Sunday, January 21, 2007

Rotisseried Leg of Lamb With Rosemary-Garlic Paste Filling

This group of recipes should be entitled Christmas Redux. Late in getting them posted, I try nonetheless to keep my promises--even though in the world of blogging, Christmas is SO past.

This post is dedicated to Mr. CC and son Josh who not only love a good leg of lamb but who also were a tremendous help in my kitchen over Christmas, keeping a close eye on the roasting lamb amidst the cacophany of company, laughter and merriment.

If I had to pick just three foods in all the culinary queendom to combine into a meal, they would be garlic, rosemary and lamb. Throw in a good red wine and I would want for nothing else, no matter the season:

Two boneless butterflied legs of local lamb, spread with a thick paste of garlic and rosemary, rolled, tied, or, in this case, encased in netting, and skewered to the rotisserie spit of our gas grill. Just writing these words brings back the taste sensations of Christmas dinner.

At about 3 1/2 pounds each, in a 350 degree closed grill, the legs were a perfect medium-rare in 1 1/2 hours. We let them rest for about 15 minutes then sliced and served them with a roasted winter vegetable medley of celery root, parsnips, whole garlic cloves, carrots and garnet yams, accompanied by another tray of roasted broccoli, cauliflower, fennel and more whole garlic cloves. Ya gotta have your veggies.

To make the paste, I used a golden balsamic vinegar dressing that I'd made for a dinner salad the previous night. This turned out to be the perfect vehicle for the garlic and rosemary.

Golden Balsamic Salad Dressing
Christine's original recipe
Makes 1 cup
2 ounces golden balsamic vinegar
1 heaping tablespoon dijon mustard (I use Maille)
1/4 teaspoon sugar or Splenda granular
pinch kosher salt
several grinds black pepper
3 ounces toasted walnut oil
3 ounces extra-virgin olive oil
In a measuring cup, pour in the vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper. Whisk until combined.
Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the walnut oil then the olive oil.
Keep whisking until the mixture has thickened and is fully emulsified.
Taste and adjust seasonings.

Rosemary-Garlic Paste
Christine's original recipe
Makes about 1/2 cup
3 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
1 medium head of garlic, cloves separated, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon good olive oil
2 tablespoons golden balsamic dressing
Place rosemary and garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Drizzle the olive oil then the dressing through the feed tube, pulsing all the while until emulsified. Mixture will be thick.

Rotisseried Leg of Lamb with Rosemary-Garlic Paste Filling
Christine's original recipe
Serves 8 to 10 with leftovers
2 - 3 1/2 pound boneless, butterflied legs of lamb
1/2 cup Rosemary-Garlic paste
good olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Lay the unrolled legs on a cutting board, cut side facing up.
Spread 1/2 of the rosemary-garlic paste over the entire cut surface of each leg.
Roll each leg firmly into an oblong shaped log.
Tie with string or encase in an elasticized net bag (which was provided by my butcher.)
Rub the outside of each leg with olive oil and sprinkle generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Skewer the legs onto a rotisserie spit, leaving enough space between the legs to ensure even roasting.
Have the gas grill pre-heated to 400 degrees.
Once the rotisserie has been set up and the legs are turning over the grill, lower the heat to 350 degrees, cover the grill and allow to roast until the internal temperature reaches 135 to 140 degrees for medium rare.
Remove the legs from the spit and let sit, tented loosely with foil, for about 15 minutes. During this time the internal temperature will continue to rise 5 to 7 degrees.
Slice the lamb crosswise and serve hot.

Cook's Notes:
Preparing the leg of lamb above assumes that the cook has some knowledge of how to use a gas grill and a rotisserie set up.


  1. Christmas maybe so PAST but that leg of lamb looks SOOOOO GOOOOD!
    Love the garlic and rosemary. Excellent.

  2. Looks fabulous. Love the new red color too.

  3. Ohmygawd, sooooooo beautiful!!!!! Glad you posted those. Just call it really early posting for next year. :-)

  4. Looks really tasty Christine

  5. awe, looks so gooood. Can't wait to try this one! Thanks for the post.

  6. Christine!!!!!! What a way to start posting again!! I nearly fell off my chair! What can you say, except that looks absolutely fabulous! Brava!!

  7. You guys are so wonderful. I take a break from posting, come back and there you all are, giving me support and companionship.
    I'm crying. My little dog Jack died last night. I've been so consumed with him and his illness that I stopped posting until yesterday. And then he died. And now I can't stop crying. He was my buddy for 11 years and I miss him terribly.
    Sorry about going on like this. We bloggers are such a sharing lot, aren't we?
    Anyway, I hope to be posting on a more regular basis soon. Many, many thanks to all of you for being there.

  8. Oh Christine, I am so sorry about your dog-it is like the passing of a friend. My little doggie, Miss Lilly Starbuck , is getting up there , too-your dog had to be a wonderful part of your family and always will be!Don't apologize to any of us-we all feel for you! Your post was certainly worth the wait-breathtaking!

  9. Oh Christine, I am sorry to hear about your dog. Another bogger I talk to is having health issues with her dog, too. It is so worrisome when they are sick and so sad when we lose them.

    You've spoken about Jack a lot, and I knew he meant a lot to you.

    Your blog looks lovely! I'd like to change mine, too, but I'm not sure which way to go with it.

  10. this looks great, I'll have to try. I love the garlic rosemary combo, have done a nice steak pan sauce with roasted garlic and rosemary this winter. what's the wine match here--pinot noir? a bordeaux perhaps?


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