Roast Lamb Leg over polenta/Curry Cauliflower/Labneh with olive oil, pita, and pomegranate
Boneless leg of lamb(Pre-seasoned)
1 fresh pomegranate
10-15 mint leaves
4 cups cauliflower (cut down to small florets)
1 tablespoon yellow curry powder
6 oz. yellow polenta
16 oz. water
16 oz. milk
4 oz. butter
Dash of nutmeg
1 package fresh pita
1 container labneh (strained yogurt)
Relatively speaking, this recipe isn’t that hard. However it is a great exercise in timing. This meal could definitely be made from start to finish in 1 hour if you get it all done in the right order.
If and when you successfully prepare this dinner for a special occasion, or just to impress your family and friends, I guarantee you will feel as if you have entered a new level of culinary skill with ease.
Pre-emptive Chef’s tip: You’re absolutely going to want to prepare the cauliflower and polenta first. This way, once you start roasting the lamb in the pan, it will have your full attention.
Step 1: Get yourself ready
Go ahead and turn your oven to 450 degrees, then remove the Pomegranate seeds using whichever method you prefer. Click here to see a YouTube video of the technique I use.
Next, take a mixing bowl and put in 4 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon curry powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Then place the cauliflower in the bowl and give it a couple tosses to mix. Slide cauliflower out of bowl and onto a parchment lined sheet tray.
Finally, pop the cauliflower in the oven once preheated and roast for 8 minutes. After roasting, place to the side at room temperature so you can toss it back in the oven while lamb is resting. When doing this make sure to turn the oven down to 300 degrees.
Step 2: Prepare polenta
To start place a large sauce pot on medium-high heat. Next add 8 oz. milk, 8 oz. water, and dash of nutmeg. Bring the liquid to a boil and whisk in dry polenta—continue to stir for a couple minutes while liquid is boiling.
Next reduce heat to low and cover with a lid. Leave to cook for 25 minutes stirring every 5 minutes or so. After cooked add 4oz butter and salt to taste. Put lid back on and leave on low.
Chef’s tip: If you notice that it is super thick you can always add a bit of water to get to the desired consistency
Step 3: Cook the meat
Remove the lamb from the package—make sure to leave the netting on—then pat dry with a paper towel. Personally, I use Trader Joe’s pre-seasoned lamb, but if your lamb is not pre-seasoned go ahead and season it with a heavy dose of salt and pepper.
Next, preheat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Add cooking oil and sear each side of the lamb for 4 minutes until golden brown. Then place pan in oven with lamb and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes
Chef’s tip: Letting the lamb rest for ten minutes is vitally important because of “carry over cooking.” All this term measn is that anything will continue to cook directly after it is pulled out of the oven. However—in meat specifically—an equalization happens after the carry over cooking occurs, basically meaning: the hotter the meat is when it is removed from the oven, the less ability it has to hold onto moisture when sliced.
Step 4: Finish it up
This final section requires you to manage a few spinning plates—pun intended. So, in order to make it easy to follow I have broken this section down into a step-by-step list to help direct you.
Put the pita bread in oven to toast.
Place a large dollop of the Labneh on an appetizer—spread out into an even layer. Next, sprinkle a bit of the Za’atar on top and garnish with a generous amount of olive oil and pomegranate seeds.
Turn the polenta to medium heat, and give it a stir.
Place cauliflower in oven to warm (remember to turn down to 300 degrees).
Remove pita and slice. Place in a serving bowl.
Spoon polenta onto large serving platter.
Slice lamb into ¼ inch slices and fan out on top of polenta. Top with pomegranate and lots of fresh mint.
Remove cauliflower from oven and place in serving bowl. Garnish with extra mint.
This recipe may seem complicated, but if you follow the roadmap that I have given you, I promise you will impress yourself alongside your friends and family. But remember to have fun and not take it too seriously. Cooking is to nourish the soul not take away from it.
Until next time,
Chef Josh Charles