I don’t cook lamb as often as I should. I love lamb burgers, braised lamb shank, lamb stew, you name it.
I hadn’t tried preparing a boneless lamb loin roast until the American Lamb Board sent one to me ahead of its first Lamb Jam in Austin next month.
(The event at Barr Mansion on Feb. 22, will feature 16 Austin chefs, including Chris Hurley of the Bonneville, Carlos Ysaguirre of Jacoby’s Restaurant & Mercantile and Mark Schmidt of Blackbird & Henry, showing off what they can do with this versatile meat. Tickets cost $60, and you can buy them at americanlamb.com.)
I knew I wanted to prepare the roast as simply as possible, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to serve with it.
I have at least two generic “lamb herb blends” in my spice pantry, but you could use just about any blend of basic herbs you have in yours. This roast, which had more fat still attached than I was expecting, didn’t end up as heavily spiced or seasoned as some I’ve seen, but I loved how the flavor of the lamb stood out with just a little garlic and a few herbal notes.
What really pulled the meal together was an even more modest side dish of sliced delicata squash. I often buy the thick-skinned winter squashes that are best peeled, but Sprouts usually sells the thin-skinned delicata that do not require peeling. (They are also easier to slice than the acorn and butternut squash varieties.)
While the squash and lamb were roasting, I whipped up some mashed potatoes from the box but took the time to make the gravy from scratch while the lamb rested. The results? One of those delightful solitary meals, accompanied by a good book, that made me do a little dance in my seat while I ate.
(That dance returned the following day when I made a taco with the leftover lamb meat sauteed with roughly chopped kale and topped with sliced avocado. What taco isn’t improved with sliced avocado?)
Lamb Roast with Roasted Delicata Squash
2-3 lb. lamb roast
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. herb blend (such as one with dried parsley, rosemary, basil, tarragon and coriander seeds), divided
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 delicata squash, seeds removed and sliced into 1/2-inch half-circles
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay roast flat on a cutting board and, using your hands, rub the inside with garlic and half of the herb blend and then roll tightly.
Tie with kitchen twine and rub the outside of the roast with 1 Tbsp. of oil and the rest of the herbs. Sprinkle with a little salt and ground pepper. Let rest for at least 30 minutes to help the meat come closer to room temperature and to allow the flavors to seep into the roast.
Heat a large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottom vessel over medium-high heat. Brown the outside of the roast, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, rotating the roast with a pair of tongs. Once the outside of the roast has been browned, move the Dutch oven into the oven and roast for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the squash slices on a sheet pan, drizzle with remaining olive oil and salt and pepper and toss well. After the first 20 minutes of cooking the roast, place the sheet pan in the oven and rotate the vessel in which the roast is cooking. Continue roasting both at the same time for another 15 to 20 minutes, checking the internal temperature of the roast after about 10 additional minutes and using a spatula to turn the squash at least once. The temperature of the lamb should be at least 145 degrees, 150 for medium/medium-rare.
Remove the roast from the oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing into 1-inch rounds for serving. (You can make a gravy with the drippings while the meat rests, if you’d like.) Serves 4, with leftover lamb meat.
— Addie Broyles