Andrew Zimmern dresses simple roast leg of lamb with a tangy, bright side of pickled cherries.
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup water
One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced crosswise
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 small cinnamon stick
1 star anise pod
1 bay leaf
1 pound Bing cherries, pitted
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced rosemary
2 tablespoons minced thyme
One 4 1/2-pound semi-boneless leg of lamb, at room temperature (shank end;
hip bone removed)
How to Make It
Step 1 Make the Cherries
In a medium saucepan, combine all of the ingredients except the cherries and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Let cool completely, then add the cherries and let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours. Drain the cherries and transfer to a bowl; discard the brine.
Step 2 Meanwhile, Make the Lamb
Preheat the oven to 400° and set a rack on a baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil with the garlic, rosemary and thyme. Season the lamb generously with salt and pepper. Rub the garlic-herb oil all over the lamb and transfer it to the rack.
Step 3 Meanwhile, Make the Lamb
Roast the lamb for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 130°. Transfer the lamb to a carving board and let rest for 30 minutes. Carve the lamb and serve with the pickled cherries.
If you can find it, try using milk-fed lamb that's about eight weeks old. The legs will be very small (a few pounds), but do several and cook them for a little less time. If you are using spring lamb, don't go for anything older than three-to-five months, born in late winter or early spring. These should weigh about 4 pounds with the aitch bone and shank off.
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