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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Hitting It Out of The Ballpark

I have to tell you that  I totally kicked ass on the Passover dinner on Friday night.  It's not every day that I turn out something so delicious that I actually kvell from the wonderfulness of it.  In fact, I'm usually my harshest critic.  But Friday night's Passover season opener was a home run.  (The baseball references are for Ted and Charlie who are strapping in for another season of great disappointment courtesy of the Pittsburgh Pirates.)

I made Melissa Clark's Pot Roasted Lamb with Meyer Lemons.  This recipe was so easy it barely qualified as cooking.  A little marinating, a little searing, a little zesting and juicing, and an hour or so on the oven and I had a dish worthy of Elijah's visit.

I have to admit that I am generally unmoved by Passover fare.  Sure, the soup is nice and so are the macaroons.  But most everything in between is just that -- in between.  But this lamb dish may well distinguish itself as the MVP of Passover main courses.

For those of you who are not Pesach people, fear not.  This would be a lovely dish to serve for Easter (next year) or for any festive springtime dinner.

Now you can hit your own spring holiday home run.

Recipe:  Pot Roasted Lamb with Meyer Lemons
(Cook This Now, 2011, by Melissa Clark)

*  Note:  I made this the day before I wanted to serve it so that I could completely degrease the sauce.  Once the lamb is cooked, remove it from the sauce and refrigerate separately from the sauce.  Refrigerate the sauce overnight and then skim off the fat before reheating.


5 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon plus 1 pinch kosher salt
1 (3 1/2 - 4- pound) boneless lamb shoulder, untied
1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 Meyer lemons
1/3 cup live oil


Mince 2 cloves garlic.  Using a mortar and pestle or the flat side of a heavy knife, pound or mash the minced garlic with a pinch of salt until it turns to a paste.

Season the lamb all over with the salt and pepper and rub the garlic paste into the meat.  Place the meat in a large bowl or pan, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.  Let the meat come to room temperature for 1 hour before cooking it.

When you're ready to cook the lamb, preheat the oven to 325.  Finely grate the zest of both lemons and reserve; juice the lemons.

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven until almost smoking.  Sear the lamb in the oil until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.  Pour the lemon juice over the lamb and add enough water to come halfway up the sides of the meat (about 2 cups).  Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat.

Cover the pot, transfer to the oven, and cook for 45 minutes.  Meanwhile, mince the remaining 3 cloves of garlic.  Turn the meat over in the pot and add the garlic.  Cover and cook 15 minutes longer.  Then stir in the reserved lemon zest and continue to cook, uncovered, 15 minutes longer.

Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving, with the pan juices spooned over the meat.

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