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Pork-Stuffed Leg of Lamb and Lamby Cranberry Beans

This post actually contains two recipes: Roasted Leg of Lamb Stuffed With Pork, Chestnuts, and Morels and Lamby Cranberry Beans with Itsy Bitsy Potatoes.

Dave and I just took the Pork and Apples class taught by Aki and Alex of Ideas in Food. We really enjoyed it quite a lot. I’m mostly thrilled that I finally got to butcher a pig’s head!

(That’s a photo of my hands, taken by Aki.)

Anyways, point being, it got me thinking about how important it is to me to use as much of I can of whatever foodstuffs I buy. For instance, I always save bones and vegetables scraps in the freezer for stock. Every time we make bacon, we add the extra grease to a tin can kept in our freezer. Hell, we still have a ton of sour cherry pits in our freezer from last summer’s harvest on the off chance that we can figure out how to cook with the nuts and make an exfoliating soap from the shells. Not to mention our many frozen bags of shrimp shells and fish heads, which lie in wait of my next chowder craving.

So, the day after the class, when we were looking over the lamb available at the greenmarket, I insisted that we get a bone-in leg of lamb. Sure, it’s more work, but I was still in a butchering sort of mood, and I figured we could use the bone to make a lamb stock that we’d use to intensify the lambiness of the overall meal.

This worked out just beautifully.

When cooking this meal, everywhere one would normally use water, we used lamb stock instead. Lamby bulgur. Lamby morels. Lamby cranberry beans and itsy bitsy potatoes. My effort to avoid wastefulness made the whole meal richer, meatier, and more delicious.

Roasted Leg of Lamb Stuffed With Pork, Chestnuts, and Morels
For the marinade
2 lbs lamb leg (including bone)
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tsp dried rosemary
2 tbsp bourbon (cooked until reduced in volume to 1 tbsp)
A sprinkle of nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the lamb stock
The bone from your leg of lamb
Whatever greens and such you have lying around
Whole black peppercorns
For the stuffing
1/2 lb ground pork
7 cooked chestnuts, chopped
1/4 oz dried morels, soaked in lamb stock to cover
1/4 C bulgur cooked like rice in 1/2 C lamb stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the sauce
The morel soaking liquid, strained
Whatever is left of the marinade
Drippings from the roasting leg
Flour to thicken
Sherry vinegar, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Prepare the marinade

Start the night before you plan on eating this meal.

Debone the lamb leg and set the bone aside. You’ll be using it soon enough. Butterfly the lamb leg, then mix it with the other marinade ingredients and stick it in the fridge to marinate overnight.

Create the lamb stock

Put the lamb bone that you took out of the leg into a small pot. Throw in some whole black peppercorns and whatever green leafy things and other clean vegetable trimmings you may have around. I’m secretly a Depression-era housewife, so I happened to have denuded corn cobs and turnip tops and greens in the freezer waiting around for just such an occasion. Add enough water to just cover the stuff in the pot. Bring to a simmer without boiling, and continue to simmer for as many hours as you can stand, until it tastes lamby enough for you.

Strain the stock and leave it in the fridge overnight. Skim off and discard the fat that has risen to the top the next day.

Make the filling

Reconstitute the morels by putting them in a small bowl with enough warm lamb stock to cover. Leave them alone for about half an hour. Remove them from the stock, rinse them, and cut them into thin slices. Strain the morel liquid and set it aside for now.

Cook the bulgur in lamb stock.

Mix all filling ingredients together.

Build and cook the roast

Preheat your oven to 375 F.

Take the lamb leg out of the marinade and lay it out flat on a baking sheet covered with two layers of aluminum foil. Cover it with a layer of filling. Roll it from the short end like a jelly roll, then tie it together with twine. Wrap entirely in one of the layers of aluminum foil.

Bake for about an hour and a half, or until done.

Create the sauce

Mix together the sauce ingredients in (you guessed it) a small saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens and smells lovely.

Serve with Lamby Cranberry Beans with Itsy Bitsy Potatoes (recipe below).

