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Boneless Leg of Lamb Rolled with Rosemary Pesto

Leg of lamb’s rich, earthy flavor merges well with the sweetness of the roasted garlic and dried fruit; fragrant rosemary adds pungent, complex flavor. Minneapolis Chef Lenny Russo introduced me to this method of rolling the leg with herbs and dried fruit and it has become one of my favorite dishes for special occasions.

1      leg of lamb, 2- to 3-pound, boneless
2 T.  olive oil
        Salt and ground black pepper
½ c. roasted garlic (see page 42), mashed
1 T.   rosemary pesto (see page 43) or 1 ½ T fresh rosemary, minced
⅓ c.  dried fruit, such as cranberries, cherries, tart cherries, currants, blueberries, or plums
         Additional rosemary pesto (if desired)

1.  Trim some but not all of the fat from the lamb. Butterfly the roast to ½- to ¾-inch thickness so that it lies flat, cut side up. With a meat tenderizer or the dull side of a knife, pound cut side of the meat for a few minutes. If using a rubber mallet, cover the meat with plastic wrap before pounding.
2.  Preheat oven to 375°F. In a small bowl combine olive oil, roasted garlic, rosemary pesto, and dried fruit. Spread over cut side of lamb.
3.  Carefully roll the lamb lengthwise like a jelly roll. (It will be a bit sloppy!) Tie the roast with clean kitchen string every 1½ inches. (Or use the butcher’s tie method; find instructional videos online.) Roast immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day.
4.  Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the lamb on all sides until nicely browned. Use tongs to flip and maneuver the lamb.
5.  Transfer the browned lamb to a roasting rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast 1½ to 2 hours or until internal temperature reads 120°F to 125°F (rare) or 130°F to 135°F (medium rare). Remove from oven; let rest for 30 minutes (temperature will rise during resting). Remove string; slice into ¾-inch pieces. Makes 6 to 8 servings.


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