10-12: Basil-Baked Lamb

I’ve done over 100 recipes at this point (closing in on 150 in the next few weeks), and this is the FIRST recipe from Group 10: Lamb & Veal. This is probably due to the fact that neither of those have ever featured heavily in my diet or culinary rotation. However, in the interest of science everything must be covered. So here we go–the first lamb recipe: 10-12: Basil-Baked Lamb.

Um, yeah. In the very first entry (where I explained what this whole project is about), I had mentioned that these books got a bit trashed when I had a bad roach infestation in my first apartment after college. This section was one of the casualties from overzealous roach spray distribution and poor post-massacre clean-up. A lot of the pages got stuck together, and due to their lack of regular use, stayed that way for far too long. Luckily for this one, the recipe part of the card is still somewhat legible.

Much less damage on this side. A few of the other ones in this section were not as lucky–I’ll be winging it there, I suppose. These temperatures listed in the “Tips” section are either outdated or just plain wrong–most sources quote medium at 145°F, which I agree with based on my own experiences with this recipe as well as others. That being said, reduce your oven times accordingly.

Ingredients. The boneless lamb leg was a Costco special, and actually a bit too large/heavy for this recipe–I cut about 1.5 lbs off of it (about a third of it) and used it for 10-14: Lamb on Skewers. I realize it was supposed to be bone-in (based on their pictures), but I’m okay with my choice.

My basil looks a bit sad (basil gets brown quick), but since we’re roasting it, it won’t matter much. I chose to go with beef broth for this one, since I think it’ll taste better with the lamb.

I wasn’t quite sure how many potatoes would be equivalent to two pounds, so I got out the scale and just measured it. Turns out it was 5.

Peeled and sliced my taters and onions. I had some minced garlic left over from another recipe, so I used that to sprinkle on top.

I used the piece on the left for 10-14: Lamb on Skewers and the one on the right for this recipe. The weird pattern is from the netting holding it together in the package.

Stacking your basil leaves makes them easier and faster to cut. Like I said, they got a little brown on me.

I used a glass 9″x13″ casserole pan for this, but anything you’d make a roast in would work for this. They suggest a plate, but there’s a lot of juice and broth involved–a plate seems messy and counterproductive.

After the first round at 400°F. With that layer of fat on top, it got some nice color already.

After the second round at 350°F. This definitely didn’t cook as long as they suggest–maybe 45 minutes tops? Remember, your meat thermometer is your friend.

After letting it rest for 15 minutes (where the temperature rises another 5°F), I sliced it–much easier without a bone to negotiate around. I like my lamb even a bit redder/rarer than this–that’s what I get for not double-checking their temperatures. I would have pulled it at 130-135°F and let it finish coming up in the rest instead of letting it get too far past that point in the oven.

With some nicely cooked potatoes, it still came out well. There was a nice crispy layer of seasoned fat on the outside, which was delicious. For my first lamb entry, I think this one was a relatively strong one.

Grade: A- (with temperature adjustments)