Sunday, December 25, 2011

Lamb for Levi!

Three weeks ago, my sister gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy named Levi. She lives out in Colorado, so I flew from NY to go visit and see my little nephew. He is CUTE!! Obviously, I'm biased being that he's my nephew, but he is a really cute little baby.

On top of Levi being born, my father was celebrating his birthday that weekend as well (and my brother in law's birthday was later in the week, December birthdays abound!) As my father and I are accustomed to do, we decided to make a delicious meal in CO to celebrate all of the momentous occasions surrounding our visit. We decided on a nice Colorado boneless leg of lamb with butternut squash risotto and green beans. If you're reading this on Christmas, and you can find a store that's open, you still have time to make this dish!

To start the dish, you want to marinate the lamb in rosemary, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. This gives the meat a nice strong flavor. It's a classic lamb preparation, and it is very, very good. I serve it with a tzaziki sauce that gives a nice tangy flavor to balance the richness of the meat.

For the risotto, a nice butternut squash puree adds a rich, warm flavor that brings the dish to another level. You can even have this as a main dish if you're not a meat eater.
Risotto is not a very difficult dish to make, just very time consuming as you have to stir the rice basically the whole time it cooks.

For the green beans, a simple preparation makes for a tasty and healthy side that goes well with the rosemary flavors of the lamb.

(Serves 4-6)
For the lamb:
Boneless leg of lamb (about 1/3-1/2 lb per person, but the smallest you'll likely be able to find is around 3-4 lbs)  
 4-5 sprigs of rosemary
4 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper

For the tzaziki
1 cup Greek yogurt 
2 garlic cloves minced
2 tablespoons of mint leaves finely chopped
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and pepper

For the risotto
1 cup arborio rice
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine
1 small butternut squash peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 medium onion chopped
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

For the green beans
1 lb green beans
1 lemon sliced
3-4 sprigs of rosemary
1 package of feta crumbled
Salt and pepper

To cook:
Grilled lamb
  1. Marinate in the rosemary, garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours before cooking in the fridge
  2. Remove lamb from fridge an hour before cooking to allow to get to room temperature
  3. Heat the grill to medium high, wipe the rosemary and garlic from the meat, and grill the meat for about 15 minutes per side for medium rare
  4. If roasting in the oven, heat the oven to 375, and roast lamb for 30-40 minutes
  5. Let lamb rest for 10-15 minutes so juices settle
  6. Carve and serve
Tzaziki Sauce
  1. Mix all ingredient in a small bowl and serve with the lamb
Green Beans
  1. Cut the ends off of the beans and place in a microwave safe casserole dish
  2. Add the rosemary, lemon, salt, pepper and about 1/2 cup of water (or white wine)
  3. Cover the casserole and place in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes or in the microwave for 4-6 minutes depending on desired crunchiness
  4. When cooked, sprinkle with the feta and serve
Butternut Squash Risotto
  1. Bring a saucepan with 2 cups of water to a boil and add the squash
  2. Boil the squash for 15-20 minutes until fork tender
  3. Puree the squash in a blender or food processor with some salt and pepper, set aside
  4. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and sautee the onions until starting to become translucent
  5. Add the rice and sautee until coated with oil and shimmering
  6. Heat the chicken broth in a separate pan
  7. Add the wine and stir until absorbed
  8. About 1/2 cup at a time, add the broth and stir until absorbed, as each 1/2 cup is absorbed, add another
  9. Once 1/2 of the broth has been added, spoon in the squash puree and the parsley and stir
  10. Add the remaining broth 1/2 cup at a time until rice is fully cooked through and soft

No comments: