This was our Easter dinner. As you’ll see, the idea was stolen from Gordon Ramsay with few changes; it came out great.
Begin with a 4-5 pound (2 kg) boneless leg of lamb. Drive a narrow but sharp knife into the lamb, twirling it to carve out cylindrical holes. Make 3 or 4 holes and into each place a cinnamon stick and a sprig of thyme. (This is illustrated in Ramsay’s video below.)
Here’s a picture of the cinnamon sticks and thyme sprigs that we used, plus some vegetables, seasoning, and honey that we’ll use later:
Next, mix some dry seasonings for a rub. We used:
- 1 tsp fennel seed
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp allspice
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp cloves
Coat the lamb in the rub. Don’t worry if you don’t have all of these seasonings; use whatever assortment you like. We do recommend including the smoked paprika and allspice.
By the way, over the past few years we bought a number of disposable pepper grinders that contained whole peppercorns, and gathered a collection of empty grinders. Recently we began buying spices as whole seeds and storing them in the grinders, grinding the spices fresh as we need them. Freshly ground spices do taste better than pre-ground spices!
The next step is to prepare some vegetables – we used carrot, celery, and onion – and to sear the surface of the lamb on the stove so that the meat will retain moisture in the oven.
In previous recipe (“Roast Beef, Beets, and Potatoes,” April 8, 2012), we skipped the stovetop step. In that recipe, to seal the surface we pre-heated the oven to 400 F and after 10 minutes cooking reduced the heat to 300 F.
In Gordon Ramsay’s rendering (see video below), he sautées the vegetables with olive oil and honey before searing the lamb. The honey caramelizes, adding flavor.
We decided to take an intermediate approach that is more in line with our preference for gentle cooking. We briefly cooked the vegetables in olive oil at low heat on the stove, and added honey so as to coat the vegetables evenly.
Here were the vegetables on the stove, in the pyrex pan we used also in the oven:
After a few minutes we pushed the vegetables to the side of the pan and seared the lamb at medium heat, 1 minutes per side. After searing the seasoned lamb is ready for the oven, placed fatty side up:
We cooked at 300ºF (150ºC) for one hour. It came out like this:
Sliced, it looks like this:
We had space in the oven so we baked some potatoes and beets along with the lamb. They were placed in a cake pan that hasn’t been used for its original purpose in many years:
We’ve found it’s least messy to cook the beets first and peel them after cooking.
The final step was making a sauce to drizzle over the meat. This was composed of a simple mixture of:
- Juice and zest from one lemon
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp mustard
Served on the plate, it looked like this:
Gordon Ramsay’s video offers a good view of the process:
It’s an easy dish to prepare, but quite delicious!