Sunday, February 20, 2011

Roast Leg of Lamb with Couscous

One of my classics for large groups and special occasions: leg of lamb cooked in the middle eastern style and served with couscous.

Leg of lamb, preferably bone in
A bottle of red wine (a good merlot or another fruity wine)
A large onion, quartered and slivered
4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped
several tablespoons dried mint
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Rub the lamb down with the garlic, mint, and salt, and allow to sit for 15 minutes.
2. Place the lamb in a baking dish, add the onions, and pour the entire bottle of wine on the lamb.
3. Cover and marinate for at least a day, turning several times.
4. Preheat an oven to 350 F, and bake the lamb, covered, till medium rare; an internal temperature of 130-140 F depending on how you like it (I typically aim for 130-135 F assuming it'll end up medium rare after resting).
5. Remove the pan and allow to rest before removing the lamb from the pool of marinade and drippings.
6. Use the heated marinade and drippings (as well as the onions and miscellaneous meaty bits) as the liquid when making the couscous (add in some stock if you don't have quite enough liquid.
7. Serve the lamb on couscous with a side of labna (labneh, or however it's spelled in your local middle eastern market) or toum. If you can't find labna you can make it by tossing plain yogurt in a few layers of cheese cloth and hanging it until it reaches the consistency of cream cheese.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sundried tomato spread

Another simple spread suitable for parties or just as a snack.

Blend together:
6 oil packed sun dried tomato halves
1/4 C goat cheese
2 T marscarpone (or cream cheese)
1 T fresh sage (chopped)

Olive spread

A quick spread for crackers or toast, perfect for parties.

Blend together:
1/2 C pitted black olives (good ones, NOT canned)
2 t olive oil
2 t balsamic vinegar
1 head roasted garlic
1 T Italian parsley (chopped)
1/4 t black pepper