baby lamb leg

have a 2.5 lbs baby lamb leg. the farmer said it's a very special cut, which should be very tender, veal like. since it was quite pricey, I wouldn't like to mess it up. I'm thinking about slow cooking it wrapped in the foil on a low temperature. any ideas/recommendations/suggestions?

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aargersi
aargersi June 9, 2013

I would read through a few recipes and glean as much info as possible - I have never done a leg of lamb (!!! I know!) but I have on on order so I will be doing the same - here is a start:

http://food52.com/recipes...

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Pegeen
Pegeen June 9, 2013

Daria, is it bone-in?

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Daria Faulkner
Daria Faulkner June 9, 2013

nope, boneless one. so I woke up with an idea of may be butterflying it and spread some garlic scape pesto inside of it...

pierino
pierino June 9, 2013

If it's boneless I would open it up with a very sharp boning knife. Make a few quick slashes. Keep the "filling" minimal, maybe a paste of rosemary and garlic with salt and pepper. Rub this into the grooves you've made. Using kitchen twine, roll it back together and tie it up. Rub the outside with olive oil and coarse salt. I would slow roast it at 350F until it's done. Sorry can't give you a timeline because your oven is probably different than mine. You'll need a probe thermometer to check for doneness. Aim for around 130F depending on how well cooked you like it. I like mine a bit pink with some more done end pieces. You can make a basting mix using olive oil and either balsamic or aged sherry vinegar. I prefer the latter. Begin checking internal temp after about one hour in the oven. When you are satisfied let it rest tented with foil.

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pierino
pierino June 9, 2013

Another thought, and avert your eyes if you are squemish. But in Italy and most of Europe young lamb is slaughtered at a very tender age, they are still feeding on their mother's milk so they haven't tasted grass yet. That's kind of what makes it special. But if you want to respect the animal you should be willing to eat all the edible parts including and not exclusive to, heart, kidney, intestine (sausage casing), lungs (there's your haggis) and so on. I mean it. Respect the animal that died for your dinner and don't waste it.

Daria Faulkner
Daria Faulkner June 9, 2013

thank you! that's pretty much what I did (it's in the oven now).

pierino
pierino June 9, 2013

Daria, hopefully your lambster turned out well. It's a crime to waste such a good product.

Pegeen
Pegeen June 9, 2013

Well, I learned that lesson. I was visiting a relative in Ireland who runs a farm. The spring lambs were about 3 months old. On a tour of the farm in the tractor, she let me (idiot) get out to play with the lambs, as I requested. She asked, "which one do you like the best?" To my dismay, we had it for dinner the next night, but I did realize she was paying us visitors an honor. That was significant money that came out of her pocket to make a great dinner for us.

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pierino
pierino June 9, 2013

In Rome there is a classic dish in the 'quinto quarto' style, pagliata di vitello (pajata in roman dialect) which is essentially veal intestines which carry kind of a soured milk taste. Even my Roman friends have trouble with this one.

Pegeen
Pegeen June 10, 2013

I meant I was the idiot, not my Auntie Brigid! Someone here had the good humuor to ask me in a private message what was served alongside the frolicking lamb. (I'm still cracking up.) It was Greyhound cabbage, which I don't think seeds are sold for in the USA but I'd have to go look it up. The heart of the cabbage is a pointed snout, like a greyhound's muzzle, which you serve in one conical piece, the same as it grows - very tender so no need to separate the leaves. And new potatoes with butter, parsley, salt and pepper. Up Cavan lambs. (i.e., Cheers to the lambs of County Cavan).

jsdunbar
jsdunbar June 10, 2013

I was under the impression that haggis started with a sheep's stomach…?

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pierino
pierino June 10, 2013

jsdunbar, that's quite correct. It begins with the stomach but the traditional filling includes oats as well as "lamb's lights"---lungs, minced up.

pierino
pierino June 10, 2013

Still more on haggis from Robert Burns, "Address to a Haggis": But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed, The trembling earth resounds his tread. Clap in his walie nieve a blade, He'll make it whissle... I was thinking of trying to translate that from Scots into Italian but not right now. Haggis one of the world's oldest "sausages". Possibly the Caledonians got the idea from the Romans. I don't know.

jsdunbar
jsdunbar June 10, 2013

Thanks for the clarification. I haven't had haggis - yet. It's on my bucket list to eat.

