Christmas Cookie Lamb

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. We had a leisurely New Year’s at home, just the way we like it, with the Twilight Zone marathon on the television and a leg of lamb in the oven. I tried out a new recipe for a boneless leg of lamb, rubbed with cardamom and allspice and garlic, and roasted over a spice-infused lake of ruby port. It gave me a chance to try out my shiny new All Clad roasting pan and use up the last of a bottle of port. However, the combination of the so-called baking spices with meat is always a source of suspicion for my tastebuds, so I was leery of whether I’d be willing to eat the outcome.

New Year’s Lamb

The smell from the oven was fantastic, just the thing to cap off the holiday feast season: sweet and spicy and savory all at once. My oven runs cold, so it took longer than called for in the recipe to cook; I ended up having to increase the heat and give the lamb a foil cap partway through. Our patience was ultimately rewarded with a succulent meal that I didn’t find to be too overwhelmingly seasoned or underdone (the latter being my main issue with large chunks of lamb, as I generally prefer meat more well-done than is appropriate for lamb). And now we have several pounds of leftovers which should keep Jeremy in lamb-heaven all week—not a bad way to start the year!

PS: Apologies for the poor picture… by the time the lamb temped out, it was getting late and our priority was not artistic photography.

Roasted Leg of Lamb with Port

1 (6-lb) boneless leg of lamb, trimmed and trussed
6 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 T vegetable oil
1 C port wine
2 C water
1 T cider vinegar
6 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 T whole cloves
1 T flour

Small roasting pan with a removable rack

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut slits evenly over lamb roast; insert garlic into slits. Combine salt, pepper, cardamom and allspice; rub over roast.

Sear roast in hot oil in a roasting pan over medium-high heat 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove roast to a plate; add wine and water to the roasting pan and stir to deglaze. Add vinegar, cinnamon sticks and cloves to liquid; insert rack and return lamb to roasting pan.

Bake at 375° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion of roast registers 145°. If the top of the meat becomes too dark during cooking, cover with aluminum foil. Let stand 10 minutes, covered, before slicing. Reserve pan drippings and strain into a small saucepan.

Skim fat from pan drippings, reserving about a tablespoon; stir this together with the flour to make a paste. Bring pan drippings to a simmer over medium-high heat and whisk in flour paste; cook at a boil, whisking constantly, for 7 minutes or until thickened. Spoon over sliced roast before serving.

Source: Adapted from Southern Living.

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