Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hibiscus-Marinated Leg of Lamb (Page 500)

RECIPE #1101

  • Date: Thursday, February 11, 2010 -- 7pm
  • Location: Palo Alto, CA
  • Kitchen: Emilee and Brian's Apartment
  • Dining Companions: Chris, Emilee, Brian, Sam, and Matty
  • Recipe Rating: A-

There are a lot of recipes in The Book for big pieces of meat. I feel silly making such recipes for just me and my special gentleman so I tend to save them for larger gatherings. In particular, I often make them for big family dinners, either with my family or my special gentleman's. I have prepared many large pieces of beef and pork for our families, and everyone was delighted. Both my parents and his, however, have this idea that they don't like lamb. Perhaps it is true, perhaps they really don't like lamb. But my guess is that they have just never had good lamb. Lamb is one of those things that can be REALLY bad when it is bad, and REALLY good when it is good. I think a lot of people encounter several bad lamb preparations early in life and decide that they don't like it. But lamb can be so delicious! Since I have less of an audience for it, a disproportionate number of lamb recipes remain unmade. Luckily, Emilee, Brian, and Sam are on the same page as me and my special gentleman when it comes to lamb (and that page is: YUM!), so I am taking advantage of our dinners with them to knock out some of the lamb recipes. The lamb also gives a nice, and very welcome, break from the All Seafood All The Time Plan.

I made this lamb preparation last week for dinner at Em and Brian's. As I said above, I love lamb, but I was a little skeptical about this recipe. It had only a few ingredients: a whole leg of lamb, garlic, salt, pepper, oil, butter, jelly... all sounds delicious enough, right? Oh, I forgot one: an entire box of Red Zinger tea! Hahaha. I like Red Zinger, I really do. But the marinade for this lamb was 20 bags of tea steeped in just 4 cups of water. It smelled like the most potent Red Zinger you can possibly imagine. The marinade also had some garlic, peppercorns and sugar in it, and I marinated the lamb in the dark purple mixture for 24 hours. Then I took the lamb out of the marinade (reserving my super-strong Red Zinger mix), pat it dry, rubbed it with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. I roasted the leg to 125 degrees then let it rest to 135. I deglazed the roasting pan with the super-strong Red Zinger, and boiled until the marinade reduced to a cup (Yes, I reduced the 20 tea bags steeped in 4 cups down to 1 cup!). I whisked in some red currant jelly, salt, pepper, and butter, then strained the sauce into a sauceboat and served it with the lamb. Despite my skepticism, this recipe fell soundly into the YUM category. The leg was nicely cooked and it looked gorgeous (the picture above doesn't even do it justice!). The marinade gave the meat a great flavor, which didn't reek of Red Zinger at all. And much to my surprise even my super-strong Red Zinger tea turned sauce was delicious! It was rich and flavorful and went beautifully with the lamb. It was definitely a crowd pleaser. Even our dining companion Sam (just shy of 2 years old) was a fan -- he devoured a shocking number of "meat bites."

I almost wish we had forced this recipe on one of our sets of parents. Perhaps we could have gotten them to come around about lamb...

The recipe is here.

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