Charleston Wine + Food Festival Lambs + Clams Contest: Leg of Lamb

Border Springs Farm leg of lamb, roasted

Border Springs Farm leg of lamb, roasted

I was one of eight sites selected to participate in BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Lambs + Clams Original Recipe Contest featuring lamb from Borders Springs Farm and Rappahannock River Oysters of Virginia. Over these next four months we’ll receive meat and/or shellfish from the two farms to prepare, photograph and present here as finished dishes. From the BB&T Charleston Wine + Food site:

The contest challenges eight of the country’s best food and recipe bloggers to create four original recipes using products from Craig [Rogers of Borders Springs Farm] and/or Travis [Croxton of Rappahannock River Oysters]. The winner or each challenge – determined by voting by a panel of judges and also by public votes on the Festival’s Facebook page – will receive a piece of Le Creuset cookware to add to their kitchen, and the overall winner will receive a trip to the 2013 Festival and will have one of his or her recipes prepared at Pinot Envy Uncorked presented by Charleston GI + The Local Palate at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina on Saturday, March 2, 2013.

First up in the contest is preparing a leg of lamb. About a week and a half ago I received a beautiful 6+ lb. leg of lamb at home. Actually my wife received it and I received the completely nonplussed phone message, “There’s a box with a large piece of lamb in it on the porch, which refrigerator do you want it in?” I love that the arrival of meats at our doorstep doesn’t give my wife pause any more. Since I didn’t know how old the lamb was or how long ago it had been slaughtered before it arrived at my house, I decided to give it a little wet age, as long as I could before I had to prepare it for the contest deadline of today. And since I was going to seal it up for 10 days why not toss in a bunch of fresh herbs to get up-close-and-personal with that great lamb gam.

Ten days later, out of the vacuum bag and onto my cutting board for a little boning out. Then I rolled it up tight with an herb/garlic/spice paste inside, tied it and laid some slices of cured pork belly over the top (I made unsmoked bacon with my pancetta recipe, so you can call it bacon or flat pancetta). The larding was because I felt the lamb was very lean and could use a little more fat for the roasting process. I also wanted the bacon for the butternut squash I was preparing.

After a roast, rest and slice, the leg of lamb became three meals for my family: the initial roast with squash and couscous, as lamb sandwiches the next day (with some of the jus that congealed ever so slightly as a spread—wow) and then the remnant pieces went into a lamb ragout for pasta. Thank you to the BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival and Border Springs Farm for the meat.

The recipe for the roast (along with processes for the butternut squash and couscous) are at the end of the photos. Please visit the BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival Facebook page, click on the “Vote” tab and vote for me. Thanks.

Leg of lamb, wet aging with herbs

Leg of lamb, wet aging with herbs

Leg of lamb, bone removed

Leg of lamb, bone removed

Leg of lamb, boned, trussed, rolled & tied, larded with homemade cured pork belly (bacon/pancetta)

Leg of lamb, boned, trussed, rolled & tied, larded with homemade cured pork belly (bacon/pancetta)

Leg of lamb, roasted and sliced

Leg of lamb, roasted and sliced

For the squash, prepare your favorite butternut squash puree and then fold in the crumble bacon. Yes, it doesn’t matter the puree recipe—everything is better with bacon is a truism.

For the couscous, thinly slice 4-5 shallots, saute shallots with a teaspoon of ground cumin (or more if you like, I dig cumin), add stock and dry couscous and cook to package directions, salt and pepper to taste.

Also check out the other seven sites in the contest:

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