For me, lamb is a natural addition to the trio of feta, mint and citrus, evoking the cooking traditions of Greece, Turkey and North Africa. I love grilling and roasting butterflied legs of lamb. The lamb can either be smeared with herbs, garlic and oil, or, in this case, rolled with feta, mint and orange zest. The contrast of salty feta, aromatic mint and tangy citrus perfume and brighten the meat. A balsamic vinegar and blood orange reduction adds a sweet, savory component and nicely rounds out the dish. —TasteFood
Test Kitchen Notes
A delicious combination of grab bag flavors that all worked together. Instead of sprinkling, I combined the marinating oil and spices and rubbed that into the lamb. I was prepared for the feta to ooze out a bit during cooking, so next time I’d double the stuffing so that every slice can have its share of feta. The blood orange sauce added the perfect tang to the gaminess of the meat and while the gremolata might not seem necessary, the bite of fresh mint is a nice touch. I loved this so much that I’m making this part of my rotation for my non-Turkey Thanksgiving. - Naked Beet —The Editors
For the lamb:
boneless half leg of lamb, butterflied, excess fat removed
Arrange lamb, fat-side down, on a work surface. Place a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment over lamb. Pound with a mallet or heavy skillet to flatten lamb in thickest parts. Remove parchment. Make shallow incisions with a small knife in the fat. Insert garlic slivers in incisions. Rub lamb all over with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle cumin, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper all over lamb. (The lamb may be prepared to this point up to 12 hours in advance. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)
Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine feta, minced garlic, mint and orange zest in a small bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
Place lamb on a work surface, fat-side down. Spread feta over lamb, leaving a 1" border all around. Roll up meat to enclose filling, tucking in ends if possible. Tie with kitchen string in 1-2" intervals.
Heat one tablespoon olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add lamb, seam-side down. Sear on all sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer to baking pan. Roast in oven until instant read thermometer reads 140 F, basting occasionally, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven. Cover with foil and let rest 10 minutes.
While the lamb is roasting, deglaze skillet. Add red wine to pan, scraping up any bits from lamb. Reduce by half. Add blood orange juice, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Simmer, stirring, until thickened. Strain. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste.
Discard strings from lamb. Cut in 1" slices. Serve drizzled with balsamic blood orange sauce. Sprinkle with blood orange and mint gremolata.
For the blood orange and mint gremolata
Toss the ingredients together in a small bowl. Serve with lamb.