Happy 7th anniversary SFGN! I am so proud to be a part of the SFGN family. I’ve been writing for the LGBT media for 30 plus years and SFGN is the most professionally run publication for which I’ve had the pleasure of working.
Wool is the traditional gift for the seventh anniversary, so I thought it appropriate to share some of my favorite lamb recipes (be grateful it’s not the tenth anniversary or this column would be all about cooking in aluminum foil).
Roast Leg of Lamb
A boneless leg of lamb will be easier to slice, but a bone-in leg will be more flavorful and the bone will make the base for a wonderful soup or stew.
5 pounds leg of lamb
4 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tablespoons. fresh rosemary
salt and ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 450°. Cut slits in the top (the fatty portion) of the leg of lamb every 3 to 4 inches, insert slices of garlic down into the slits. Salt and pepper generously all over the top of lamb. Place lamb on roasting pan, with several sprigs of fresh rosemary under and on top of the lamb. Roast in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 325°, roast about an hour to an hour and half or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reads 135°. Do not overcook the lamb; the flavor is best if meat is still slightly pink. Let rest at least 10 minutes before carving.
Lamb Ragu Lasagna
This is a wonderful way to use any leftover leg of lamb, simply mince the meat and replace it for an equal amount of stew meat.
Ingredients for the Lamb Ragu
3 1/2 pounds lamb stew meat, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 medium yellow sweet onion, finely diced
1 Tbs. dried oregano
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
Ingredients for the Lasagna
3 (16-ounce) containers ricotta cheese
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated
1½ cups finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
24 lasagna noodles, par boiled
To make the lamb ragu: In a large Dutch oven, cook the lamb in the olive oil until browned (this step may be eliminated if using left-over leg of lamb). Add tomatoes and their juice, tomato paste, onion, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to low and slowly simmer, covered, until the meat is very tender, 4 to 6 hours. If using a crock-pot, combine everything and cook on low 4 to 6 hours. If the sauce seems too runny, continue simmering for 5 to 10 minutes, uncovered, to thicken slightly.
To make the filling: combine the ricotta, half the mozzarella and half the Parmesan with basil, parsley, eggs, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth, cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble the lasagna.
To assemble: preheat the oven to 375˚. Spoon a little sauce on the bottom of a 14” x 10” roasting pan. Place six of the noodles on the sauce, overlapping slightly to cover the bottom of the pan. Top with one-fourth of the ricotta mixture. Spoon one-fourth of the sauce on top of the ricotta. Repeat layering process. Top with any remaining ricotta and sauce. Lightly spray a piece of foil with cooking spray, cover the lasagna, and bake until hot and bubbly and the cheese on top is melted, about 45 minutes. Switch the oven to broiler; sprinkle the top with remaining Parmesan and mozzarella slices. Position the lasagna so that the top is about 4-inches from the broiler. Broil until the cheese is crusty around the edges and blistered in spots, 3 to 5 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Curried Lamb Chops
This is a great recipe for the grill. For a nice side dish, mix cold cooked rice with cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, cashews, dill and olive oil for a light and refreshing salad.
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon curry powder
salt and freshly ground pepper
8 double lamb chops
Mix the yogurt, olive oil, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, curry powder, salt and several grinds of pepper in a large bowl. Place the lamb chops in a large baking dish, coat all sides with the marinade, cover, and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight. Turn grill to high heat, wipe excess marinade off chops and blot with a paper towel. Place the lamb chops on the hottest parts of the grill. Cook until dark grill marks form, about three minutes. Turn chops, top with remaining marinade. Grill on opposite side or until 130°F internal temperature. Transfer chops to a platter, cover with foil, and let rest at least five minutes before serving. Drizzle chops with olive oil before serving.