Roasted Leg of Lamb

We like to reserve eating lamb for special occasions and I can’t think of a better one than Easter!  This year it’s quite early and at this point in time, less than two weeks away!  Here is an easy recipe for a tender and delicious leg of lamb.  It takes some time to cook but it will be worth the wait.

Lamb contains high-quality protein and is a rich source of many vitamins and minerals. The most abundant ones are vitamin B12, selenium, zinc, niacin, phosphorus and iron.

3 ½ - 4 lb lamb leg, boneless, rolled and tied
5 garlic cloves, crushed
3 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
2 Tbsp. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 Tbsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp fresh ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
2. In a bowl, combine the garlic, rosemary, lemon juice, sea salt, mustard, olive oil and pepper.
3. Mix well and rub all over the lamb.
4. Place the lamb on a roasting rack.
5. As soon as you place it in the oven, close the door and turn down the heat to 350 F.  
6. Roast for 3 hours.
7. Remove the lamb and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving. Enjoy!

Have a blessed Easter, everyone!

Roast Pork with Dijon, Rosemary and Garlic

On the rare occasion that I cook pork, this is my go-to recipe.  This simple roast is easy to prepare and has a lot of flavor.  It makes a great leftover as it is also delicious eaten cold.  Just like with the beef roast, I soak the pork in a saltwater brine for a couple of hours prior to cooking.  I found this recipe on iVillage.com.

Ingredients 

1 boneless pork loin roast
¼ cup Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp sea salt
1 Tbsp black pepper, crushed
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped (or 1 Tbsp dried)
3 garlic cloves, minced

Preheat the oven to 325 F.
Rinse the roast and pat dry with paper towels.
In a bowl, combine the mustard, sea salt, pepper, rosemary and garlic.
Rub the mixture over the roast.
Place roast, fat side up, in a roasting pan and cook for about 2 to 2 ½ hours, or until internal temperature reaches 150 F.
Once removed from the oven, let rest for 15-20 minutes.  Slice and serve.

Beef Roast - Best Ever

Red meat has been unfairly blamed for many diseases of the western world.  It is actually healthy and nutrient-dense, given it is grass-fed, organic and consumed in moderation.  Remember to always eat red meat alongside a generous serving of vegetables.  Red meat is a good source of the B vitamins, especially B-12, and minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium, copper, cobalt, phosphorus, chromium, nickel and selenium.

I want to stress that there are significant differences in the quality of grass-fed versus conventional red meat.  Conventional meat comes from cows fed an unnatural diet of corn and other grains, which changes the fat and nutritional content of the meat, creating an unbalanced ration of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids.  Conventional meat also contains antibiotics, hormones and steroids.  So, when possible, always choose grass-fed, organic meat.

Around here we like our beef.  However, in the past, my roasts would always turn out dry and lacking flavor.  This kept me from preparing beef roasts as often as I would like, until I did some research and picked up a few helpful tips.  Now I get a foolproof (tender, juicy, and flavorful) roast every time!

Brining the meat in a saltwater mixture before cooking adds flavor and tenderizes the meat.  Searing the roast at a high temperature gives it a well-browned, crusted surface.  Then the continued roasting at a lower temperature prevents shrinkage, and adds more flavor, juiciness, tenderness.  Lastly, roasting fat side up will provide continuous basting as the fat melts and runs down the sides.

Ingredients

1 beef round roast
3 Tbs. melted butter
2 Tbs. favorite herbs (I recommend Herbs de Provence, 21 seasoning, and dry parsley)
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper

Instructions

Soak the roast in a saltwater brine, about one hour for every pound. The ideal proportion is 1 cup of salt to a gallon of water.  I never use an entire gallon, just enough to cover the roast, so I end up eyeballing the salt and really going by taste.  It should taste like seawater.  You can add a bay leaf and a few peppercorns to the brine.

Preheat oven to 450F. Remove that roast from the brine, pat dry and rub with the melted butter followed by the herbs, salt and pepper. 

Place roast, fat side up, in a roasting pan and into the oven for 20 minutes.  Turn off the oven and DO NOT open, as it needs to retain the heat.  Original recipe says to keep the roast in the oven for 20 minutes per pound of roast.  I let my oven cool completely, about 2 hours, before removing.  The roast comes out very tender and just a little pink in the middle.  The most important part is not opening the oven or removing the roast until the very end.  Once removed from the oven, let it sit for about 15 minutes before carving.