I just read this in the NY Times: "In January, the United States Department of Agriculture released figures showing that domestic lamb production is at an all-time low, down 13 percent over just one year. On the ranch and on the plate, beef cattle are elbowing out sheep by a little more each year. The average American now eats over 60 pounds of beef annually, but consumption of lamb is just over 1 pound per person."
Beef over lamb? Not in my house! My mom loved to cook lamb. I'm not sure how we afforded it, but we ate lamb chops a lot. Maybe it was a lot cheaper back in the 60's and 70's. That's surely why I developed a long-standing love of lamb - early and frequent exposure.
Traditionally, mint jelly is served with lamb. Maybe people don't really like the strong flavor of lamb and mint covers it up. My mother never served mint jelly and I am not a big fan. Everyone in my house liked the flavor of lamb and gobbled it up.
This recipe is from a cookbook called America's Best: A National Community Cookbook. It was published in 1983, and contained recipes from cooks throughout the country with a special emphasis on recipes from ski country. Its sales raised money for US Ski Team. You can get a copy used for next to nothing. In keeping with the ski theme, the recipes are rated Beginner, Intermediate and Expert, just like ski trails (and they use the circle, square and diamond shapes next to each recipe, just like ski trails). I think my mom bought it for me because a) she thought it was an awesome cookbook, and b) I had just learned to ski. And, it is an awesome cookbook with lots of very solid recipes. Lamb Espresso would be the best of the best, in my opinion.
1 4 pound Leg Of Lamb
3 cloves Garlic
2 tablespoons Dry Mustard
2 tablespoons Ground Ginger
Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 10-ounce Jar Currant Jelly
⅓ cup Tawny Port Wine
½ cup Brewed Espresso Coffee, or very strong regular coffee
Preheat oven to 350℉.
Cut 3 slits in lamb and insert the garlic cloves.
In a small bowl, combine the mustard, ginger, salt, and pepper and rub this mixture over the lamb. Place the lamb in a roasting pan and bake for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine the jelly, wine, and the coffee and mix well. Bring to a boil over high heat and stir until the jelly is dissolved. Reserve.
Baste the lamb every 10 minutes with the sauce, until the lamb is the desired internal temperature (about 50 minutes more for medium-rare). Total roasting time is 90 minutes.
Allow lamb to rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Link to PDF of Lamb Espresso recipe