We so thoroughly enjoyed the Basque cultural influence of northern Nevada this past winter that we purchased 20 pounds of lamb from a local rancher including a rack of lamb, 4 tenderloins, several lamb chops, and a very nice 5 pound leg of lamb. Nearly all of this has already been devoured either by us or during our visit to Mom's. Lamb is a very good meat. The taste is more closely akin to pork, but with a somewhat sweeter taste.
For many years I would always smoke a leg of lamb in the spring over cherry wood after a Chardonnay/Mint marinade for a week. This year I wanted to try something completely different, most notably Basque. Once thawed the lamb is marinated in the following for 4-5 days:
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 Tb salt
12 peppercorns, crushed
8 allspice berries, crushed
8 juniper berries, crushed
1/2 Tb thyme
1 bay leaf, crushed
2 3" inch strips of orange zest
1 white onion, peeled and quartered
1 bottle of red wine, your choice
Let marinade in refrigerator for 4-5 days, turning several times daily. Remove roast from marinade and dry well. Save marinade. Rub with olive oil. Place roast in roasting pan. Top with additional seasonings and rosemary sprigs. Roast at 300 degrees allowing 25 minutes per pound. Baste every 30 minutes with heated marinade. Transfer to a platter, strain juices in pan, and remove excess fat (there will be some). Strain any remaining marinade and add to pan juices. Cook juices down to 2 cups.
Slice the lamb thinly and serve topped with juice. I accompanied this with Basque Potatoes and a nice salad. A very nice addition to this meal was the visit by Jody and Juanita Arnold, good friends of ours from Salado, TX. We were honored to share this meal with them. Thanks to another good friend of mine, Jesse Shanks of San Marcos, TX I served a very nice Terre Siciliane Nero D'Avola red wine which held up well against this meal.
This recipe for lamb was delicious. In addition to the compliments of our guests, Barb and I found this to have finer flavor than our previous Chardonnay Mint Marinade. The potatoes and salad were delicious sides and the wine was the perfect accompaniment. We followed up the meal with some Pecan Pie and a bit of ice cream to complete the experience.