Pomegranate Roast Lamb (paleo, gluten-free)

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Roasting a leg of lamb can be pretty intimidating. First, lamb is expensive if you get the right kind. Second, it’s this huge chunk of meat that still isn’t common on American dinner tables — lamb trails well behind beef, pork, chicken, turkey and fish in per capita consumption, beating out veal by only two-tenths of a percentage point. Third, there is nothing worse than overcooked lamb.

But set aside your fear just this once, and I’ll point you to a recipe from Food52 that is well worth the effort. Yes, it’s going to cost you a significant amount of money, but it will probably also feed you for several days, and you can be vegetarian for the rest of the week if you need to cut back. You can also stretch this by serving leftovers on a Greek salad, in a gyro, or maybe on some kind of Greek pizza.

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I’d never marinated anything in wine before — except myself, yuk yuk yuk — but it lends the lamb an amazing depth and almost buttery richness (can red wine be buttery?).

Combined with the pomegranates, the mixture turns the lamb kind of a purple-y red, an interesting but strangely appealing color that deepens as the lamb roasts. Overall, the marinade adds a sweet saltiness and complements the flavor of the lamb without overpowering it. And though there are several steps involved, it’s not difficult — it’s time-consuming, but there isn’t anything tricky about it.

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Try, enjoy, and if you’re like me (that is, not cooking for large groups of people), feast off of the leftovers all week. You’ll be glad you put in the effort.

Pomegranate Roast Lamb
Ingredients
  • 1 whole pomegranate, skin and pith removed (I used the spanking method)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cups red wine
  • 2 large red onions, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 Meyer lemon, sliced with skin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 boneless leg of lamb, roughly 3 pounds
Instructions
  1. Place everything but the lamb in a food processor and process until onion is finely chopped.
  2. Rub marinade into the lamb, and put the lamb and rest of the marinade in a sealed Ziploc bag. Let marinate at least four hours, ideally overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove lamb from bag and carefully scrape off marinade if desired (it reduces the risk of biting down on an unprocessed pomegranate pit). Using four pieces of twine, roll and tie the leg into a cylindrical shape. It will cook more evenly and carve better this way.
  4. Place tied lamb in a cast-iron skillet. Roast about 30 minutes, then lower heat to 325 degrees and roast until an internal thermometer reads 130 degrees (45 to 60 more minutes).
  5. Let the lamb rest for 15 mins before carving. Remove twine and slice perpendicular to the seam. Serve with something green!
Notes
  1. Pomegranate method can be found here: http://whole30.com/2014/01/kitchen-hacks/
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