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Vinny Had a Little Lamb

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Leg of lamb rubbed with spices and my special muscadine syrup
roasted with apricots, lemons and olives.

Funny Motivational Speaker makes lamb

Rubbed with harissa and my special muscadine syrup it’s spicy, it’s sweet, it’s salty, it’s tart, it’s delicious!

Ingles sold this leg minus the shank depriving the dog across the street of a great treat. They sell the shanks separately and I had nothing to hang on to when slicing the lamb.   When you look at this photo this could be any type of roast. The shank bone defines the meat as lamb. Oh well, it was still outrageous.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts I’m a wimp when it comes to hot spices. I therefore cut the hot Moroccan harissa with the sweetness of a muscadine syrup. The muscadine grape is indigenous to the Southeaster US and .  sweetness to. I also when wild inserting thin slivers of garlic all over the lamb. It certainly paid off.

Muscadine Syrup
you can make an advance and use for a number of treats including a substitute for Crème de Cassis in a Kir Royale.

2 Cups natural 100% muscadine juice
1 Cup Sugar
1/3 cup hot water
1/3 cup cognac or brandy

Combine the sugar and water and heat in a sauce pan until the sugar is dissolved. Add the juice and continue bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until reduced to 1 cup, about 20 minutes. Add the cognac and simmer another couple of minutes. The longer you cook the mixture the thicker it will become. You won’t know how thick until it has cooled.

Preparing the Lamb
One 6-8 pound semi-bonless leg of lamb
3 large cloves of garlic thinly sliced
Kosher salt
1/4 cup harissa (I bought mine online)
1/4 cup muscadine syrup
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 springs of thyme
2 tablespoons sugar
1 lemon, very thinly sliced
1 cup pitted oil-cured black olives- Kalamata olives work as alos
10 ounces dried apricots, quartered

Poke small slits all over the lamb and place a slice of garlic deep inside each. Season the lamb all over with salt. Mix the harissa, 1/4 cup of olive oil and the muscadine syrup together and rub all over the lamb making sure the seasoning gets into the garlic slits. Spread the thyme springs on top and place in a large plastic bag to marinate in the refrigerator overnight.  Place the lamb on a rack in a roasting pan and bring the lamb to room temperature before roasting.

Sprinkle one tablespoon of sugar and one tablespoon of salt on a baking sheet and arrange the lemon slices on top. Now sprinkle another tablespoon of sugar and salt on top and drizzle olive oil over the lemons, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator over night. Before using drain, rinse and pat dry.

Pour 2 cups of water in the bottom of the roasting pan and place in a 325 degree oven. For an 8 pound lamb roast for 2 hours adding additional water to the pan if it dries out. Transfer the lamb to a plate and remove the rack. Add the apricots, lemons and olives to the pan and return the lamb and roast for an additional 30 minutes or to an internal temperature of 130-135 degrees. Transfer the lamb to a cutting board, tent with foil and let stand for at least 30 minutes. Before slicing the lamb lay the apricot, lemon and olives on top of the lamb so you can take a picture. Slice and serve with couscous.


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