This luscious, mole-like sauce from chef Ari Weiswasser has just the right amounts of heat, spice and sweetness to highlight the pure lamb flavor of this simply grilled cut.
Slideshow: More Recipes for Leg of Lamb
2 ounces ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup minced Spanish onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground oregano
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons plain dry breadcrumbs
1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup huckleberry or currant jam
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
One 2-pound butterflied leg of lamb
Canola oil, for brushing
How to Make It
In a heatproof bowl, cover the chiles with boiling water and let stand until softened, 20 minutes. Drain the chiles, reserving 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid. In a blender, puree the chiles with the reserved soaking liquid until smooth. Strain the puree through a fine sieve.
In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 4 minutes. Add the cumin, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and oregano and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the chile puree, sesame seeds, breadcrumbs, chocolate and sugar and bring to a boil. Stir in the tomatoes, chicken stock, jam and vinegar and bring just to a simmer. Season the sauce with salt and keep warm.
Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the lamb with canola oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, turning once, until lightly charred, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderate and grill until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 135° for medium-rare or 140° for medium, about 20 minutes total. Transfer the lamb to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve across the grain and serve with the warm ancho-huckleberry sauce.
The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Pair this grilled lamb with a richly fruity Sonoma Cabernet.
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