired by Esquire's Eat Like A Man Cookbook. My fiance bought this book, which I told him looked like a caveman's diet guide, but after this recipe, I'm thinking about hitting the treadmill harder and cooking all of them anyway. Grab a new bottle of olive oil, cause you'll burn through a bottle with this one! Like I said, this will be so much easier than you can imagine! Make the rub and the tapenade the day before, and you will be a most relaxed hostess.Get the recipe after the jump!

Herb Roasted Leg of Lamb and Tapenade
(Serves 4-6)

  • 1 4 lb semi-boneless leg of lamb
  • kosher salt (lots)
The Rub
  • 1/4 C honey
  • 1/4 C balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 1 C olive oil
  • 1 T chopped mint* you can use more, but I'm not a mint girl
  • 1 T red pepper flakes
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 T coarse black pepper
  • 2 T fresh rosemary - chopped
  • 1 T fresh thyme - chopped
  • 1 C mixed green and black pitted olives in brine (1/2 chopped, 1/2 roughly chopped)
  • 1 T chopped capers
  • 2 cloves garlic - grated
  • 2 T fresh basil - chopped
  • 2 T flat leaf parsley - chopped
  • 2 T fresh thyme - chopped
  • kosher salt 
  • 1 C olive oil (plus a little more if needed) 

Day before - chop all ingredients for rub. Combine in bowl.  Cover and chill in fridge. Chop all ingredients for the tapenade, adjust seasoning to taste. I prefer a thicker tapenade with more olive, so this is reflective of that choice. Combine in bowl - I leave a few roughly chopped so I get a good texture. Cover and chill in fridge.

Day of - preheat oven to 400. Cover lamb completely with rub. And sprinkle generously all over with salt and pepper. Place lamb on a roasting rack in the oven and roast at 400 for 20 minutes. If you want more of a crust, you can sear it in the roasting pan directly. Reduce heat to 325. Continue to roast for another hour - estimating about 15 minutes per lb, (4lbs). Test with a meat thermometer. I removed mine right at 130 degrees (use a digital thermometer), because you must let it rest for about 20 minutes. When you remove the lamb, cover it in aluminum foil and set the table, relax etc.

To serve, slice, sprinkle with salt and pepper and spoon tapenade over the serving. Enjoy!

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