With the holidays quickly approaching, most people will be attending at least one family gathering or holiday party. While you'll most likely never be required to bring something, it's always good to have a quick little dish to whip up, just in case that dinner party turns into a dinner potluck. Thanks to American Lamb, I had the opportunity to take my cooking skills for a spin - and trust me, if I could make this myself and have it turn out tasty, anyone could.
You'll first want to get ready all the ingredients you will need for this dish. I wanted to do a more Asian-inspired dish with a good mix of salty and sweet, so I decided on garlic and pineapple. I remember when I was around 8 years old, my mom would always cook either pineapples or apples and combine it with salty fish fried rice to bring out the flavor so here's my 2014 spin on it!
As a side note, I wanted to keep the dish relatively simple and create a recipe that wouldn't require you to run to the supermarket to buy specific ingredients or spices.
Start with the following ingredients: Leg of lamb, minced garlic, pineapple (fresh or canned), garlic salt, pepper, and butter.
Before you begin with any actual cooking, you'll want to make sure the meat, in this case a boneless leg of lamb thanks to American Lamb, is completely defrosted. The last thing you would want is a frozen center because that would result in the lamb roasting unevenly and will turn out more rare than anticipated.
First, begin by generously seasoning both sides of your lamb with garlic salt and pepper. Be sure to rub the spices into the meet and don't worry too much about over-seasoning.
Next, heat a cast iron pan to medium-high and put in half a stick of butter. You'll want to melt the butter to the point where there's only about a 1/4" left but make sure the rest of the melted butter does not burn.
Then place your seasoned leg of lamb into the pan and allow each side to cook for approximately 1-2 minutes while spooning generous amounts of the melted butter over the lamb.
With a pair of tongs, turn your lamb on it's side and cook the circumference of the meat as well. Essentially what we are doing is cooking the outside of the lamb so that when we roast it, all the juices and flavor will be sealed within the meat.
You're ideally looking for a golden-brown color on each side of the lamb with the sides of the meat turning slightly pinkish. The smell of melted butter and garlic sizzling on the stove always brings me back to my college days. All I knew of in terms of food were sandwiches, instant mac-n-cheese, and instant ramen, but my eyes and nose were opened up when my housemate decided to cook some roasted short ribs.
My world in terms of delicious smelling things was instantly changed from that point on.
After both sides have been sufficiently browned, cover both sides with a few tablespoons of minced garlic and place into the oven to roast at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. If you like your meat cooked to a medium, which I generally prefer to meats like lamb, you'll want to allocate around 30-35 minutes per pound as a general rule.
While your lamb is roasting, prepare your pineapple by first slicing off the top.
Be sure to remove all remnants of the outer skin and definitely take your time as some of those outer skin pieces can be quite tough!
Slice and dice your pineapple chunks into medium sized pieces and cook on a grill or skillet. Another way to do this would be to slice the pineapple into whole round slices, place on top of a grill, and then dice the pineapple into chunks.
After the lamb has finished roasting to your preferences (rare, medium, well-done, or anything in between), simply remove the lamb from the oven, place onto a plate, and cover the lamb with the pineapple chunks for a healthy, yet flavorful meal. The great thing with roasting an entire leg of lamb is that after it's done cooking, you have a lot of options regarding ways to serve the lamb, whether it's slicing into medium-thick slices, or shaving it razor thin for some sandwich meat, the options are plenty.
Additionally, if I had to choose any brand of lamb, I would stick with American Lamb. With over 82,000 family-owned sheep operations through the United States, their quality is local and available year round. While American Lamb is traditionally known for its quality, flavor, and tenderness, it also lends itself very well to global flavors such as Latin, Middle Eastern, and Asian.
Once your main dish is done, bring some cinnamon graham crackers and some blood orange soda and your dish is sure to be the highlight of the night!