Monday, September 5, 2005

Rosemary & Garlic Studded Roast Lamb and More Kitchen Toys

The other day I was shopping for swordfish steaks at the St Lawrence Market so that I could recreate a fabulous recipe I found on Stephen Cooks. There are several fishmongers there and I looked them all over before choosing the perfect looking steaks. Unfortunately I didn’t ask the two most important questions – 1. “When did this fish come in?” or “How fresh is it?” and 2. “May I smell it?” The steaks looked white and perfect and cost $30!!! It actually didn’t smell “fishy” until it was starting to cook, but never mind….that’s another story and one I won’t be writing any time soon. Just a warning to each of us – me in particular to ask the questions when shopping.

Behind me at a butcher’s stall this beautiful, boneless leg of lamb was calling me (I will use this as my excuse for not paying more attention at the fish monger).

In preparing the roast lamb, I used some unsung heroes in my kitchen. The tools I use without even thinking. My trusty meat thermometer – for years I refused to buy one because I believed that I could judge when my roasts were ready to serve. Many were done as I liked, but many others came out overcooked and dry or so “rare” (I use the term loosely) that it had to go back in the oven, losing delicious juices in the process. Now I can’t imagine NOT using it – every roast is perfect. Tongs – I only recently started using them and not a day goes by without them. They are the extension of my arms to gently lift asparagus spears out of their steamer, toss potatoes as they roast in the oven, flip grilled vegetables and, like today, remove strings from around the roast after it’s cooked. No more burnt fingers or dirty oven mitts for me. And last, but definitely not least, my carving knife (you can only catch a glimpse of it in the photo). It’s part of my set of Henckel knives that have been with me longer than I care to tell. Although I use my 10” chef’s knife daily (it’s perfect for chopping herbs), the carving knife holds a special place in my heart. It’s been present at every holiday gathering I’ve ever hosted, perfectly slicing through roast beef, capon, lamb and brisket, ( to name just a few) like it’s butter. There are many wonderful brands of good steel kitchen knives out there just remember that the knife should feel comfortable in your hand, the solid steel blade should run completely through or become a part of the handle, and that you can feel the weight (not too heavy that it’s unwieldy, but heavy enough to really do the job at hand).

So without further ado…….. Here’s last night’s menu……..

Rosemary & Garlic Studded Roast Lamb
Roasted New Potatoes
Sautéed green beans topped with toasted slivered almonds

Fresh peaches and ice cream for dessert

Rosemary & Garlic Studded Roast Lamb

Leg of lamb, boneless, rolled and tied ( ½ lb/person) although I usually like to buy 4 lb roast even if it’s just the two of us – great cold in wraps and heated up, it becomes so many delicious things.
4 stalks of fresh rosemary (3 whole for the pan, 1 for florets to stud the roast)
2 cloves Garlic, slivered
2 tbsp Powdered mustard (I like Keen’s)
½ cup water seasoned with Maggi Seasoning (a liquid that enhances the flavor of the juices. Don’t worry if you can’t find any. I just like the smell when it’s cooking)


1. Preheat oven to 450°F/230°C

2. Stud the roast with garlic slivers and small sprigs of rosemary. To do this, use the tip of a small, sharp knife and make a slit about ½ inch deep. Press the garlic and rosemary into the slit.

3. Put 3-4 stalks of rosemary in the center of the roasting pan which should just be a bit larger than your roast. The bed of stalks should be the same size as the roast. Place the roast on the bed of rosemary and sprinkle generously with powdered mustard. I prefer Keen’s but Coleman’s is wonderful too.

4. Let the roast stand on the counter for 1 hour before roasting. This is to make sure the center of the roast comes to room temperature, otherwise it will take much longer to cook.

5. Put about ½ cup of water flavored with a dash or two of Maggi or other liquid flavoring in the bottom of the pan (This is not really necessary, but I love the smell when it cooks). Roast for 20 minutes at 450°F/230°C to seal in the juices. This is another way of searing meat.

6. Roast at 325°F/170°C for 15-20 minutes per pound depending on how well you like it cooked, basting occasionally. If the pan juices start to dry up, add just a little more water to the pan.

7. Take the roast out of the oven once it reaches the appropriate internal temperature (150-170°F/70-77°C) and let the roast stand uncovered for 10-15 minutes before carving to allow the meat to recover from the heat. The roast will be juicier and tenderer.

I love to serve it with roasted potatoes. This time of year, when new potatoes are so plentiful and tasty, I just add them around the roast during the last 40 minutes or so, sprinkled with a little salt, pepper and chopped fresh rosemary.


Shauna said...

Okay, I'm making red beans and rice at the moment. Tomorrow I'm making salt cod tart, green beans and almonds, and a flourless chocolate torte for the first time. And yet, now I have another meal in mind--this lamb! Yum.

Ruth Daniels said...

Shauna, sounds like some pretty delicous dishes. I'm going to check them out.

And yes, the lamb was delicious. There was hardly any left over.

Joe said...

I have not cooked with lamb at all - never know how/what to pick it out. I guess I should just get something and at least try it!

kitchenmage said...

apparently when you are turned loose with your tools you can turn out quite the asty looking lamb... that looks amazing... if you have lavender, try tossing some on the roasted potatoes, it'd go with that lamb beautifully...

btw, you're writing a cookbook? do tell...

Anonymous said...

That lamb looks incredible! I have been too intimidated to try cooking a large meat roast (although I love eating them and have a perfectly good meat thermometer dying of laughter in our pantry!)...but I will try soon!

We have the same tongs! Simple yet indespensible, no?

Ruth Daniels said...

Joe & Joey, there is nothing easier to make than a roast. I personally love lamb, but beef is good too.

The key to simplicity is to ask the butcher to debone and tie it. Then all you have to do is stud it, pop it in the oven and wait.

KitchenMage, thanks for writing. I do have some new potatoes that I plan on roasting tonight to go with some delicious Bourbon Peach Ribs and I do have some lavender that I never thought to use in this way, so I'm going to try it out.

As to the's filled with easy to make recipes targetted at people who are not that comfortable in the kitchen but want to be....students and 20 somethings starting to cook for the first time; those who've been cooking the same thing over and over for ages because they just don't know what else to do; and those who simply wish to be a star without much effort. It has a cooking primer section to explain terms like saute and sear as well as other important stuff. Thirdly it has some snippets of food related tales from my childhood meant to trigger everyone else's memories.

I'm aiming for publishing later this year and I'll keep everyone posted. Thanks for asking.