Thursday, March 25, 2010

PUSSY WILLOW ... 'SURE SIGN OF SPRING' ~ ROAST LEG of LAMB with TARRAGON MINT BUTTER / GARLIC SMASHED POTATOES

"Spring is sooner recognized by plants than by men."

~ Chinese Proverb

Pussy Willow
(Photoshop fun)
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ROAST LEG of LAMB with TARRAGON MINT BUTTER
~ Spring lamb basted with fresh herbs, garlic smashed potatoes, sautéed asparagus and carrots complete this delightful seasonal meal, perfect for Easter (adapted from Bon Appétit - April 2009)
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Lamb:

1 6 1/2 lb. well-trimmed leg of lamb
several 1-inch strips (very thin) orange peel
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups dry red wine
1 cup low-salt chicken broth
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tsp. finely grated orange peel
tarragon and mint sprigs for garnish

  • Lamb: Using small sharp knife, make 1-inch deep slits all over lamb. Insert 3 or 4 orange peel strips in each slit. Can do 1 day ahead (wrap in plastic and chill).
  • Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 450º.
  • Heat oil in large skillet. Sprinkle lamb with coarse salt and pepper. Add lamb to skillet and cook until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to roasting pan.
  • Brush with 2 tablespoons herb butter. Roast 15 minutes. Brush again with 2 tablespoons herb butter. Reduce heat to 350º. Continue to roast lamb until thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 135º to 140º for medium-rare, about 55 minutes. Transfer lamb to platter; reserve pan. Tent lamb loosely with foil; let rest for 30 minutes.
  • Spoon fat off any juices in roasting pan. Place pan over 2 burners on high heat. Add wine, broth and lemon juice. Bring to boil, whisking to scrape up browned bits. Boil until sauce is reduced to 2 cups, about 5 minutes. Whisk in remaining herb butter and grated orange peel. Season sauce to taste with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Arrange sliced lamb on platter garnished with tarragon and mint sprigs. Serve with sauce. (8 servings)

Herb Butter:

3/4 cup room temperature unsalted butter
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
4 tsp. tarragon vinegar
2 tsp. grated lemon peel
1 tsp. coarse salt

Stir butter, tarragon, mint, tarragon vinegar, lemon peel and salt in medium bowl until well blended. Can make ahead but bring to room temperature before using.

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GARLIC SMASHED POTATOES
(Bon Appétit - Feb 2009)
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1 3/4 lb. small (scrubbed) Yukon Gold potatoes (about 16)
6 peeled large garlic cloves
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup sour cream
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives

  • Preheat broiler. Generously butter glass pie dish.
  • Cook potatoes and garlic in medium pot of boiling salted water until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain; let stand 5 minutes. Discard garlic. Arrange potatoes close together in prepared dish. Smash coarsely with wooden spoon until potatoes split open. Drizzle with oil and dot with butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Broil potatoes until crisp and golden, watching closely to avoid burning, 8-10 minutes. Top with dollops of sour cream; sprinkle with chives. (6 servings)

26 comments:

Roses and Lilacs said...

Those pussy willows are so cute. I must remember to walk along the creek this weekend and see if I can find any.
Marnie

Kathy said...

My goodness..that's some serious Yum!!!!
Love garlic potatoes...( who doesn't)!
I'm just waiting on some bread to rise...Love baking bread when I have left over oatmeal from breakfast...
Makes such a moist bread!
I think a loaf would have gone wonderfully with your meal too!
Have a great weekend my friend!
xoxo~Kathy @
Sweet Up-North Mornings...

Blackswamp_Girl said...

That looks delicious, Joey. But I admit that I am really leery of any recipe that includes the words, "discard garlic." Blasphemy! ;)

Gail said...

I don't know why I never have gotten pussy willows they are so wonderful a spring awakening! Mashed potatoes are one of my favorite comfort foods~~gail

Krista said...

What a cute little pussy willow! And garlic mashed potatoes rank up there among my top ten reasons to live. ;o)

nancybond said...

Pussy willows are among my favourites in the signs-of-spring department. :) And as always, your recipe is mouth watering, especially those potatoes!

Carol said...

Pussy Willows are even in bloom here! Yummy recipe! Happy Spring... Tarragon Mint butter... I can imagine the fragrance! ;>)

joey said...

Hi Marnie. Wish I could say I'm growing these darlings but they are from the florist.

Hello delightful, Kathy. My yes, oatmeal bread sounds yummy! Do you share? (((Healing Hugs)))

I hear you, dear Kim! Normally, I wouldn't pitch but with this I do and add more if it warrants a headier taste. So, are you planting garlic?

