After a rather long hiatus, I am officially back on the food grind again... with lots of great recipes to share. Just because I haven't been blogging the last couple of months doesn't mean I haven't been eating! :) And after many a delicious meal, I've decided to start with lamb and lentils -- two very yummy ingredients. I can't take credit for either of the following recipes I am going to share with you, but I truly love both and thought they might suffice in spicing up your dinner rotation. As super simple as both dishes are to prepare they look fantastic and taste as though you've been slaving over a hot stove for hours.
Some people are funny with lamb. Not me! I think it's divine. Lamb isn't something I eat everyday mind you, but on occasion and instead of the per usual beef and/or chicken, a delicious roast leg of lamb does the trick. Feel free to create your own variation on the stuffing used in this recipe depending on your taste buds. If you have a smaller/larger leg of lamb, adjust the cooking time appropriately. This recipe calls for a 3-lb boneless leg of lamb; the roasts I typically buy are about 4 pounds give or take, so I normally add 20-ish minutes to my cooking time until it reaches a nice medium to medium-rare temperature. If you prefer your lamb rare, roast until internal temperature reaches 140F. I usually take mine out around 145F -- after letting it rest for 15 minutes, it's perfectly medium.
Lentils are one of my favorite ingredients to cook and eat. They are extremely healthy and act as an elegant side dish to any meal (or could easily be the star themselves, if you feel like going veggie). Recently, I've been buying Black Beluga Lentils which don't require soaking and cook in a relatively short amount of time. You know I'm a big fan of taking recipes and making them my own, but this is one where I don't change a single thing. (Well, with the exception of the type of lentils - this is an Ina recipe and she uses French Green Lentils that require soaking.) Cook's note: For added yummyness, top with a heaping spoonful of sour cream.
Lamb Stuffed with Goat Cheese, Tomatoes and Basil
Recipe courtesy Diana Henry, Pure Simple Cooking
6 oz soft goat cheese, crumbled
6 oz sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained, and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup basil leaves, torn
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 tbsp EVOO
1 (3-lb) boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of excess fat
1. Mix everything for the stuffing together gently - break up the goat cheese but don't turn it into a paste.
2. Preheat oven to 400F. Open the lamb out like a book. Cut some pockets in the thickest parts of the meat - this just gives you extra places into which to stuff the cheese mixture. Season the flesh of the lamb liberally with S&P and spread the stuffing over it, pushing the cheese mixture into any pockets you've created. Roll up, tie with string at intervals, and season well.
3. Place in a roasting pan and roast for 15 minutes. Decrease the temperature to 375F and roast for another 50 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a carving board, cover with aluminum foil, and insulate with clean kitchen towels. Let rest for 15 minutes before slicing.
Recipe courtesy Ina Garten
1/4 c. EVOO
2 cups chopped yellow onions
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only
1 1/2 cups chopped celery (4 stalks)
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots (3 carrots)
1 tbsp minced fresh garlic
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Heat oil in large saute pan, add onions, leeks, thyme, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add lentils, celery, carrots, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Add the vinegar and season to taste.