There’s the soft thump of snow outside which offers no sign of abating. Lovely large flakes that spiral down joining the rest on the lawn, the shrubbery, and the trees. The grey afternoon feels cloistered and hushed as the street lights come on, capturing the swirls in their glow.
This time of winter calls for comfort, for a sighing and popping fire and of thick Nordic blankets on the settee. Earlier in the afternoon, as the sky turned woolen, thoughts turned to food and of something slow and warming.
Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb
A leg of lamb, about 5 lbs
For the Imperial rub:
Garlic- 2 cloves
Sea salt- a nice tablespoon
A dash of paprika
Cumin- a full tablespoon
Fresh thyme leaves- 2 generous table spoons
Olive oil- 2 full tablespoons
Butter- a thick slice
Set your oven to 325. Make the rub. Peel the garlic cloves, then lightly crush them with the salt, using a pestle and mortar or a spoon (if you must). Mix in the paprika, cumin, and thyme. Gradually add the olive oil so you end up with a nice thick paste. Melt the butter in a sauce pan and stir into the paste.
Chuck the leg into a deep cast iron casserole or roasting pan and rub it all over with the paste. I use my hands but the back of a spoon will do nicely. Put it in the oven and leave for 35 minutes. Then put in 1 cup of water and baste the lamb with the liquid. Continue roasting for 3 hours, basting the meat every hour with the juices collected in the pan.
Remove the pan from the oven and pour off the top layer of oil, leaving the cloudy, herb infused sediment in place. Cover the pan with a lid and set aside for 10 mi uses or so.
Carve the lamb, serving with our chickpea mash, spooning the pan juices over both as you go.
Chickpeas- two 14 oz cans
1 small yellow onion
Olive oil- 4 tablespoons
Drain the chickpeas and put them in a pan of lightly salted water. Bring to a boil and then turn down to barely a simmer. You want to warm the chickpeas, not cook them further. Peel and finely slice the onion, then let it soften with the olive oil in a pan over moderate heat. The oil seems overdone but no worries. Let the onion color and then add a bit of paprika. Drain the chickpeas and mash with a potato master or, if fancy, in a food processor.
Enough for 6 and lovely with a nice deep red.
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