Have you ever considered selling a body part for a piece of meat?
And no people, I do not mean it in the on-your-knees, spread-your-legs, bend-over kind of way. (Although doesn’t that description sound strikingly like a prostate exam? The inner workings of my subconscious astound me.)
No, no. What I’m talking about is. You walk into Whole Foods. See the price of the leg of lamb you are about to buy. And then tell the guy behind the counter that you’re pretty sure an even exchange is in order. One leg for another. He, of course, refuses because who knows what antibiotics or medications you’re on or whether you’ve been raised cage free or not, and are you even organic? And, well. The demand for an inorganic human leg of unknown origin or breeding is not so high. Especially at Whole Foods.
So you sigh. Tell him, FINE, you’ll take it anyway. And walk away with a piece of meat that should have cost you an arm and a leg but actually cost you around 30 bucks.
And then, because it seems truly unnecessary and uncalled for and probably is illegal in some states to eat a leg of lamb all by your lonesome, you invite one of your favorite blogger friends over, the lovely Victoria of Mission: Food.
This turns out to be especially fruitful because, well. I don’t know if you’ve ever roasted a leg of lamb before. But did you know there is an actual joint inside of it? One that looks shockingly exactly like one a human ball-and-socket joint? I had no idea. Someone should warn you about these things. The FDA. The USDA. Your local friendly Whole Foods guy who refused to accept your limb in exchange for this piece of meat. He really could have taken some pity on you.
So that’s what I’m doing now. Spreading the word. If you’re not prepared to deal with a real dead joint, then go for a boneless piece of meat. It might cost you the equivalent of two legs and an arm. But so be it.
So here’s what happened to me. I saw the joint. I might have shrieked. I might have hyperventilated. Victoria might have had to run and find me a paper bag to breath into so that I didn’t pass out, face down, into the eerily homo sapien-like structure. It’s hard to say as the entire memory is shrouded in one huge haze.
One would think that anatomy lab would prepare you for these kinds of things. But it doesn’t. It really doesn’t.
Thankfully at some point I managed to pull myself together. And so what I can remember is just how beautifully this meat was cooked. It was juicy and tender and oh so flavorful. And it just happened to pair wonderfully with the pomegranate tabbouleh, which is kind of like regular tabbouleh but with a tart sweet twist. The only sad part of all this is that I only have one more meal of leftovers to eat and I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with myself from here on out.
In fact, next time I’m buying two legs of lamb. Even if it costs me an arm, a leg, and a kidney.
Roasted Leg of Lamb
Serves 8, adapted from Symon’s Live To Cook
6 shallots, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp coriander
1 1/2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp red chile flakes
1 (6 lb) leg of lamb (bone-in)
1. In a large bowl, mix together the shallots, garlic, rosemary, sugar, coriander, salt, and red pepper flakes. Rub onto the surface of the lamb. Set the lamb in a large glass baking dish and refrigerate over night, covered in plastic wrap.
2. Preheat the oven to 375. Remove the lamb from the fridge and rinse it off. Pat it dry. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Brown the lamb on both sides.
3. Set the lamb in a roasting pan and roast, fat side up, until it reaches an internal temperature of 140-150 degrees, about 1 1/2 hours. Transfer to a platter and let sit for 20 minutes before cutting.
Makes about 2 cups, adapted from Symon’s Live to Cook
2 cups Greek yogurt
juice of 2 lemons
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced shallots
Stir together all the ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined.
Pomegranate Tabbouleh Salad
Serves 4-6, adapted from Closet Cooking
2 cups water
1 cup bulgur
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup mint, chopped
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 cup cucumber, chopped
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup feta
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon jucie
1 1/2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1. Bring the water to a boil. Stir in the bulgur. Cover and turn off heat. Let sit for 20 minutes.
2. Toss the bulgur with the parsley, mint, scallions, tomatoes, cucumber, almonds, pomegranate seeds, and feta.
3. In a separate bowl, stir together the olive oil through mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss with the bulgur mixture until it is coated.