Thursday, June 5, 2008

Roast lamb with almonds; lamb giouvetsi

I recently had my friends Charet and Marco over for Sunday lunch. For dessert, I served my Daring Bakers Opera Cake. However, for the main meal, I served roast lamb - but not just any old roast lamb. I marinated my lamb using a recipe by Karen Martini from Where the Heart Is.

The marinade gave the lamb an interesting flavour which made it a little more special than if I had just roasted it in the oven seasoned with salt and pepper. Although I personally would have cooked the lamb for longer than recommended by Karen (as I found it too rare for my taste), I enjoyed this dish, and my guests said they did too.

To make this lamb dish, you will need:

2kg boned leg of lamb
fresh basil
fresh oregano
2 bay leaves
8 cloves peeled garlic
1/2 cup vegetable oil
zest and juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup almond meal
salt and pepper

Put the basil, oregano, bay leaves and garlic in a food processor and blitz until chopped up finely. Add half the oil, the zest and salt and pepper to taste, and blitz until well combined. Finally, add the almond meal and blitz, then place the mixture into a bowl. Stir through the other half of the oil and the lemon juice.

Score the fat on the lamb with a knife, then rub the marinade all over the lamb. Place in a plastic bag and allow to marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

The next day, preheat your oven to 230 degrees Celsius, and bake the lamb in the oven for 25 minutes. Turn down the heat to 180 degrees Celsius, and continue to bake the lamb for at least another half an hour (or if you like your lamb cooked more than medium rare, bakeit for longer).
Once the lamb is cooked, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for about 20 minutes before carving. I served it with baked potatoes, pumpkin, parsnips and carrots seasoned with salt, pepper and oil, and twice cooked beans in tomato sauce.

One of the problems that you have with a large piece of meat and only three people is that you have a lot of meat left over. For a couple of nights, I was content to continue to eat roast lamb. However, I soon became quite sick of the same thing every night. That is when Peter of Kalofagas came to the rescue with his recipe for lamb giouvetsi. Hooray!

If you would like to make your own lamb giouvetsi, you can find the recipe here on Peter's site.

I had all of the ingredients except for the pasta, which I picked up at the grocery store. Unfortunately, my grocery store does not sell Greek pasta (orzo), but I figured that risoni would be very similar, so this is what I used. It also does not sell Greek cheese, so I used grated cheddar. My final variation was to use vegetable stock instead of lamb stock, because I had a huge carton of it in the cupboard that I bought in a fit of false enthusiasm for a risotto that never was.

Finally, I wanted to show off my wedding gift for Charet and Marco that I completed when I wasn't cooking, blogging or off on some other project. It is the largest single piece of cross stitch that I have completed to date. As you can see from the date on this piece, Charet and Marco were married about a month ago, and I bought them a bottle of French bubbly to enjoy on the big day. However, I only finished sewing this last night after about 2 months of on and off work. It took much longer than I anticipated - when I finished the cross stitch, I hadn't counted on how much back stitch there was, and how long it would take me to complete it.

There are a few mistakes in this piece where I wandered from the pattern, but you can't tell from looking at it (relief!). However, it was not a good idea to go off on a tangent, simply because it made everything harder as I could no longer follow the pattern exactly. As a result, I had to take a fair bit of artistic licence by following the picture on the packaging to complete the piece. I have now mounted and framed this piece, and intend to give it to the happy couple when I next see them. I hope that they like it!


Peter M said...

Wow, Cake...a 2 recipe bonus entry! The lamb marinade sounds wonderful and I do like the rare lamb in the picture.

I'm glad the Giouvetsi came to the rescue. It's a wonderful, comforting dish and it looks like it turned out well.

Thank you for trying the dish and linking back, cheers!

Mary said...

Both lamb dishes look beautiful! And so does the cross stitch. I was fairly disappointed no one made one for my husband and I when we got married.

Magnolia Wedding Planner said...

my darling!! :-D first of all a kiss wonderful is your gift for your friend's wedding is stunning! Unbelievable how perfect it is!
and great also the lamb..perfect

Anonymous said...

A lot of people don't like the taste of lamb for some reason or another, but I love it. :)
I still treasure the needlepoint you sent to me.

Happy cook said...

Wow you have put a lot of work into that cross stitch.
I am sure they are going to be happy with it.

Tammy said...

Yet another interest we have in common! I also do cross stitch!! Although havent picked mine up for nearly 12 months - I just have the backstitching to do on a huge alphabet which has taken me about 3 years to complete - the backstitching is quite intricate and is taking ages. I might get on to it this weekend! Yours is very cute!

Jj said...

I love the wedding gift you made - and even think it's better if it's not totally perfect, because that shows it's hand made from someone's heart!

Swati: Sugarcraft India said...

Adore the cross stitch .. Its a lot of hard work and am sure your friends will treasure it!!

Lore said...

The lamb looks great and thanks for introducing me to giouvetsi :).
I was impressed by the wedding gift you made.These days people just buy stuff and then give it away as gifts but you took the time and made it yourself. Kudos for that!

Emiline said...

The lamb looks delicious!

The wedding gift is cool - you're talented for creating that. I hate sewing with a passion.

Ivy said...

Two lovely recipes in one. I haven't sewed cross stitch for lots of years now and yet it is amazing where you find time for working, blogging and attending your sugar craft lessons. You did a great job.

White On Rice Couple said...

Todd needs to see this post. He loves lamb! I'll wait till I see him later and have him drool all over your dish!

Rosie said...

WOW two wonderful recipes the Opera cake and your wonderful cross stitch!! How lucky your friends are to have you :)

Rosie x

Mochachocolata Rita said...

loving the lamb...

and i tried cross stiching once...but oppppsss...never finished it...(embarrassed)

Dana McCauley said...

Yum! I love lamb. Must make a roast leg of lamb again sometime soon. One of my fav ways to prepare it is to make a rub from curry paste and lime zest and then serve the roast lamb with basmati rice and a fresh cilantro chatni. Delish.