Sunday, February 13, 2011

Rosemary, Thyme and Mint Crusted Leg of Lamb

Plated Lamb

Oh dear baby Jesus (thanks Ricky Bobby for that quote)!  It was a Friday in Washington DC and my wife (Chef Sue) and I took the back door out of DC and headed down to our weekend getaway on the Potomac river (affectionately known as the Crab Shack).  I met Chef Sue at the house and was greeted with a pronouncement of the menu for the evening.  I was both excited to indulge, but unprepared with wine…and therefore…oh dear baby Jesus!

Here is the menu:

  • Baked elephant garlic with brie on toasted baguette
  • Roasted butternut ginger soup garnished with pan fried ginger strips
  • Rosemary, thyme, and mint crusted Australian boneless leg of lamb
  • Garlic, truffle, and parmesan gnocchi
  • Roasted cauliflower with chickpeas and onions
  • Two tickets to the phat pharm.

As Chef Sue stunned me with this great news, I instantly thought this deserved a feature on the blog…but I needed the right wine.  With no good wine stores within 30 minutes of our secret Potomac lair, I quickly called Golf Buddy Steve who was on his way the Crab Shack and placed a wine order.  It was a hasty decision, but one that worked well.  Alas, you will have to wait until the next posting before my choice is revealed.

In the mean time, I encourage you to take a look at the menu, the recipes, and make your decision.  Which wine would you choose?  As a hint about my selection, the thought process was focused solely on the lamb.  Take a moment and leave a comment with your choice.

And here are the recipes:

Baked elephant garlic with brie on toasted baguette

Brie and Garlic

First, admire the majesty of the elephant garlic, then cut off the pointy end, drizzle on some olive oil, wrap in aluminum foil, and place in a preheated oven at 350 for about an hour or until the exposed garlic cloves turn golden brown.

Slice and lightly toast a baguette – I’m sure you can handle this without insulting but potentially comical directions.

When the garlic is done, crank the knob up to 400 and throw in (ok, gently place) a whole brie (straight from the fridge) for 15 minutes.  Spread a clove of buttery smooth garlic on your toast, add a generous dollop of brie lava flow, close your eyes, and moan seductively.  This, along with a pomegranate martini should keep you entertained through the rest of the preparations.

Roasted butternut ginger soup with pan fried ginger strips

Butternut Squash Soup

Quarter two butternut squash and remove the seeds along with the other stringy stuff.  Once cleaned and pretty, finish cutting the squash into roughly one inch squares and place on a sheet pan.  Do the same favor for a large onion by cutting into large chunks and separating the pieces.  Now give the squash and onion some company by cutting an inch and a half piece of fresh ginger root, peal, and slice into thin strips.  With the trio mingling on the sheet pan, fulfill their last wishes by drizzling with olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper.  Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.

Butternut Squash

After the 45 minute sauna, add the happy veggies to 4 coups of chicken stock.  Blend, strain, and combine in a pot with two cans of coconut milk and another one inch section of thinly sliced fresh ginger.  Season to taste, heat and serve with pan fried ginger strips as a tasty garnish (one and a quarter inch section thinly sliced and fried to a medium crisp in veggie oil). 

Rosemary, thyme, and mint crusted Australian boneless leg of lamb


Head out to the back yard and slaughter a lamb.  Fresh is best.  If your butchering skills are under developed, pick up a boneless leg of lamb (which normally comes with a handy net around it) and tuck herbs into the webbing (rosemary, thyme and mint)  Alternatively, combine your herbs in a food processor with butter to make a tasty suntan oil for your lamb.  Massage the paste into the lamb with lots of love.

Place your herb happy lamb in a roasting pan and then into your 400 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes (uncovered).  Reduce heat to 350 and cook until the lamb is at a pleasant internal temp of 140 (approx 1.5 hours).  Wrap in aluminum foil and allow to rest for 20-30 minutes.

Now, the juicy good part: put the roasting pan on the stove over medium heat and deglaze with 1 cup of madeira followed shortly by one cup of water.  Stir until all the little tasty chunky parts are swimming in unison and singing a 60’s folk song.  Reduce in the same pan by 1/3 then strain into a small sauce pan and reduce again by 1/3.  Adorn your lamb with this tasty reduction when serving.  A final blessing with a dab of mint jelly completes the miracle upon plating.

Garlic, truffle, and parmesan gnocchi

Happy Gnocchi

Boil three potatoes and rice them (see the steamy photo below).  Make a bowl with the riced potatoes, add 1 cup of flower to the bowl, then 2 egg yolks and one complete egg (less the hard stuff).  Mix with a fork then add 1/2 cup of parmesan, salt, pepper and pinch of nutmeg.  Lightly form a ball bigger than a golf ball, but smaller than a baseball then roll into a log of one inch diameter.  Cut into 1” pieces, and repeat until you have no more gnocchi dough.  Boil water and add gnocchi - boil until they float then drain. Sauté some chef selected mushrooms and shallots in olive oil and add a touch of truffle salt to excite your adoring fans.  Add the sauté to the gnocchi, toss and cover with freshly grated cheese.

Potato Ricing

Gnocchi bowl

Stirring the Gnocchi bowl

Roasted cauliflower with chickpeas and onion

Cut a whole cauliflower into 1/2 inch slices cutting from top to stem.  After a back flip and 1 and a half twists, the cauliflower should be resting on a sheet pan with a thinly sliced vidalia onion to keep company. Make it a harmonious trio by adding a can of drained garbanzo beans, coat with olive oil, cumin, salt pepper, coriander, paprika, and minced garlic.  Bake for 25 minutes at 400 or until cauliflower is smiling (crispy brown on the edges).

Roasted Cauliflower

In vino veritas, buen provecho.



  1. DELISH! oh how I miss you and Chef Sue!

  2. Yum! I think a Pinot noir would work well, but I would probably have gone with a shiraz. Looking forward to seeing what you went with.