First, the back story, then the recipe. My youngest was earning some extra cash by helping with some shredding in the office. A huge pile of shredding if the truth were to be told. She managed to fill 37 sacks of shredded documents in one day. Given her great work rate and in an effort to keep the “How much ‘ya payin’ me?” conversation to a modest enough number, I brought her out for lunch at a local cafe. While we were waiting for our food, we were discussing family dinner for the following Sunday. A leg of Wicklow lamb had made its way into my possession and this was to be the base of the meal.
I decided to keep the conversation moving by opening the epicurious app on my phone. We were looking through the recipes for lamb and deciding on our options. We found that we were not looking at the recipes but at three things:
- The recipe title
- The picture
- The percentage rating of people who would “cook it again”
Apart from some questionable maths (87% of 42 people would cook it again), our attention was grabbed by Mushroom Stuffed Leg of Lamb. Decision made. However, I could not help wondering about the 87% of 42 people. Perhaps they rate ‘maybes’ on a percentage scale? Anyway, that was the last we saw of that particular recipe. I decided to prepare Leg of Lamb Stuffed with Four Mushrooms with Thyme Polenta. Time for a gratuitous mushroom shot to keep you interested in what I am doing here.
The ingredients list is pretty small:
- A leg of dubiously acquired Wicklow Lamb
- 4 kinds of mushrooms
- Olive oil and butter to fry the mushrooms
- 180 grammes of polenta flour and just over a litre of water (for the polenta)
- Green beans or other vegetable to accompany
Let’s get the polenta out-of-the-way first. Boil the water. Pour in the polenta and get a willing assistant to stir the yellow gloop for half an hour.
When it’s nearly done, add chopped thyme, salt and pepper. Plenty of salt and pepper.
Put it in an oiled dish and smooth it out. It will set. When the time is right, slice it and fry or grill it for serving. You can work that bit out on your own.
The next stage is to add the porcini to about half a litre (a pint) of hot water. This is to reconstitute them and to get about a half litre of really tasty mushroom stock on which to make the gravy.
Next we do the manly meat stuff. We de-bone the leg without cutting through the skin Mine or the lamb). This is to leave us with something to stuff.
When the boning is done, get on with chopping the remaining three types of mushrooms and frying them in a mixture of oil and butter.
The mushrooms will reduce quite a bit while you slow fry them over a low heat for about half an hour.
When they are starting to give up the oil and butter that they absorbed, they are done. If you are living in a cold part of the world (like Ireland right now) put the mushrooms outside the kitchen door to cool down. When they are so, take them in and stuff the lamb with them (and the porcini).
You will note my inventiveness in sealing the roast with skewers. I have managed to misplace my big darning needle that I use to sew up meat with string.
Next thing to do is to reduce the mushroom liquor in a saucepan. I reduced this by about half.
Side note of pride: Please note the beautiful Castle Brand steel, copper and brass saucepans that I am using in this post. Castle were made in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary up to a few years ago. They are great. I will reveal all about these ones in a later post.
Take the joint out of the 200 degree oven after about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes depending on your preference, your confidence and your oven.
Let it rest while you are frying that polenta I mentioned to you earlier. You are also adding the pan juices to the reduction, siving it and cooking the green beans in this time. Then get on with carving the joint.
Serve it to your appreciative guests and bask in the reflected glory of this beautiful dish.
Enjoy it. We did. In fact, 100% of us would make it again, in case you are curious or even Epicurious for that matter.