Recipe Source: Wolfert, Paula. The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for the Passionate Cook. John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, 2003 pp. 206 - 7.
Okay, I know I've posted other pomegranate and lamb combinations before. I just can't help it. I love lamb. I love pomegranate. If I can combine the two flavors, why would I not do so? (All right - because my readers are getting sick of it, because my mom thinks I'm going to turn into a pomegranate, and because eventually all the pomegranate and lamb recipes will blend together for my tasters. I wave a dismissive hand at your logical reasons.) This recipe is also significant for another reason: this was the very first time that I used the Big Green Egg all by myself. Usually it's my husband's job to deal with the grill. Grilling has always been considered a Manly Task in my family. I can't imagine my mom working over the grill. I try and my brain just won't compute. It keeps trying to add five inches of height and a moustache. The same goes for my grandparents - on both sides. My mom's mom used to wait until my dad came over if my grandfather didn't feel like using the grill. I'm serious! I'm pretty comfortable cooking on the gas grill, and I'm very much okay with an open fire (although I haven't cooked over one since I was a very young kid.) Since I'd already broken with tradition on the gas grill, only the mechanics of using the Big Green Egg were scary.
I wouldn't be me if I hadn't made a bunch of changes to this recipe. I just went ahead and chopped a whole onion instead of measuring out one cup - onions are good for you. I also more than doubled the amount of garlic, because garlic is also good for you. I used the Big Green Egg instead of roasting indoors. This made it nearly impossible to make the gravy instructed by the recipe. Instead, I added pomegranate juice to the marinade and reduced the lot by about half. I used pomegranate juice instead of the stock called for in the recipe because I really, really did not want to dilute the pomegranate flavor. Finally, I... kind of... well, I forgot about the parsley-red onion relish dictated by the recipe. I don't think we really missed it, though, my earlier comments about onions being good for you notwithstanding. I made this dish for one of our Sunday open houses, and while less than half of the expected guests stayed for dinner there were no leftovers.
Slow-Roasted Leg of Lamb with Pomegranate Glaze (serves 8; approx. cost per serving not available)
1 boneless leg of lamb
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 finely chopped onion
10 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (you can substitute crushed red pepper or Cayenne pepper, depending on your tastes, if necessary.)
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup pomegranate juice
- Big Green Egg or other smoker. This may also be prepared, without the smoke, indoors or using a smoker box on a conventional grill, although I'm not really sure how to tell you to go about that.
- Large bowl, large enough to fit the leg of lamb.
- Tongs and spatula
- Small saucepan
- Five or six hours before you plan to serve, trim the excess fat off the lamb.
- In the large bowl, dilute the pomegranate molasses with the water.
- Add the olive oil, onion, garlic, tomato paste and Aleppo pepper.
- Add the lamb and turn to coat. Let stand for 2 - 3 hours at room temperature, turning once or twice. Note: yes, that says room temperature. If you have cats, dogs, ferrets, other household carnivorous animals, nosy children or a lot of flies, cover the bowl with a plate and keep out of reach. Keeping the meat at room temperature really helps the meat absorb the flavors faster. I suppose you could marinate it in the refrigerator overnight if you're really concerned.
- About 3 1/2 hours before serving, soak three pieces of hickory wood chunks in water. Note: if you are not using a Big Green Egg or other ceramic smoker, use the instructions for your smoker box or omit the smoke.
- About 3 hours before serving, prepare your grill for indirect heat. Set a drip pan in the appropriate place in the place setter. Heat the Egg to about 250 degrees. Remove the lamb from the marinade, reserving the marinade.
- Roast the lamb for 2 hours and 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. You can let this rest for a good long time without any sacrifice of quality.
- Increase the temperature of the Egg to 450 degrees.
- Sear the exterior of the lamb for about 20 - 30 minutes. A good target internal temperature is 130 degrees at this stage.
- Transfer the lamb to a cutting board, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 15 - 20 minutes. The internal temperature should rise to between 135 - 140 degrees during this time. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.
- Pour the reserved marinade into the small saucepan.
- Add the pomegranate juice and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce the sauce by half. Serve the sauce on the side in a bowl or gravy boat.
- Carve the meat, arrange on the serving platter and serve.