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pierino
pierino June 10, 2013

Haggis is actually pretty good if you travel north of Hadrian's Wall. A bit of an acquired taste though.

Pegeen
Pegeen June 10, 2013

Daria, how did it turn out? Were you happy with the result? Would like to make note a recipe for boneless leg of lamb. Thanks.

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Daria Faulkner
Daria Faulkner June 10, 2013

Almost) I overcooked a little bit. We just moved and the new oven is a little off i think...Anyways, it still tastes good. So what I did was: I butterflied it and spread garlic scape pesto on the inside of it, then rolled up and tightened and wrap in plastic wrap. I let it sit/marinate for a few hours in the fridge (actually on the counter at first since I thought I'd cook it for lunch, but had to move it to the fridge and make it for dinner). When I was ready to cook it, I seasoned it with salt/pepper and my favorite mix of herbs for the lamb (mint, oregano..). I browned all sides of it on the pan, moved it to the aluminium foil (placed on the rack, on a tray), then cooked onion wedges in the same pan for another 4 minutes. I arranged onion on top and on the sides of the lamb and wrapped it all in the foil. I cooked it for an hour in 350 degrees oven and it came out 150F. But there was a lot of liquid too, so I sliced it and poured the drippings on top of it to make it more moist. It could be better, but it's ok;)

pierino
pierino June 10, 2013

Sounds like a good first try. If you can obtain that same spring lamb again, beata Lei! It could be your oven calibration but I think the problem with internal temp is actually the foil wrap. Other than that it sounds like you did everything right. Next time try tieing it up with kitchen twine and cook it on a rack in roasting pan. This will allow you test for doneness (again no more than 130F)and also to baste it. If you need instruction on how to tie, Merrill did a video that's probably still lurking on the site. She does it exactly the way I was taught years and years ago. But you are on the right path, Daria.

Pegeen
Pegeen June 10, 2013

Daria, I bet it tasted delicious. What disappointed you? That it was not less than 150F? You should submit it as a recipe here with your notes (doesn't have to be for a contest) - your experience is the kind of info everyone appreciates with a recipe. I hope you enjoyed it. The garlic scape pesto, mint and oregano sound wonderful.

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Daria Faulkner
Daria Faulkner June 10, 2013

I did tight it with a kitchen twine and then wrapped in foil. I bet you are right about it being a reason for overcooking though. I thought it would make it more moist, but it..) I made the bigger lamb for Christmas actually (marinated in yogurt...) and we had to cook it smth like 2 hours more than the recipe called for (fortunately guests had other food to snack on)), but it was finally done it tasted great ( pink in the middle and moist). I'll submit the recipe, didn't take pictures though. Thank you so much for all the advice;)

Pegeen
Pegeen June 10, 2013

There is something odd going on with these posts - they are not showing up in time-posted order. A post I made shows up earlier than someone else's (as it should) and now shows up after it.

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pierino
pierino June 10, 2013

could be those rogue food52 algorithms...

krusher
krusher June 10, 2013

Pierino, you obviously love lamb as we Australians do. 9 of the 22 posts were written by you. How about getting A&M to allow you to write a full article on the subject. I would find it interesting.

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Voted the Best Reply!

boulangere
boulangere June 10, 2013

When you open up the leg to stuff it, be sure when you roll it back up that you tuck the thin end into the center so that when rolled, the roast is relatively equal in thickness/density when tied. And begging to differ, 130 degrees is far to high to roast it for a medium-medium rare doneness in the center. I'd go for 118 degrees at the center, remove it from the oven, cover it with foil followed by a couple of thicknesses of your cushiest bath towel for 15-20 minutes before uncovering, slicing and serving. This is clearly something that is far too precious in many senses to risk overcooking.

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boulangere
boulangere June 11, 2013

P.S. Any butcher worth his or her salt will be able to roll and tie it to a perfectly even density for you.

boulangere
boulangere June 11, 2013

I wrote a blog post on cooking/roasting meats; it's pretty universal:

http://wp.me/p27pPl-Kx

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