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Sunday Dinners, Cooking with Gordon: Leg of Lamb

CBN.com Persian Leg of Lamb with Pomegranate Marinade

1 leg of lamb, butterflied (1 ½ to 2 lb package)
1 tbl coriander
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tbl. freshly ground black pepper
10 pods cardamom (1½ teaspoons of ground)
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 tbl.  orange or lemon juice
Combine spices in a spice blender or grinder (can use a clean coffee grinder for this if you don’t have a spice grinder).   
Place the lamb flat on the kitchen counter on pan or cutting board.  Have the meaty side facing you and the fatty side on the bottom (so that it will be on the outside of the rolled up roast, basting the meat throughout cooking).  You might have to pound a few areas out with a meat mallet to flatten the lamb as much as possible.  Let rest for 20 minutes to soften and come to room temperature.   Pat spices onto the meat. Roll the lamb up tightly and tie with kitchen twine (or leave untied for cooking on the grill). Place in a large bowl. Pour pomegranate juice over lamb, enough to cover the meat.  Cover tightly and refrigerate for 6  to 10 hours or overnight.  
Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Remove the lamb from the marinade, and place lamb on v-shaped rack in roasting pan.   Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest portion of the lamb and place it in the oven.  Roast the lamb for a total of 50 minutes to 1 hour until thermometer registers 140 degrees. 

When it's done, take it out and let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before carving in order to let the meat reabsorb the juices.

Serve with additional Pomegranate Molasses as a sauce if desired.  

Pomegranate Molasses:
   4 cups pomegranate juice
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
Combine the pomegranate juice, sugar and orange juice in a saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved. When the sugar has dissolved, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has reduced to 1 cup, approximately 90 minutes. It should be the consistency of thick syrup and coat the back of a wooden spoon well. Remove from the heat and allow to thicken in the saucepan for 30 minutes.   Serve in a sauceboat or directly from the saucepan with a spoon.

Transfer leftover molasses to a glass jar and allow it to cool completely.  It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.   Also good as a sauce for chicken or pork.

 Persian-Style Rice Pilaf
4 tablespoons butter
½ cup yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic (optional)
1 1/2 cups uncooked basmati rice
1/2 cup raisins
 1/4 cup currants
  2 teaspoons turmeric (or to taste)
  1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
   3 cups low sodium chicken broth
    salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of sliced almonds, toasted
 Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat; add in onions and saute for 6-7 minutes or until the onion are tender and translucent, adding in the fresh garlic the last 2-3 minutes of sautéing.  Stir in rice, raisins, currants, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and broth; bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat.  Simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until rice is tender. Season with black pepper, top with toasted almonds, and serve.

Roasted Asparagus
1 bunch asparagus
2 tbl. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Trim and clean the asparagus and then toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer in Pyrex dish. Bake at 375 until tender but still bright green (test for doneness with a tip of a sharp knife). Arrange on a platter and serve.
Leeks with Cream and Gruyere cheese
4-6 leeks
heavy whipping cream
3 to 4 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated
salt to taste
Trim the dark green portions off the leeks, cut lengthwise in two, and clean leeks well, taking care to rinse all silt from between the layers.  Arrange leeks cut-side down in a buttered baking dish.   Sprinkle with salt and pour enough cream to just cover the leeks.  Sprinkle with grated Gruyere cheese. 

Bake at 375 F for 30-40 minutes, until the cream mixture has reduced enough so that it coats (rather than covers) the leeks and the cheese is a golden brown.


Roasted Pears with Goat Cheese and Honey
2 Pears (May use Bartlett, Bosc or any good cooking pear)
4-6 oz good-quality goat cheese (at room temperature)
ground pistachios, raisins and currants for garnish

Split the pears in half length-wise and scoop out center to make a well.  Fill the hollow with the goat cheese.  Place cheese-side up in greased baking pan.  Bake at 375 for 10 minutes or until the cheese melts and edges of the pear are golden brown.  Drizzle with honey.  Sprinkle with ground pistachios, currants and raisins.  Serves 4.


 Roasted Figs with Mascarpone Cheese and Honey
1 pkg ripe figs (approx. 12)
8 oz  mascarpone  (at room temperature)
ground pistachios, raisins and currants for garnish

Make an x-shaped cut at the top of each fig.  Peel sides back slightly and fill with cheese.  Pull sides back up and set figs upright in greased baking pan.  Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.  Drizzle with honey.  Sprinkle with ground pistachios, currants and raisins. 


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