Dear Gail, since I don't have enough garden space left to grow pussy willows, I simply buy a bunch at the store, which makes me very happy :)

LOL Krista! I have a feeling you are not alone :)

Thanks, Nancy ... a good spring combo!

Hi Carol ~ since not from my yard, shame on me, I don't know if they are blooming here or not. What I do know is this tastes good :)

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Joey, I won't need a cookbook anymore!

I grew pussy willows in my old old house. They were my son's favorite when he was little. I went out yesterday and bought two bunches of cut pussy willows - they are pretty pricy now, but they obring back a lot of memories.

Eileen

Paul C said...

I really like how you include a quote, a beautiful image, and a delicious recipe. My wife and I need to try this lamb recipe.

imac said...

Nice piece of work on this shot my friend, I love it.
Also WELSH leg of lamb.

joey said...

Glad you are enjoying, Eileen. That's exactly how I get my pussy willows!

Thanks for stopping by, Paul, and joining the followers. So enjoyed your site also and am now a follower also. So, hope you and your wife enjoy the lamb. Bon Appétit!

Thanks dear imac ... a little fun in photoshop. Hum, Welsh leg of lamb!

Kala said...

What a lovely sign of spring indeed. :)

joey said...

Thanks Kala ... your tulip photo was amazing!

susie said...

well, i finally figured out how to post a comment! the recent rain has all my bushes budding and flowers peaking up! can't wait to work in the garden this weekend!

joey said...

Yea Susie ... delighted to hear from you, dear one! Buds are swelling here and except for colorful primrose and a few measly crocus the squirrels and chipmunks were kind enough to leave me, the rest is pure green pushing through the earth ... but, you know my garden, lots of green! I'm searching for my bloodroot that is so short lived, often missed. But soon it will be 'May Wine' time! Enjoy the weekend in your garden ... we will be leaving shortly for the lake ... I'll say hello :)

Ann said...

Hi Joey,

How are you!!

Been in Cold Florida for the winter, watching the weather a few times, Detroit was warmer. Reports were this was the coldest in over 25 years.

Just came home Sunday so I haven't been in the yard much this week, but seeing your Pussy Willows I must check mine out today. When we bought this home 20 some years ago I inherited two bushes and I love them.

As usual love visiting and have allot to catch up on your beautiful site.

Take care,

Ann

Kahshe Cottager said...

Thank you for your visit to my blog! Always a nice surprise to see someone new has dropped in!

I haven't noticed any pussy willows yet but I haven't really looked too hard either. You got a nice shot of it.

Your recipe for the lamb made my mouth water. I am doing ham because my son isn't fond of lamb but when they go, perhaps I will try this just for us.

joey said...

Hi Ann! So happy to hear from you, wondering where you have been (Florida sounds lovely). You didn't miss much ... blessed to have a mild Michigan winter. Just arrived at the (half thawed) lake, anxious to catch a stunning sunset and wondering if my loons have returned. Enjoy your time back home (feel free to e-mail me and catch up). Happy weekend :)

Thanks Kahshe C. ... it's fun to meet new friends. Ham is good too :)

Rick said...

Lovely pussy willow shot joey and great background. I cut a few sprigs over a week ago, put them in a vase with water and now they're developing some small roots. Will plant them near a little creek on our land - more to enjoy.

Cameron said...

At a previous home (on lots of acreage), I had a row of pussy willows along a path going into the woods. I do miss bringing the branches inside during the spring.

(I don't do lamb. They are just too cute!)

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

Oh, I am off to work, and drooling....

I bet they won't like that, but I will blame you. LOL.

Such great recipes. And I love the pussy willows.

Jen

Lindalou said...

I have a great fondness for pussy willows. We painted them in kindergarden and I found out several years back, that my father kept that painting all these years. Your photo brought that back to mind and made me smile.

joey said...

Good luck and happy Spring, Rick!

You're makin' me feel a bit guilty, Cameron, but will enjoy anyway :) I once love/prepared escargot but slugs are too closely related and now, BIG TIME, turn me off!

What's not to like about pussy willows, Jen! Thanks and I'll be poppin' over. Just returned from the lake where 'Winter Rate' Internet was so SLOW, I'm now trying to catch up!

Even the name makes us smile, Lindalou! Memories are good :)

Kerri said...

I haven't been down to the river to cut a bunch of pussywillows yet. Must do!
You've made me long for a delicious leg of lamb. It's a staple in Australia....lamb country...and one of my absolute favorites.
And oh, those garlic potatoes sound scrumptious!
Your fuzzy photo is so sweet.
Happy Tuesday, dear Joey :)
We have clouds here this morning and 40º...and there are robins in the yard!!

joey said...

Kerri, you are a 'spring gift' and thank you. Do hope this coming warm front warms you as you reach out to others and touch them. Easter Blessings :)