Solo Supper Club: Leg of Lamb

A few months ago I received an interesting email. Here's what it said:

I’m writing to gauge your interest in being a supper club host for an inaugural series hosted by the Tri-Lamb Group, a collaborative initiative of lamb producer organizations from the U.S., New Zealand and Australia which focuses on educating Americans about lamb.

I was intrigued. First, I love lamb. Whenever I am eating out, I tend to order a dish with lamb in it, especially at Indian restaurants.

In the past, I've even made a few lamb dishes: Lamb Sausage, Arugula & Fresh Mozzarella Sandwich, Polenta with Mushrooms and Braised Lamb and lamb chops.

After asking a few questions and getting satisfactory answers, I said YES.

This was the plan: on the arranged date, I'll receive a shipment of lamb, a recipe to follow, and all the other ingredients I would need to make the dish. I would then invite a few of my friends for dinner, eat, drink, talk about lamb and be merry.

Unfortunately, sometimes things don't work out as planned. The weekend of my supposed Supper Club, Hurricane Irene happened. Luckily, there was no damage in my area, but my friends understandably did not want to risk coming over for dinner in lieu of horrendous rain, wind and possibility of hurricane. I was sad, but I understood.

Thus, this was a solo supper club.

But let's talk about the lamb and this month's specific recipe: Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb.


When I read that I would have to butterfly a leg of lamb, I was more than nervous. I've butterflied shrimp and chicken, even a pork loin, but lamb is entirely a different animal. {I crack myself up.} I was up for the challenge!  As I unpacked the box shipped to me, I found the recipe, and fun ingredients for an Asian inspired marinade: soy sauce, honey, ginger, and chiles.

You basically thinly slice the Anaheim chiles, then mix them with low-sodium soy sauce, ground ginger and honey. Then in goes the butterflied leg of lamb.

When I opened the leg of lamb, I was thrilled to find out it was already butterflied. But I must be honest with you: whoever butterflied this leg of lamb, did a horrid job: look at it! Right away I panicked: there was no way this piece of lamb would cook evenly since some of the pieces were much thicker than the others. But what was I to do but continue?

The leg marinated for a few hours and then it was time to get cooking.

Since I don't have a grill, I seared the leg of lamb first, and then baked it in the oven for about 40 minutes. Just as I predicted, some of the lamb was perfectly medium rare, while other portions were overcooked.

Since I had no guests coming over, I sliced the medium rare lamb for my plate and served it with reduction of the marinade, grilled green onions (I used my panini maker) and Date, Pistachio & Scallion Rice.

Here's my verdict: I think this particular cut of lamb is better enjoyed cold. I sliced the lamb thinly the next day and added it to a French baguette smeared with mayonnaise. I also added red onions and sliced pickles: great sandwich. The rest of the lamb went into a tomato/cucumber/feta/red onion salad.

Let's see what the next two months bring: 2 boxes with surprise cuts of lamb and surprise recipes: I'm ready for them.

Before I wish you a wonderful 3 day weekend, here are some facts about lamb:

  • 3 ounce serving of lamb has only 175 calories
  • The leanest cuts of lamb include the leg, loin and shank
  • Lamb is an excellent source of protein, vitamin B12, niacin, zinc, iron and riboflavin
  • Ground lamb or stew meat should be used within 1 to 2 days
  • Lamb chops, roasts and steaks should be used within 3 to 5 days
  • Cooked lamb should be stored properly in the refrigerator and eaten within 3 to 4 days or frozen for about 2-3 months
  • For medium rare, cook lamb until it reaches 145 degrees, for medium lamb, cook it till it reaches 160 degrees and for well done, 170 degrees

What has YOUR experience been with lamb? What are your favorite cuts of lambs and favorite ways to cook with them?

Have a wonderful 3 day weekend!



Kate @ Food Babbles said...

So sorry that Irene made this a solo dinner. It looks like deliciousness that would have been lovely to share!

Velva said...

Hurricane Irene put a damper on a lot of people. Very glad to hear, all was well.

I am glad you did this post. It is so true Americans don't fully appreciate lamb-They need exposure just like this one to appreciate it.

Thanks for sharing.


Melissa Jones said...

a) I would like to come over for the next lamb night.
b) I like lamb tangine with dried apricots and a morrocan influence. (Just sayin'.)

The lamb sandwich sounds delicious, too!

Megan said...

I love lamb chops -- maybe it's part of my obsession with tiny foods. :) As you know, I have my own leg of lamb in the fridge, and I'll be grilling it up this weekend. I am hoping mine is already butterflied too... if not, Jeff will be learning how to butterfly lamb. Ha ha!

Your leftovers combined with a feta, tomato salad sounds like such a great idea. I may need to copy that.

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

This sounds absolutely delicious! I have never cooked with lamb but I do like it, in fact I like it a lot. For some reason I feel intimidated cooking it at home!

Oh and I host a lot of solo supper clubs, maybe I really should just make this for my next one ;)

nicole said...

sucks that Hurricane Irene ruined it for you! The worst part is that dinner was about the time the storm was picking up! I agree, the lamb was butchered poorly.

I've always been afraid of cooking lamb because I heard it smells horrible when cooked. Is this true?