This has been an interesting year so far, to say the least. But Easter is here and I decided to do some cooking. I purchased a 3 pound leg of lamb last week, so today was all about cooking it. I already had some potatoes, but also wanted to have onions and carrots to roast alongside the lamb. I was craving some type of spinach dish as well, so I made sure I had everything I needed, and then got to prep work and cooking.
I started by setting the oven to 400. I could then start doing the prep work, and it would be ready by the time the oven was at temperature. I put 1/4 cup of apple juice in the bottom of a roasting pan. I then added four medium sized potatoes, cut up into chunks, two onions, cut thickly, and one pound of carrots, cut in large chunks. I decided to leave the skin on the carrots. I usually peel them, but I thought that the additional “earthy” flavor that the skin might have would work well with the flavor of the lamb.
Once the veggies were in place, I made myself a mixture for the outside of the lamb. I used one tablespoon of garlic paste, 1 teaspoon of dried mint, 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary, a sprinkle of fresh ground pepper, and one tablespoon of olive oil.
I took the lamb out of the package and patted it dry. I used a knife and made a few cuts along the bottom and top. I then added the paste all around the lamb, and it was ready to go.
I started by cooking the lamb and veggies for 20 minutes at 400 degrees, then I turned it down to 325 and let it cook for another 1 1/2 hours. Once the temperature in the middle was 160, I took it out. I think it would have been better if I had taken it out when it was 135, but I was not paying attention to the fact that my lamb was a bit smaller than usual.
When there was about 10 minutes of cooking time left, I started to cook the spinach dish. More on that to come.
After I took the lamb out, I let it rest for about 20 minutes (the time it took me to bake a batch of biscuits and start plating). The lamb was still good, even though it was not medium-rare to medium, which would have been my preference.
For my spinach dish, I wanted to do a variation of a recipe that I submitted and was one of the winners for a few years ago. It was for Rachael Ray and Dannon, and I even had my recipe and my name on some of the containers of Dannon yogurt. I still think it’s pretty cool.
I started by cooking chopping up 1/2 onion, and then adding 2 tablespoons of minced garlic and one tablespoon of butter in a pan on medium high.
I then added in a one pound bag of frozen spinach that I kept in the refrigerator this morning. I cooked these together for about 10 minutes, which overlapped with the lamb and veggies being ready.
The final step was to add 3/4 cup of plain yogurt – I used Dannon non-fat yogurt. I put the temperature down to medium low and let that continue to cook until the rest of the meal was ready.
Once everything was ready, I started with my plating. The biscuit was from a box mix, and not from scratch, so no recipe for that one. The lamb was pretty good, but cooked just a little too long for my taste. The potatoes, carrots and onions were really good and tender. Not peeling the carrots ended up working well with this dish. They were still nice and soft in the center, but they weren’t overly sweet. There was some nice caramelization for the veggies that were on the bottom of the pan. The spinach dish was also really good. I wasn’t sure if I might have gone too heavy on the garlic and onions while it was cooking, but it was the perfect amount. The yogurt provided a nice balance and brought the flavors of the garlic, onions and spinach together really well.
Although I was the only one in my house, I was not alone. Many people were in my mind and in my heart. Hundreds and thousands of miles of physical space were mere millimeters in my mind. Happy Easter and stay positive!