Fall Dinner Party With Leg Of Lamb As The Star

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Leg of lamb can sound daunting. But it doesn’t have to be.Butterflied leg of lamb is easier to carve than one with the bone in. Ask the butcher do it for you if you aren’t comfortable with doing it yourself.

Considered a special occasion protein, lamb is an excellent entrée to serve at a dinner party. The rich bulgur casserole is an ideal healthy side dish. As a bonus, leftovers will make a delicious salad or a healthy addition to vegetable soup.

Bon appétit!

Butterflied Leg Of Lamb With Onions, Turnips, And Carrots(Serves 8)1 6- to 7-pound leg of lamb, trimmed of fat and butterflied

1 large onion, peeled and sliced

10 large cloves garlic: 6 cloves smashed and 4 cloves slivered

6 sprigs of fresh rosemary, plus extra for garnish

6 fresh sprigs fresh summer savory or thyme

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 cup full-bodied red wine

35 small white onions, peeled and root-end pierced with an “X”

12 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch ovals

8 white turnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch ovals

1 cup good quality beef stockTo prepare:One day ahead, or at least 6 hours before serving, place sliced onions in a non-reactive shallow pan.

Place herbs on a cutting board and with the flat side of a heavy knife, smash the whole garlic and bruise the herbs.

Toss the herb mixture with the onions.

Cut slits in the butterflied lamb and poke slivers of garlic into each hole, then season with salt and pepper.

Place meat in the pan, rolling it in the herb/onion marinade on both sides.

Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in refrigerator.

About one hour before cooking, remove lamb from the marinade and pat it dry with paper towels.

Roll and tie the lamb together with cotton kitchen string using a butcher’s knot, about 1 inch apart.

Transfer the herbs and onion from the marinade to a cutting board and mince together.

Add salt and pepper.

Rub the minced herbs on the meat to form a crust.

Place the lamb on a rack set in a roasting pan.

Approximately 2 hours before serving, preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

Add wine to the bottom of the pan.

Place lamb in the oven and roast until brown on all sides, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake, turning every so often as the top browns, basting with some of the juices in the bottom of the pan.

Continue roasting until a meat thermometer registers 125 to 130 degrees, then bake another 45 minutes for medium rare.

Note: After fifteen minutes of roasting the lamb, scatter carrots, turnips and onions around the lamb, add stock if necessary, and return the lamb/vegetables to the oven, baking until the vegetables are tender to the point of a fork.

Remove lamb from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes in a warm place before carving.

Transfer meat to a cutting board and vegetables to a warm bowl.

Drain pan juices into a saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil.

Skim off fat and reduce to 1 cup.

Transfer to a small pitcher or gravy boat.

To serve, carve the lamb into thin slices and arrange on a platter surround with vegetables.

Garnish the platter with sprigs of fresh rosemary and serve with reduced pan juices. Bulgur Casserole(Serves 6 to 8)Olive oil, for sautéing

1 teaspoon unsalted butter

1 large onion, chopped

2 stalks celery with leaves, chopped

1 pound mushrooms, sliced

2 cups bulgur

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon sage

1 teaspoon thyme

3½ cups good quality chicken stock

1/3 cup raw almonds, roasted in dry skillet

Fistful of chopped flat-leaf parsleyTo prepare:Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Coat the bottom of a large, heavy casserole with olive oil and cook over moderate high heat.

Add butter, onions and celery.

Sauté a few minutes.

Add mushrooms, salt and pepper and herbs.

Stir and sauté until vegetables are lightly browned and softened, about 5 minutes.

Add bulgur and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add stock.

Stir well, cover and bring to a boil.

Remove from the stove top and place casserole in the oven and bake until all the liquid is absorbed and bulgur is tender, about 30 minutes.

Fluff with a fork.

Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Stir in almonds and parsley and serve at once.

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