Lamby Cranberry Beans with Itsy Bitsy Potatoes
3/4 lb itsy bitsy potatoes
1 lb cranberry beans (in the pod)
Lamb stock
1 bay leaf
1 twig fresh rosemary
1 big shallot, minced
1 black cardamom pod
A sprinkle of cayenne
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Shell the cranberry beans and discard the pods.

Throw all ingredients (except for the potatoes) together in a small heavy-bottomed pot. Add enough lamb stock to cover the contents of the pot by about 1″. Simmer for about 20-25 minutes, then stir in the potatoes. Continue simmering for another 20-25 minutes, or until tender and done.

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12 Responses to “Pork-Stuffed Leg of Lamb and Lamby Cranberry Beans”

  1. Graeme says:

    The end result looks fantastic, and the texture of the meat looks great.

    I can’t get my own head around that Pig’s though. It’s reaking me out more each time I look at it, but I can’t stop! I actually thought it was a Lamb’s head at first; Looks kinda strange without the fat & snout.

  2. brilynn says:

    Excuse me while I wipe the drool from my chin. I love lamb, but throw morels in there too and I’m in heaven. And using the lamb stock everywhere would have made such a huge difference.

  3. Lisa says:

    The lamb sounds wonderful.. okay well I take that back.. I’ve never had lamb, so I have no idea if it’s wonderful or not – BUT – the idea of using the stock instead of water sounds wonderful and I’ll use that idea next time I make a beef roast with all the fixin’s. =)

    Uhhmm.. the pig head? Not so much. :P


  4. Nabeela says:

    lamby bulghur…..yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  5. Andy says:

    ahh very nice pigs head! I am totally with you on saving bones and scraps for stocks. I have been making apple stock from peelings and cores, you may be able to do something similar with your cherry pits.

  6. Yvo says:

    I am really sorry to say this but that pig’s head is making me queasy. I think it’s the eye. No, I know it’s the eye. I’d like to think I have a fairly decently strong whatever it is needed to look at stuff like that, but the eye is just… creeping me out. BUT, I have a question. Where did you get the pig’s head? I am currently on a culinary quest (#2 for the month) for pork cheek (uncooked) and have no leads to where to find it…
    Aside from that, I’m right up there with you on not wasting, I keep a bag of scraps in the freezer for stock making and I just lovelovelove when that day rolls around where I make the stock… the wonderful smell it gives off while I do other things =)

  7. chefjp says:

    Very creative & wonderful dish—I don’t see enough lamb recipes these days that would turn folks on to eating this type of cut of meat—this one captures the intense flavors–great job!

  8. lyra says:

    Personally I believe that if one can’t handle seeing where meat comes from one should be a vegetarian, but I do agree that with the eye in the head is definitely grisley.

    I think back in the day when a lot more of us were in close contact with our meat (and butchered it or watched others do so) that we were probably used to such sights.

  9. clumsy says:

    Oh my god! I can’t decide whether that is the worst or coolest thing I’ve ever seen! It’s great that you have an attitude of waste-not and saving, I wish I could use everything too.

    The dish sounds delicious, though I may have to wait until the pig image gets out of my head before trying it!

  10. Danielle says:

    Graeme – All heads look pretty similar on the inside, it seems.

    brilynn, Nabeela, chefjp – Thank you!

    Lisa – Never had lamb? Is it available near you? It’s one of my favorite foods, I really recommend giving it a try!

    Andy – What an interesting idea! What do you use your apple stock for?

    Yvo – You order a whole small pig, and cut off its head. Though a good butcher should be able to just sell you a head, I’d think.

    Lyra – That’s basically my attitude, thinking that if we eat meat, we should be able to handle it, kill it, butcher it, and handle the price of being omnivores. Plus, honestly, I find butchering to be a whole lot of fun.

    clumsy – Fair enough, and thank you!

  11. Annemarie says:

    I admire your eat-all-bits efforts. I love bone-in-lamb leg (I don’t think they sell it any other way near me) and the cranberry beans are just my sort of thing.

  12. mr.ed says:

    Garlic lesson #1:
    The more gentle you are with it, the more delicate and sweet the results.
    And the eye freaked out auntie Liz big time. This from somebody who grew up on home-made head cheese.

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October 2007
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