Thursday, October 24, 2013

Leg of Lamb Provençal

This is an Ina Garten recipe---I absolutely love Ina Garten and want to be her.
I love you.
I want to be all pop-collar in capri pants and bare feet, planning dinner parties in the Hamptons for the middle-aged gay couple next door. Or surprising Jeffrey with a cake. She's always like "I can't wait until Jeffrey gets home--I think he'll be so surprised!" about the Italian cream cake or whatever. And unless Jeffrey is retarded, he is NOT surprised--you bake him a cake every day! Plus the camera-crew truck is in the driveway. He is obviously just pretending so you keep baking him more timelessly elegant cakes!
Barefoot Contessa is the benevolent fairy in a soothing, rosemary-scented WASP dreamworld of lemon and ricotta, "good" olive oil, shabby-chic down comforters and  rum cookies. Nobody says mean things about being fat and nobody ever gets divorced. 
I often leave Ina on in the background when I'm grading or planning because her voice makes me happy and calm. And her recipes are the BEST. Simple and no hard-to-find ingredients. Every time I make one of her recipes it turns out exactly right, down to the amount of salt. I usually add more flavor elements to any recipe I make (double the garlic, triple the crushed red pepper), but Ina's I follow exactly.
I had friends over for my sister's birthday, and I knew exactly what I wanted to make: leg of lamb. I had two gift certificates to Oliver's anyway, so I felt somewhat better about blowing 90 bucks on a single, if enormous, piece of meat. (What does it say about you if people get you gift certificates to the meat store as a wedding present? Something good or bad?) 
This is the second time I've made this recipe, and both times it turned out mind-blowingly delicious. Absolutely fabulous, wonderful and perfect. 
It's really great having a dinner party on a weeknight, too. You feel like a real adult with a life, not just a work monkey. Must do this more often.

Perfect medium rare!
I copied this recipe directly from epicurious.


  • 1 (6- to 7-pound) bone-in leg of lamb, trimmed and tied
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves), divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds ripe red tomatoes, cored and 1-inch diced
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 1/2 cup good honey (see note), divided
  • 1 large Spanish onion, sliced
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • Note: You'll want to use a liquid—rather than a solid—honey for this recipe so it can be drizzled on the lamb.

what to do 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Place the leg of lamb in a large roasting pan fat side up and pat it dry with paper towels. Combine the mustard, 1 tablespoon of garlic, the rosemary, balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper in a mini food processor and pulse until the garlic and rosemary are minced. Spread the mixture on the lamb.
Place the tomatoes, olive oil, 1/4 cup of the honey, the onion, the remaining 1 tablespoons garlic, 2 tablespoons salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper in a bowl and toss well. Pour the tomato mixture around the lamb and tuck in the thyme and rosemary sprigs. Drizzle the lamb with the remaining 1/4 cup of honey.
Roast for 20 minutes. Turn the heat down to 350 degrees and roast for another 1 to 1 1/4 hours, until a meat thermometer registers 130 to 135 degrees for medium-rare. Place the lamb on a cutting board, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Discard the herb stems and return the tomatoes to the oven to keep warm. Slice the lamb, arrange on a platter, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve with the tomatoes and pan juices spooned on top.

I also made salad with anchovy vinaigrette and homemade sourdough bread with parsley-lemon butter. 
Photo: Birthday dinner!
Consuela loves dinner parties. 
My sister loved it, which I knew she would.
This is a recipe I know I'll be making for special occasions forever, or for at least as long as there are still lambs roaming an un-destroyed earth or until a doctor specifically forbids me to keep feeding Adam this much red meat or until toxic gasses clog the sun and everyone dies, and the earth is one stretch of blackened debris, except for a tiny corner where a single TV is still plugged in, playing Barefoot Contessa reruns into the abyss.


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