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Serves : 10 to 12
© James Baigrie

How to Make It

Step 1    

In a food processor, pulse the basil leaves just until coarsely chopped. Add the olive oil and the coarsely ground black pepper and pulse just until a coarse paste forms. Rub the basil paste all over the lamb and set the roast on a rack set in a roasting pan. Let the roast stand at room temperature for 45 minutes to marinate. After 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 400°.

Step 2    

Meanwhile, in a small heatproof bowl, cover the dried cherries with boiling water and let stand until plump, about 30 minutes. Drain.

Step 3    

Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Roast it on the bottom shelf of the oven for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350° and roast the lamb for 1 1/2 hours longer, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the roast reads 125°.

Step 4    

Transfer the roasted lamb to a carving board, cover the roast loosely with foil and let stand for 15 minutes.

Step 5    

Meanwhile, spoon off the fat from the roasting pan and set the pan over 2 burners. Add the red wine and balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil over high heat, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes, then strain the liquid into a small saucepan. Add the beef stock and cook over moderately high heat until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 15 minutes. Add the reconstituted cherries and the butter, season the dried-cherry sauce with salt and pepper and keep warm.

Step 6    

Remove the strings from the lamb roast and cut it into thin slices. Arrange the meat on a platter and surround it with the Caramelized Red Onions. Pour the dried-cherry sauce into a bowl and pass at the table.

Chef's Notes

Veal demiglace is available at specialty food shops and can be mail-ordered from Williams-Sonoma (877-812-6235 or

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