Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Canal House Cooks Every Day: Leg of Lamb and Creamy Potatoes

Leg of Lamb and Creamy Potatoes
So this is what I made for Easter... a roasted leg of lamb and potatoes simmered in cream. It was a sort of a spur of the moment decision, as I was just paging through Canal House Cooks Every Day on Saturday, trying to figure out something seasonal to cook, when I noticed "Hey, wait, it's Easter!" (Obviously I'm not very religious and past the age of chocolate bunnies) An afternoon of shopping later and I had a 5 lb bone-in leg of lamb... which is a lot of meat (and money) for a household with only one meat eater, but leftover lamb is really awesome. One of the few foods that is just as good (or better) cold.

Leg of Lamb After

I feel kind of dumb that I didn't think to sous vide the thing, but in the end, since this was the first dish I made from this cookbook it's probably best that I tried it out exactly as written. I'm not going to post the recipe since a) who really needs a leg of lamb recipe the week after Easter?, and b) as I said, I did it exactly as written with no modifications. The basic idea though, was to cut little slits in the leg and stuff them with a garlic anchovy paste. Then roast it on a rack over some coffee (yes coffee) at 350 F for about an hour and a half (for medium rare an internal temp of 130 degrees F). The use of coffee here is the brilliant bit... that's what you end up making your gravy from, and I gotta it was some of the best gravy I've ever made. You can't taste the coffee in it, but it really does add a depth and complexity I've never achieved just from pan drippings. Anyway, the whole thing turned out pretty great, but you can see here why I sort of wish I had done it sous vide:

Leg of Lamb Being Sliced

The interior looks to be a perfect medium rare, but a pretty large area of the meat is cooked to medium... which is fine, as it still quite good cooked to that point, but if I had done it sous vide it would be a perfect pink all the way through.

I should mention the potatoes before bringing this post to a close, as I've never really made potatoes like this before. Essentially it's just 8 russets cut into one inch chunks and stick of butter that is simmered in 4 cups of half and half for an hour. Pretty rich obviously, but I suppose not much more so than mashed potatoes... which is kind of what these are. Unmashed mashed potatoes. Pretty good stuff, but next time I'll cut the recipe in half... though I think just taking an immersion blender to the leftovers would make a pretty good potato soup.

So I've only made two things out of Canal House Cooks Every Day, but so far I'd say it's a pretty good cookbook... obviously you know the pictures are incredible if you've ever been to their blog... but I'll try to cook some more out of it to get a more thorough impression.