L’Etoile’s Spinach-and-Mint Stuffed Lamb

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Odessa Piper developed this recipe for the legs of lamb from Janie Crawford’s farm. Since the recipe calls for only 4 to 6 ounces of lamb per person, this is a very economical dish. Odessa bones the leg and takes out each separate muscle, removes the ‘white’ skin and tendons, and then pounds out the meat to form a steak a little more than ¼ inch thick before rolling it up around the spinach and mint stuffing.

She uses feta cheese from Capriole in Blue River, Wisconsin, but any fresh, white, tender, nonsalty fetastyle goat cheese will do. You will need a large (gallon-size) freezer-strength plastic bag and a mallet for pounding out the lamb.

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Ingredients

  • 4 pieces boneless leg of lamb, 4 to 6 ounces each, trimmed of all fat and membrane
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bag (10 ounces) young spinach, stemmed, washed, drained
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves
  • ½ cup crumbled fresh feta cheese
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 cups lamb or chicken stock
  • 1 cup couscous
  • ½ cup dried red currants

Method

Working with one piece at a time, put the pieces of lamb in a plastic bag with all but one of the edges cut off and gently pound the lamb until it forms a cutlet ¼ inch thick and about 6 inches by 4 inches.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat until a drop of water splashed into it splatters. Then add the spinach, season with salt and pepper, and toss for 1 minute. Add the mint leaves and toss again. Cook until the spinach is half wilted, about 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool.

Arrange the spinach mixture equally along one edge of each flattened lamb piece and sprinkle the feta on top. Roll up the lamb tightly, folding in the ends before the last turn. Make sure you roll in the appropriate direction so that when the cooked lamb is sliced, the cut is against the grain.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Heat 2 or 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Season the lamb rolls with salt and pepper and sear them in the pan, turning until nicely browned all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the oven and roast for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the onion and remaining olive oil in the sauté pan, cover, and cook over low heat until the onion is softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the parsley and cook uncovered for 1 minute. Pour in the stock. Bring to a boil and add the couscous and ½ teaspoon salt. Return to a boil and mix in the currants. Cover and cook over very low heat, adding more liquid if necessary, until the couscous is tender and has absorbed the liquid, about 20 minutes.

Serve with a bed of the couscous in the center of each of 4 hot large plates. Cut each roll diagonally across the grain into 3 or 4 sections and place in a pile against each other in the center of the couscous.

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