Leg of lamb roast with a fragrant rice stuffing

At many restaurants, a rack of lamb with mint sauce is the typical fare when it comes to lamb. How often do you find a stuffed boneless leg of lamb roast? Exactly, and that is why I decided to make it for a dinner party.

The stuffing was inspired by my recent trip to the grocery store. I found this really cool rice mix from Presidents Choice and then built the ingredients and flavours from there.

PC rice blend

PC rice blend

I wanted to utilize some aromatic spices and herbs including rosemary, turmeric and cumin that can stand up to the strong flavours of lamb. To balance off the flavours, I added green olives and sweet roasted red peppers.

I made a second lamb which was cooked with this lamb at the same time that had a different marinade and stuffing. If you love cheese, check out the recipe for the second lamb. They were both incredibly delicious and were accompanied with a red wine reduction sauce.

The end result was a perfect medium rare lamb with juicy meat and a spectacular stuffing.

4 pound boneless leg of lamb (feeds about 6 people)
¼ cup of fresh rosemary-stems removed, finely chopped
2 sprigs of thyme-keep the leaves on the stems
4 garlic cloves-cut in half
2 carrots-Cut into 1 inch pieces
2 medium onions-quartered
2 celery sticks-Cut into 1 inch pieces
6 mushrooms-quartered
80% of a bottle of red wine (around 6 cups)
1/2 cup of water
Salt and black pepper
Dijon mustard
Olive oil-for drizzling on the lamb and searing the lamb

1 ½ cups of mixed rice (basmati and wild rice)
¼ cup of green olives-rough dice
2 strips of bacon-small dice
1 onion-small dice
1 shallot-small dice
¼ cup of roasted red pepper (store bought)
2 cloves of garlic-minced
1/3 tsp of turmeric
1/3 tsp of cumin
1/3 tsp of paprika
1/3 tsp of fresh thyme
¼ tsp of finely chopped rosemary leaves (fresh)
¼ cup of fresh parsley-rough chop
Pinch of salt and black pepper
Drizzle of olive oil

Baste for the lamb:
1 ½ cups of olive oil
Pinch of Salt and black pepper
2 tsp of paprika
1/3 tsp of fresh rosemary- stems removed, finely chopped

Preparation work:
The day before:

1. Lay the lamb flat with the skin side down and open up the lamb. Cut away the sides to flatten and expand the surface. Make sure that the meat stays connected. If you have a great butcher, you can ask them to do this for you in advanced.

Preparing the leg of lamb

Preparing the leg of lamb

2. Drizzle olive oil and black pepper (no salt) on the surface of the lamb. Insert the garlic cloves into the flesh of the lamb in various spots. Cover the lamb with cling wrap and leave in the fridge overnight.

Day of:

  1. Cut the mirepoix (onions, carrots, celery) and mushrooms.
  2. Prepare the stuffing:  Cut all vegetables and herbs.
  3. Cook the bacon and cut into small pieces.
  4. Cut remaining ingredients.
  5. Prepare the rice according to package and set aside. For this rice, it was 1 ½ cups of water to 1 cup of rice.

*Steps 1-4 can be done the day before.

Cooking steps:

1. Take out the lamb from the fridge at room temperature 2 hours before it will be put in the oven. Remove and discard the garlic cloves. Leave loosely covered on the counter.
2. Cook the stuffing: Using a pan, sweat the onions, shallots and garlic. Add thyme and rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and place ingredients in a bowl. Add olives, roasted red pepper, bacon and spices (turmeric, cumin and paprika). Mix. Add parsley. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed. Drizzle with olive oil.

Preparing the stuffing

Preparing the stuffing

3. Preheat the oven at 350 degrees F.
4. Add the mirepoix and mushrooms into a roasting pan, add wine and water. Add 2 sprigs of thyme to the wine mixture.
5. Stuff and tie the lamb: Season inside the lamb with salt and pepper. Smear the side pieces with Dijon mustard. Add the stuffing to the lamb. Roll the sides into the centre and form a roll. Push any stuffing falling out back into the centre. Have a string ready and secure the lamb tightly.
6. Sear the lamb: Generously season the outside of the roast with salt and black pepper. Spread rosemary all over the lamb. Heat a pan, add oil, and sear the sides of the lamb on high heat.

Searing the lamb

Searing the lamb

7. Cook the lamb: Place the seared lamb into the roasting rack, rather than directly over the wine mixture so the lamb will not be drenched in the liquid. Place the lamb in the pre-heated oven and cook at 350 degrees F for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Take out and have the lamb rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving.
8. Every 40 minutes, baste the lamb with the olive oil mixture.
9. Make the red wine reduction sauce: Drain the vegetables from the bottom of the roasting pan through a sieve. Pour the liquid into a pan and reduce on the stove top until half of the liquid remains. Keep the heat on high and add in a slurry of cornstarch and water to thicken the sauce before serving.

The lamb will be perfect and the sauce with the lamb drippings is a delicious accompaniment. If you make this, it will be one memorable meal that you and your guests will be thinking about for weeks!

Juicy medium rare lamb with fragrant rice stuffing

Juicy medium rare lamb with fragrant rice stuffing

* Although I cooked 2 leg of lambs at once, the temperature, cooking time and the wine/mirepoix mixture would remain the same if there was 1 roast.

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