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Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb with Couscous and Veggies 

I found a boneless leg of New Zealand lamb in the bottom of the freezer that had been there awhile.  It was over time to thaw it out and do something with it other than a butterfly grill or medium rare roast.  For inspiration, I consulted The Little Woman,  a couple Mediterranean and Indian cookbooks as well as the Gourmet Cookbook.  The Little Woman lobbied for couscous, lots of veggies and some friends just back from California.  "OK, let's do it."

The Gourmet Cookbook had a spice paste, so I made something like it in the food processor:

1        stick of cinnamon, crushed in a mortar and pistil
2T      cumin seeds
1        onion, sliced
2T      fresh ginger, peeled and diced
2        cloves, fresh garlic
3T      garam masala
1T      paprika
2t       salt
1/2C  water

1.     Place all the ingredients in the food processor and puree
2.     To prepare the dish:
  A.  If you have a vacuum packaging system:
         a.  place cleaned, dried and salted 5-6 pound deboned leg of lamb in a large sealable 
              bag and pour in the spice paste
         b.  toss all about in the bag to thoroughly cover the lamb
         c.  vacuum seal the bag and refrigerate over night 
  B.  If you don't have a vacuum system:
         a.  Place lamb in Dutch oven and spread spice paste over the lamb
         b.  cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night or longer
3.    Preheat over to 325F
4.    Place unwrapped lamb and all the spice paste in a Dutch oven and 
       roast, covered, for two hours
5.    Meanwhile, make up a basting liquid of equal parts melted butter and honey and 
       fresh lemon and lime juice (also Gourmet's idea)
6.    After two hours, uncover and baste the lamb, re-cover and return it to the oven 
       for another hour
7.    Do Step 6 again and also skim fat off the roasting liquid with a bulb baster
8.    Meanwhile, prepare a nice selection of veggies (see photo).  Ours included cut 
       carrots, large cut celery, green peppers and chayote (more about chayote later)
       and skinned (but not blanched) pearl onions 
9.    Now after four hours, place Dutch oven on the counter and toss in the veggies
10.  Return to oven, covered, for 30 minutes, then remove the cover for the final 30 minutes
11.  Meanwhile make couscous (about 1 cup per 3 people)
12.  Now, after roasting for five hours total,  the lamb is very tender and falling apart
       and the veggies, roasted for an hour, are done
13.  To plate: 
         a.  preheat a large heavy shallow serving bowl (don't use a cold bowl)
         b.  place the lamb roast in the center and surround it with couscous and veggies
              as shown in the photo
         c.  Place the serving bowl in a warming oven while performing Step 14
14.  Quickly skim the roasting liquid and pour it unstrained into a heated sauce pitcher
15.  When ready, remove serving bowl from the oven, cut the roast open with knife and fork
       and invite guests to serve themselves with provided tongs and large spoons onto heated plates
16.  Serve with the roasting liquid and individual ramekins of cool cucumber coulis 
       (recipe to follow next posting)

(Leftovers?  Curry, of course.)


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