In my birthday post last year, I casually mentioned that I love cooking. But what I didn’t state was that I really, really enjoy cooking. I have fun with it. I almost feel like a mad scientist, a culinary Dr. Frankenstein in that I put whatever sounds good together and hope for a tasty result.
Recently, while watching an episode of Hannibal, I was inspired by a dish that he created (only click on that link if you’re caught up on the show). I know, it’s pretty morbid. But sometimes the most unsettling things can create something wonderful. Now, keep in mind that I have absolutely zero formal training. What I did was completely drawn upon from my own experiences with cooking and pretty deciding that I wanted to try something new and crazy.
So, with that in mind, I decided to tackle a roasted leg of lamb with some tricolor couscous as the main side. And since this recipe is inspired by something so ghoulish and macabre, I figured, “Why not share it with the BD audience?”
Below is my step-by-step guide for the meal. With it, you can host your own dinner party.
Roasted leg of lamb:
One 3-4lb leg of lamb, deboned
1/2 cup prunes
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup almonds
1-2 large banana leaves
3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
8-10 small red potatoes cut into bite size chunks
Minced fresh chives
Coarse sea salt
Red pepper flakes
2 cups tricolor couscous
2.5 cups unsalted chicken stock
1 tbsp butter
Prepare the spice rub
I put all of my spices into a mortar and pestle and ground everything together into a fine rub. I opted to go a little light on the red pepper flakes as I didn’t want this to be a hot, spicy dish but instead I just wanted a little bit of warmth.
Prepare the lamb
1. Open up the deboned leg of lamb
2. Cut off any big chunks of fat but make sure to leave a little bit. Fat is where a lot of flavor resides and it will help this roast stay juicy and succulent
3. Sprinkle the spice rub liberally throughout the inside of the leg and then proceed to rub it in, making sure to get into the cracks and crevices
4. Mix the prunes, dried apricots, walnuts, and almonds in a bowl or bag and then place them in the middle of the opened lamb leg. The idea here is that the left and right parts of the leg will close over the mixture, creating a sweet, nutty center. If you want, you can sprinkle some of the garlic slices in the middle as well
5. Wrap the left and right parts of the meat over the center and then tie the whole leg up with cooking twine
6. Between the cooking twine make small, shallow incisions in the meat. Insert the garlic slices into these incisions
7. Wrap the roast in clean, freshly washed banana leaves (it’s okay if they’re a little wet). It’s okay to lightly tie the banana leaves with cooking twine so that it doesn’t fall open
8. Put the wrapped lamb leg into a roasting pan and then put that into the fridge to settle for at least an hour
Cooking the lamb roast:
1. Take the roast out of the fridge and let it get to room temperate (45 minutes to 1 hour)
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
3. While the oven is preheating, you can put the bite size potato chunks in the roasting pan around the lamb. Make sure to drizzle with olive oil so that you get a nice crisp to the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper
4. Put the lamb in the oven near the center
5. It takes about 15-20 minutes per pound, so a 3.5lb roast (which is what I had) took about an hour
6. When the lamb is done, take it out and place the whole thing (minus the potatoes) onto a serving platter. Cut off the banana leaves, exposing the lamb roast
7. Place the lamb roast on a very hot grill for a minute on each side. This will give the roast a really nice char on the outside
8. After taking the roast off the grill, leave it for 10 minutes to settle
9. Put the potatoes in a serving bowl and sprinkle with minced chives
1. Melt the butter in a sauce pot
2. Add the couscous and stir constantly, toasting the couscous (note: do NOT use a plastic stirrer, which is a mistake I made the first time I did this)
3. Once it’s browned a little and you have a rich, nutty smell, add the chicken stock
4. Bring to a boil, cover and then turn off the stove but leave the pot on the burner
5. Check after five minutes. It’s okay if there is a little bit of liquid left as you can stir it in while fluffing the couscous
Serve to friends or family along with a nice red wine. Make sure to pile the lamb, fruits and nuts on top of the couscous while putting the potatoes on the side for a beautiful presentation. For dessert, I poured each person a glass of blackberry mead. I got mine from Schramm’s.
If you’ve got some recipe ideas or want me to try and come up with something, let me know via Twitter below!