Armenian Stuffed Leg of Lamb

"Mint, cinnamon, currants, lemon - the herb-laden, sweet and spicy flavor of Armenian cuisine is ideal for warming up a crisp autumn evening. From "An Armenian Evening", Good Food Magazine, October 1986. Prep time does not include marinating time. Posted for ZWT 4."
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Ready In:
1hr 45mins




  • Marinate lamb: Remove fell (the thin outer membrane) and all but 1/8-inch layer fat from lamb. Make 12 small incisions in outside surface and insert garlic slivers. Combine oil, lemon juice, mint, oregano, salt, and pepper in small bowl. Place lamb in glass dish and spread o il mixture evenly over inside and outside surfaces. Let stand covered at room temperature 1-1/2 hours or refrigerate overnight. (If lamb is refrigerated, let warm to room temperature 1-1/2 hours before roasting.).
  • Make stuffing about 1-1/2 hours before roasting lamb: Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and celery; saute until tender but not browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in rice, pine nuts and parsley. Reduce heat to low and cook until rice turns opaque, 2-3 minutes. Gradually stir in broth. Stir in currants and pepper to taste. Heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer covered until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and add allspice and cinnamon while fluffing rice with fork. Let cool at room temperature about 1 hour.
  • Heat oven to 475 degrees.
  • Place lamb, fat side down, on work surface. Spoon about 2 cups stuffing into pocket where bones were. Press leg together and tie at 1-inch intervals with kitchen string. Place lamb on rack in roasting pan. Spoon remaining stuffing into small casserole and set aside.
  • Roast lamb on rack in upper third of oven until browned, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Carefully pour 1-1/2 cups water into pan. Continue to roast, basting every 15 minutes, until meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of leg registers 145 degrees for medium-rare; it will take about 45 minutes. Fifteen minutes before lamb is done, spoon 1-2 T. pan juices over stuffing in casserole and bake in oven until heated through. Transfer lamb to carving board and let stand 15-20 minutes.
  • Spoon fat from pan juices, then heat juices to boiling, scraping loose browned bits on bottom of pan. Strain into sauceboat and season with pepper.
  • Slice lamb 1/2-inch thick and serve with stuffing and pan juices.

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I didn't start cooking until my early 20's, even though I come from a family of accomplished and admired home cooks. While I grew up watching my Italian grandmother in the kitchen, I remained uninterested in trying anything on my own. As a young lady, I was known for being particularly ignorant in the kitchen, with no idea how to even make a hot dog! All this changed, however, when I got engaged. I realized it was time to let my inherent talents out of the bag. At the time, the New York Times had a weekly column called The 60-Minute Gourmet by Pierre Franey. Each week, I would follow these recipes diligently, and taught myself to cook that way. From there, I began to read cookbooks and consult with relatives on family recipes. At my ripe old age now, I feel I know enough to put together a very pleasing meal and have become accomplished in my own right. Having an Irish father and an Italian mother, I'm glad I inherited the cooking gene (and the drinking one too!). One thing I have learned is that simpler is always better! I always believe cooking fills a need to nurture and show love. After being widowed fairly young and living alone with my dog and cats, I stopped cooking for awhile, since I really had no one to cook for. I made care packages for my grown son occasionally, and like to cook weekly for my boyfriend, so I feel like I am truly back in the saddle!!
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