Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Crown Roast of Lamb (Page 499)

RECIPE #1248

  • Date: Friday, December 31, 2010 -- 7pm
  • Location: Westerville, OH
  • Kitchen: Karen and Dave's House
  • Dining Companions: Matty, Dave, Karen H, Brad, and Deniz
  • Recipe Rating: B+

My parents and my special gentleman's parents both do not like lamb. My special gentleman and I have long been puzzled by this fact, as lamb is delicious. It's true that lamb prepared badly can be really bad, much more so than with beef, for instance. But lamb prepared nicely is absolutely divine. This was the last lamb recipe I had left to make for my project, and I would have made it long ago, but crown roast of lamb isn't so easy to find. When I saw it at the Whole Foods near my in-laws' house, I was desperate to buy it. But first, we had to talk them into letting us make lamb for dinner! Luckily, they are very open-minded about trying things, and were willing to consider the possibility that the lamb they had in the past just hadn't been cooked well. Plus, we promised to make another dish to go with this one that they were certain to like: Bouillabaisse! So, a New Year's Eve feast was born. We had crown roast of lamb. We had fish stew with lobster in it. We had porcini risotto, and a big salad. We had a caramelized pear tart. It was a feast fit for New Year's Eve!

This recipe was super-simple to make. I rubbed the crown roast with a mixture of garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper. I put a ball of foil in the center to help it hold its shape. I also covered the bone ends with foil. I roasted it in the oven until it reached an internal temperature of 135 degrees. While it rested I deglazed the pan with beef stock. I added thyme, rosemary, arrowroot, cream, and port, and boiled until it was thick. I seasoned with salt and pepper. I served the crown roast with the pan sauce. That was it! This lamb was tasty. It was cooked nicely and the herb rub contributed a good flavor to the meat. The pan sauce was delicious. I gave this one a B+ rather than an A- only because there are much better lamb recipes out there. In particular there are more than a few lamb recipes in The Book which are more interesting and delicious than this dish. I liked this dish a lot, but it wasn't spectacular, and I doubt I will make it again. That said, it did convince my in-laws that not all lamb is bad! They seemed to like it a lot actually. That's an outcome of the meal that I can feel good about: convincing a couple people that lamb can be tasty!

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I grew up in Wisconsin, and we occasionally had snow days when I was a kid (or sometimes, cold days). I definitely remember being excited when school would get canceled for snow. But I certainly don't remember ever being as excited as I was this evening when I found out that classes at MSU are canceled tomorrow! I did a dance. I sang a song about it. More than once. My special gentleman thought it was so funny that periodically throughout the evening he asked, "Hey, did you hear tomorrow is a snow day?" just so that he could see my song and dance again. Don't get me wrong, I love my job. But I have been very busy lately. And while I planned to take some time to relax this weekend, I ended up working a lot. Plus, Wednesdays are long days for me. I have two and half hours of office hours in the morning, which are usually quite populated with students as both my classes have homework assignments due Wednesday afternoons. I have 15-20 minutes scheduled to eat lunch between my office hours and when I teach, but often that amounts to eating granola at my desk while helping someone finish their assignment. Then I lecture an hour of calculus and an hour of "Foundations of Higher Mathematics," which is an introduction to proofs class, mostly populated by future elementary school teachers who are majoring in math. My two hours of lecture are followed almost immediately by two hours of seminars (first the algebra seminar, then the topology seminar), and often we go out to dinner with the speaker after the latter seminar. By the time I get home I am tired, and I haven't yet had any time in the day to work on my own research. So, if there is one day of the week when a snow day really helps me out, it's Wednesday. Tomorrow I am going to stay in my pajamas all day. I am going to drink hot chocolate while working in front of the fire. Thursday I don't have to teach and I don't have any appointments, so if it's still snowing I will stay home then too. That gives me two days to do some intensive work, without any distractions. Just thinking about it makes me want to do my snow day dance again! Supposedly they haven't called off classes at MSU because of snow in more than 20 years. But I am pretty delighted that they did now!

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