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All week long, we're sharing Valentine's Day dinners for two -- grab your partner or your bestie, and make a meal worthy of your love.
Today: Those three little words mean more over a sophisticated lamb dinner for two. Here's what to eat (and drink) this Valentine's Day.
When we say Valentine’s Day, what do you think of? Red roses, candy hearts, over-sized teddy bears? Then it's time you change your idea of February 14th. Step 1: Cancel that expensive reservation you have. Step 2: Return those roses and buy each other aprons. Step 3: Get cooking!
There is nothing, really nothing, more romantic than sharing an evening together over the stove. Even if your loved one is not quite sous-chef material, there is something so lovely and sweet about a night spent eating something you made together from scratch -- especially when it's this delicious.
The leg of pomegranate-crusted lamb screams romance, and no one can turn down a pre-dinner cocktail as tasty and festive as the bubbly Harlequin. If you'd like to add something green to the menu, any of these sides will pair perfectly.
Here's how to make your meal:
Good news: This recipe takes a little overnight marinating, so your Valentine’s celebration can get going a night early. To start the marinade, decide who likes to get down and dirty in the kitchen -- let that person seed the pomegranate.
Meanwhile, the other set of hands can start assembling the rest of the marinade: Peel the red onions and 3 cloves of garlic; toss them in a food processor along with 1/4 cup olive oil, the red wine, 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, the chopped lemon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and finally, the pomegranate seeds. Blend until the onion is finely chopped. Save the other half of the lemon for your cocktails.
Whoever's hands are still stained red from the pomegranate can take care of this step: Rub the pomegranate marinade into the lamb, then combine the lamb and the rest of the marinade in a sealed zip bag or a covered dish. Let marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
On Valentine’s Day, preheat the oven to 450° F, then have one person play mixologist while the other continues with the lamb: Grab two fancy cocktail glasses and chill them while you make the drinks. Juice the remaining half lemon, then make two orange peel garnishes. Combine the gin, Aperol, 1 ounce lemon juice, and 1/2 ounce honey in a shaker and shake until blended. Double-strain the mixture and pour equal amounts into the two chilled glasses. Top off with some sparkling rosé and garnish with the orange peels.
Meanwhile, the other person should be tackling the lamb. The good news is that you did most of the dirty work the night before. Use 4 to 5 pieces of kitchen twine to roll and tie the lamb into a roughly cylindrical shape, which will allow it to cook more evenly and carve nicely. Place the lamb on a rack over a roasting pan, high-five your partner and, assuming the cocktail is ready, do a fancy cheers.
Roast the lamb for about 30 minutes, then lower the heat to 325° F and roast an additional 12 to 15 minutes per pound, or until an internal thermometer reads 130° F. At this point, you might need to make another cocktail or open a bottle of wine -- we support you.
Let the lamb rest before carving, then remove the twine and slice it into thick tranches. While it rests, set the table together -- go for something romantic and easygoing, because this lamb is so good, you'll forget about spills.
Take advantage of our hand grocery list below and click the recipe photos or titles to see (and save and print) the full recipes.
1 whole pomegranate
3/4 cup red wine
2 large red onions
1/2 lemon, roughly chopped, plus 1 ounce lemon juice
1 boneless leg of lamb
2 ounces London gin
1 ounce Aperol
6 ounces sparkling Brut rosé
We're assuming you have salt, black pepper, olive oil, garlic, and honey. If not, be sure to add those to your list, too.
Photos by James Ransom