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Celebrate spring

By Chef Danie Rodriquez //

This time of year is so refreshing. The last cold winds of winter are slowly dying down and warm breezes are on their way. Everything is coming back to life as if the world is waking from our winter hibernation. Spring is about new life and renewal of life. When I think of spring and life renewing itself, I think of Easter, and when I think of Easter, I think of lamb. Somehow my mind always goes to food.

Every year for Easter, a stuffed leg of lamb finds its way to the center of our family table. Lamb is tender and juicy but sometimes VERY intimidating. I have a great recipe for you to make it less intimidating and more of a staple at holiday meals. As we gather our families for this special time of year, we should all think about life renewing itself and celebrate the season in all of its glory. Enjoy the warm breezes and enjoy some time around the table with the ones you love. Surprise them a new addition to the holiday meal this year.

This is my recipe for stuffed leg of lamb. I hope it finds its way to the center of your Easter table, too.

 

Stuffed Leg of Lamb  

1 boneless leg of lamb

4 springs of fresh rosemary

2 T granulated garlic

2 T granulated onion

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cloves garlic (chopped)

½ lb prosciutto thin sliced

½ c lemon juice

½ c olive oil

½ cup red wine (something you would drink)

Basil Pesto Filling

½ lb. fresh basil

1c extra virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic chopped

1 T parmesan

Directions

Mix ingredients for basil pesto in a food processor until blended together and set aside.

Unwrap boneless leg of lamb and open it up and lay it out flat. Most of the boneless legs of lamb that you buy will already be butterflied so they will unroll pretty flat. Season the inside of the lamb with ½ of all of the seasonings. Salt and pepper the inside of the meat. Spread basil pesto on the lamb meat leaving about 1 inch around the edge. Lay slices of prosciutto on the top of the basil pesto. Roll the lamb up and using cooking twine lightly tie the lamb together. You want the lamb to be even in shape all of the way down the length of the leg because it will cook more evenly that way.

Mix lemon juice, olive oil and red wine together and add to gallon zipper bag. Put rolled lamb into the zipper bag to marinate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. Remove lamb from marinade and pat down the outside with paper towels till almost dry.

Mix the remaining seasonings together and rub it on the outside of the lamb. Place lamb in a roasting pan and cook in a 450 oven for 20 minutes, then drop the temp of the oven to 325 and cook following the times below for a 5-7 lb. leg of lamb.

Rare 20 – 25 min: 135 degrees in center

Med – Rare 25 – 30 min: 145 degrees in the center

Med – Med well 30 – 35 min: 160 degrees in the center

Anything longer than this will be well done and is not recommended. Let meat rest at least 10 min after cooking and before slicing.

Rodriquez offers culinary classes and catering at her Biloxi business. Let me know what you think at chefdaniecooks@yahoo.com.