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Meaty Ore
Dec 17, 2011

My God, it's full of cat pictures!

My wife and I are celebrating our anniversary today, so I thought I'd be a little festive and knock out something for an NICSA while I was at it. There's not much booze added to the actual lamb, so I made a side dish alongside it to up the alcohol content a bit. The general idea for the lamb is that it's butterflied and rolled up with a prune/currant/creme de cassis mixture, then served with a fig sauce.

Anyways, here's the spread:

That's a lot of stuff. First, there's a lot of chopping up of herbs, prunes, and almonds to be done.

Prunes and dried currants.

Thyme, rosemary, coriander, salt and pepper.

Almonds and mint.

Next thing to do is add the creme de cassis to the dried fruits, and mix in the almonds and mint. This gives us our stuffing for the lamb.

At this juncture I would like to take the opportunity to bitch about how difficult it is to find good creme de cassis. All that's available to me here is lovely Hiram Walker(pictured) or lovely DeKuyper. At any rate, here's our stuffing completed:

This is our leg of lamb. I'm generally pretty big on getting bone-in roasts whenever possible, but I made an exception here because removing the bone from an uncooked lamb leg is a gigantic pain in the rear end.

Here it is butterflied and with the stuffing and about half the herbs spread on it:

Sorry for the lovely picture quality; the lighting changed on me and I couldn't get a good picture. At any rate, the next step is to roll and tie the roast, a task at which I have always been horrible. I think it turned out pretty good this time, however.

Rub on some olive oil, stuff some garlic into slits on the roast, and spread the rest of the herbs, and we're ready for the oven.

This is going in the oven at 400 degrees. While it's preheating, I'm getting the side dish ready: roasted vegetables in a light dressing. I'm only using three vegetables: beets, carrots, and fennel. Prep is easy: cut and peel as necessary and put in a glass roasting dish. In the past, I've had problems with roasted vegetables drying out excessively, so I'm trying an experiment: adding a little water to the bottom of the roasting dish and covering it with foil. This should help retain moisture.

Looks good. This will be going in with the roast and removed after one hour. During that time, I'll be making the dressing. And with so much goddamn fennel, what else are we going to base our dressing around than absinthe?

Oh dear.

Looks like anise doesn't live here anymore. Or soon won't, at any rate.

This is everything going into the dressing. The remaining ounce of absinthe (this is strongly flavored stuff; a little goes a long way and isn't easily overpowered), a little cider vinegar, some parsley and about a teaspoon of caraway seed, which I thought would add some interesting woody notes to the finished dish.

Our finished light dressing. Looks like I didn't need as much parsley as I thought I did. This took about fifteen minutes to mix up after putting everything in the oven, leaving us about 45 minutes to kill while the vegetables finish. And there are a few drops left in the bottle, just enough to coat the inside of a glass. We only have one option:

Make a Sazerac. Rinse a glass with the little remaining absinthe (there was just enough to do this), drop in a couple of sugar cubes and give them a couple of dashes of the Peychaud's bitters. Muddle them with a splash of water, add a couple ounces of brandy (rye can also be used, or a mixture of the two; I've seen recipes all three ways), and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Chill in the refrigerator or add ice cubes, and when you're ready, twist a slice of lemon peel over it and toss in. Enjoy.

So I mixed it up a little lazily and haphazardly. Call it an ersatzerac if you want to. It still tastes good.

After an hour, our vegetables are looking pretty good. I'll call the experiment a success. They can sit a while and cool a bit before I cut them up;

that roast isn't going anywhere but back into the oven for a while. We can start the prep work for the fig sauce.

Or not. poo poo. I need a half cup of balsamic vinegar, and have only about a quarter. Nothing for it but to make a quick run out to the store. Glad I hadn't started drinking my drink yet.

Much better. I also cut up figs and basil, but in my haste forgot to take pictures of them. Sorry. On the upside, the roast is ready to come out of the oven.

Perfect. This will cook a little more as it sits out while we make the sauce.

First, boil the vinegar until it reduces a bit. Then start stirring in sliced figs, honey, and butter.

Once the butter is melted, turn off the heat and stir in the basil.

So that's done. Vegetables are as easy as chopping them up, putting them in a bowl and tossing with the dressing.

Damned beet juice gets loving everywhere. But we're ready to bring everything to the table.

The finished roast, ready to serve.

Served with white sparkling wine rather than something sensible for lamb like a merlot or zinfandel because it's the only wine my wife likes. The sacrifices I make to keep her happy.

So, have a shot of everything plated up and ready to eat:

My wife and I really like this. It's definitely very sweet, maybe too much for some, but I find it balanced out by the strong savory flavor of the lamb, and going easy on the amount of ingredients keeps it from getting too cloying. Very rich and a good dish for special occasions. As for the vegetables, they were not too bad. I think I made too many vegetables for the amount of dressing I had; it seemed spread a bit thin. Where I could taste it, however, it had a nice acidic tartness to it that complemented the vegetables quite well. And as I suspected, the caraway seeds added some woodiness to the dish and I felt were a nice touch. I just need to fiddle around with the ratio of vegetables to dressing, maybe just a little sugar or more beets to tone down the tartness a bit.

Meaty Ore fucked around with this message at Jul 22, 2014 around 21:22


Meaty Ore
Dec 17, 2011

My God, it's full of cat pictures!

poo poo, forgot to add NICSA to the thread title. Can a mod fix this?

bloody ghost titty
Oct 23, 2008


Flavoring pairings: classic. Rocking the domestic absinthe in a sazerac: patriotic. Big rear end lamb roast? Drooling.

Lady what won't drink red wine? I bet she makes up for it elsewhere. She had better.

Jan 2, 2012

This space for Rent.

"Anise doesn't live here anymore" is inspired.

Meaty Ore
Dec 17, 2011

My God, it's full of cat pictures!

Thanks The meal was good, but puns are really what I do best.

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