Easter is a great time of year to find lamb at promotional pricing at your local grocer or meat shop. I know that I like lamb several times a year and not only at Easter. Over the years, many people have told me that they don't care for lamb. When I would ask them why, they might respond with, well i really haven't eaten it for a long time but i just remember that I didn't care for it. And that might have been true years ago because they may have eaten some older lamb or possible some imported lamb. However, over the years the total lamb industry has improved the quality of lamb. And that would mean both the imported lamb and the domestic lamb.
I personally fell that American Lamb is a bit better that imported and will be sure to purchase American. However, for this lamb I was able to purchase not only American but it is also locally grown. The local national grocer offered a nice whole leg and the man behind the counter talked about the sheep farmer named Don that brings his locally grown lamb to the store. Lamb grown here in America and just down the road. I had to buy it.
As you can see in the picture below I started with a whole leg.
I then proceeded to remove the bones. This is not all that difficult if you have a sharp knife and you make sure that you keep the knife close to the bone. To begin with we just need to remove the two bones you see in the leg above.
As you see in the picture below, the tail bone and the hip bone have been removed.
Next we will remove the top to expose the femur bone. The top will be saved for placing in out smoker later.
And next is to remove the femur bone.
As you see in the picture above, the femur bone is exposed and now you just need to keep your knife as close to the bone as you can and remove it.
And once removed, you will want to trim off any excess fat. I like to leave approximately a quarter inch as a general rule. But remember "fat is flavor".
And after it is all trimmed up, you will need to butterfly it by cutting the meat in half, horizontal to the table but not cutting it completely off. Fold the cut piece over and you will have something that looks like this.
Season this side with some salt and pepper. And now you are ready for the stuffing of rice. I purchased a 3 Rice Blend at the store and followed the direction to prepare it. Basically it was to cook 1 cup rice with 1 1/2 cup water, salt and butter.
And now here is the secret.
Instead of water I used 100% cherry juice with no sugar added that I purchased off the grocery shelf. This gave the rice a sweetness but with a little tartness. It was really good. Another little tip is to cook the rice before you start with the meat as you will want it to chill before adding it to the meat. Place it in your refrigerator for no less than an hour and stir it a couple of times to help it chill.
So, now I placed about a 1/2 to 3/4 inch layer of my chilled cherry rice mixture on top of the leg of lamb. Next, I sprinkled approximately 3 ounces of dried cherries on top of the stuffing. See picture below.
And now we will roll the roast up and tie it. Use any food grade twine that you can purchase at most grocery stores. The main purpose of tieing this roast and stuffing is to keep everything together and not falling all over the pan. We don't want the strings to get too tight but we do want the snug. I like to put a string every inch or two and will tie a couple end for end. I then rubbed rosemary with olive oil all over the tied roast.
I then proceeded to brown the roast on all sides in our skillet and then placed it in a preheated 275 degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. I left it in the cast iron skillet when I placed it in the oven uncovered. The internal temperature was at 150. If you, like me, prefer a little more rare then you might want to remove it a little sooner. It turned out very juicy and the cherry added a nice sweetness to the lamb. I would definitely try this one.