Hey folks! Usually it’s me (this is Shauna) tumbling the words onto the page. But Danny wanted to write this post, especially because we grilled a leg of lamb in a marinade he made, inspired by the flavors of the season. Take it away, Chef.
Hi there! Chef here. Today I’m writing this post about lamb. Not just any lamb, but lamb that comes from the Anderson Ranch down in The Willamette Valley of Oregon. The Anderson family ranch has been around for five generations, producing lamb, and they sell to some of the best restaurants in Seattle. They make some damn fine lamb.
You might be wondering about the difference between domestic lamb and Australian and New Zealand lamb. Traditionally, lamb from our friends down under was from a breed primarily meant to manufacture wool. (At least that’s according to Anderson Ranch. Some of you in Australia might have a different story on this. We’d like to hear it.) Here in the States, lamb is specifically raised for you and me to eat:) At Anderson Ranch, the lamb is grass fed, which allows the lamb to take its time to grow and not put on as much fat. Then there is the taste. For many years, Australian and New Zealand lamb was all the rage, but for me that lamb has a very gamey taste. Anderson Lamb has a much milder flavor and the gamey taste won’t take over your mouth.
(I’m partial to Colorado lamb as well. And not just because I grew up there.)
If you are feeling adventurous, take a stab at breaking down the lamb. (Excuse the pun.) Go for it! I’m sure there are some great instructional videos out there. (We might have to do one soon.) If not, you still can roast the leg whole and it will be just as good.
Here, we’re going to grill the lamb in pieces. First, we’re going to make a marinade with pomegranate molasses, fresh ginger, garlic, Dijon mustard, fresh thyme, mint, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. You might not expect to see these ingredients together, but these flavors dance very well together. They really complement the lamb.
Make sure you get the lamb all lathered up:) Let it matinate overnight in the refrigerator. When you get ready to grill the lamb, don’t throw out the marinade at the bottom of the bowl. Use it to brush the lamb during the cooking process.
Cook the leg to an internal temp of 140 to 150 degrees, then allow the lamb to rest off the grill (or out of the oven) for 10–15 minutes before you try to slice it. Let the lamb sit a little elevated on an inverted saucer so it’s not sitting in its own juices. This will allow the meat to release its juices in a nice slow process, instead of being FORCED out. It also allows the muscle to relax and the meat won’t be so tough. When you take the meat off or out of the heat, it will still be cooking on the inside. Better to err on the side of caution and pull it out a little underdone. You can always add more doneness to the meat, but you can’t take it away.
Slice thin and serve.
Here we are serving the grilled lamb with some lovely grilled summer vegetables and quinoa. Of course, this makes the entire dish gluten-free. It used to be the rule that lamb was only at its best during the spring (“Spring Lamb”), but with today’s ranching practices, lamb is available year round.
This dish is for a 10–12 pound leg of lamb. If you do buy a whole leg, you will have sufficient meat for either a large party or a good amount of leftovers.
COOK:) It’s easier than you think.
We were given this leg of lamb by the American Lamb Board. They asked 10 bloggers in Seattle to make up a new lamb recipe. There will be a competition later and the winners will be cooking with Seattle chefs. If you like this recipe, vote for it here!
GRILLED LAMB WITH POMEGRANATE MOLASSES AND BALSAMIC
10-pound leg of lamb, broken into 6 cuts (ask your butcher to do this for you)
1 cup pomegranate molasses
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 medium-sized nub fresh ginger, peeled and grated
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 large leaves fresh mint
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Preparing the lamb. Put the lamb pieces into a large bowl.
Making the marinade. Combine the pomegranate molasses, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic, ginger, thyme, mint, and pepper in a blender. Turn on the blender and run it until the ingredients combine into one smooth concoction, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Marinating the lamb. Pour the marinade over the lamb pieces. Mix it up with your hands until each piece is coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight, preferably for 24 hours.
Grilling the lamb. Take the lamb pieces out of the marinade. Reserve the marinade for later use. Fire up the grill until it’s screaming hot. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Lay the lamb pieces down on the grill and cook until the bottom is seared, with a nice char on it, about 7 to 8 minutes. Flip the lamb pieces. Brush with the remaining marinade. Cook until the lamb has reached an internal temperature of 140° for medium-rare lamb. (The timing on this is going to depend on the thickness of the meat you have and the power of your grill. Be sure to watch the lamb carefully. The sugars in the marinade could burn easily, if you’re not watching.)
Take the lamb off the heat. Set a saucer upside down on a large platter and lay the lamb down on the sides of the saucer. Let the lamb rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing it.
Slice it up!
Roasting the lamb. If you don’t have a good barbecue, or you’re finding this recipe later in the year, you can also roast the leg of lamb. Make the same marinade. Slather it all over the leg of lamb. Refrigerate for 24 hours. Heat the oven to 500°. Put the lamb in a roasting pan. Put the lamb into the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes. Turn the heat down to 350°. Brush the remaining marinade on the lamb occasionally. Roast until the lamb has reached an internal temperature of 140°. Let it rest in the same fashion described above.
Cook some lamb!