Leg of Lamb Stuffed With Greens and Feta
- Ready In:
- 1⁄3 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed (fronds and tender stalks reserved)
- 1 1⁄2 cups thinly sliced scallions (white and most of the green parts)
- 1 tablespoon garlic, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, quartered
- 1 1⁄2 cups coarsely chopped mixed greens (such as baby spinach, tender Swiss chard leaves, miner's lettuce, pea shoots, outer leaves of escaro)
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed, freshly ground (or crushed in a mortar)
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1⁄4 cup of fresh mint, chopped
- 1⁄2 - 4 lb leg of lamb, butterflied
- 1⁄2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled)
- 1⁄2 cup dry white wine, plus more if needed
- 1⁄2 cup chopped fennel leaves, plus tender stalks (or fresh dill or a combination)
- In a large skillet, heat the oil and sauté the fennel bulb over medium heat until just tender, about 3 minutes.
- Add the scallions and chopped garlic and sauté for 2 minutes more.
- Add the greens and sauté, stirring, until wilted.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the fennel seeds and pepper to taste.
- Let cool, then add the mint.
- Make 8 small slits randomly in the lamb and insert the garlic quarters.
- Transfer half of the greens mixture to a small bowl.
- Add the cheese to the greens remaining in the skillet.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding salt if necessary (feta is usually quite salty).
- NOTE: The stuffing should be completely cooled before being spread on the lamb. Spread the cheese mixture on the lamb, squeezing it to extract the excess juices; add some of the remaining greens if needed; the lamb should be well covered.
- Roll and tie the lamb.
- Rub the lamb all over with the remaining greens.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Scrape the greens off the surface of the lamb and reserve.
- Brush the lamb with oil and sprinkle with the oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Place the lamb in a roasting pan that just holds it comfortably, preferably a clay or Pyrex one.
- Roast for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring the wine to a boil and simmer for 1 minute.
- Add the reserved greens.
- Pour the greens mixture over the lamb and roast for 5 minutes more. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and roast the lamb, basting frequently with the pan juices, adding a little more wine to the pan if necessary, for about 30 minutes longer, or until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 135°F for medium.
- Remove the lamb from the oven, sprinkle with the chopped fennel or dill, cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Carve the lamb and serve, passing the pan juices in a bowl or sauceboat at the table.
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RECIPE SUBMITTED BY
<p>I have always loved to cook. When I was little, I cooked with my Grandmother who had endless patience and extraordinary skill as a baker. And I cooked with my Mother, who had a set repertoire, but taught me many basics. Then I spent a summer with a French cousin who opened up a whole new world of cooking. And I grew up in New York City, which meant that I was surrounded by all varieties of wonderful food, from great bagels and white fish to all the wonders of Chinatown and Little Italy, from German to Spanish to Mexican to Puerto Rican to Cuban, not to mention Cuban-Chinese. And my parents loved good food, so I grew up eating things like roasted peppers, anchovies, cheeses, charcuterie, as well as burgers and the like. In my own cooking I try to use organics as much as possible; I never use canned soup or cake mix and, other than a cheese steak if I'm in Philly or pizza by the slice in New York, I don't eat fast food. So, while I think I eat and cook just about everything, I do have friends who think I'm picky--just because the only thing I've ever had from McDonald's is a diet Coke (and maybe a frie or two). I have collected literally hundreds of recipes, clipped from the Times or magazines, copied down from friends, cajoled out of restaurant chefs. Little by little, I am pulling out the ones I've made and loved and posting them here. Maybe someday, every drawer in my apartment won't crammed with recipes. (Of course, I'll always have those shelves crammed with cookbooks.) I'm still amazed and delighted by the friendliness and the incredible knowledge of the people here. 'Zaar has been a wonderful discovery for me.</p>