Recipe of the Day: Catalan Roasted Leg of Lamb
It’s back to work after a long weekend in Catalunya. This weekend we celebrated Segona Pascua (“Second Easter”) without really knowing what that even means…but no bother, it was a good excuse to get out and enjoy the awesome weather we are having in the Barcelona area.
And now that we are fully rested, we are ready to take on a cooking project. Our selection for today will take the strength of a fully-rested cook, indeed, as it is a little elaborate, but the payoff is undoubtedly worth it. Cuixa de Xai al Forn (Roasted Leg of Lamb) is a Catalan classic and a must-make for anyone who dabbles in cooking Catalan dishes. While roasting an entire leg of lamb may seem daunting, this simple preparation method makes for a pretty easy dish which is impressive and, above all, is incredibly tasty.
EatCatalunya Contributor Andrew Hwang has translated from Catalan and adapted a very straightforward recipe found at the TV3 Club de Cuines website, taking great care to ensure that this is a doable recipe for English-speaking home cooks. Why not make it a weekend project, and then let us know what you think?
Roasted Leg of Lamb
(Cuixa de Xai al Forn)
1 Leg of lamb, approximately 1.5 kg or 3.3 lbs
2 Onions, medium sized and diced
1 Leek, sliced
3 Carrots, peeled and diced
1 Garlic clove
1 Tomato, skinned, seeded and diced
1 Tablespoon of flour
1 glass or 1/2 cup of Pedro Ximenez, Xerez brandy or Cognac
Extra virgin olive oil
1 Bay leaf
2 Stalks of fresh rosemary
3 Sprigs of fresh thyme
6 Black peppercorns
3 Potatoes, peeled and cut into uniform-sized chunks
1 glass or 1/2 cup of red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180/200C degrees or approximately 375F.
2. Prepare the leg of lamb by making a few small cuts into the surface all over with a sharp knife. Season it with salt and pepper. Then coat the leg of lamb on both sides with olive oil and set aside for later.
3. In a non-stick skillet, make the sofregit by heating 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the onions, leeks, carrots, garlic and the tomatoes until the colour and texture of the vegetable mixture changes to a darker shade.
4. To the sofregit add the bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, and the black peppercorns.
5. Sauté the sofregit for a little while longer for the herbs to release their flavours. Add the tablespoon of flour and cook for about 30 seconds.
6. Add the Pedro Ximenez (or brandy or cognac) and cook until the alcohol is evaporated, about 30 seconds.
7. In a roasting pan, add the sofregit, potatoes and leg of lamb. Bake in the pre-heated oven for at least one hour until the meat pulls away from the bone.
8. Remove the leg of lamb to a platter and cover it in aluminum foil so it can rest and absorb its juices. Place the potatoes on the platter with the lamb.
9. Place the roasting pan on the stove over medium-high heat and deglaze it with wine by scraping any caramelized bits on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring until the sauce is reduced in volume slightly.
10. Remove the herbs and transfer the entire mixture into a blender. Purée the mixture until it is smooth in consistency. Return the sauce to the heat and simmer. Adjust the seasoning with salt, if necessary.
11. Serve a slice of the leg of lamb accompanied by potatoes and sauce.
Source: Club de Cuines
Image by dps on Flickr via Creative Commons