By Elizabeth Gawthrop Riely This stuffed leg of lamb is practical for a festive occasion, as it can be stuffed and rolled ahead of time, ready to roast when the guests arrive. There is no waste and leftovers are delicious. Be sure to ask the butcher for the bone which you can use for Scotch Broth (click here for recipe). Butterflied leg of lamb from the supermarket can be flattened and thin, so you may prefer to bone it yourself (follow the bone to cut it out with a sharp knife, trimming lumps of fat and tendons; slash the thickest part of the flesh for even thickness). For more people, use a larger cut of meat and roast it a little longer, to the temperature given below.
Makes 6 or more servings.
3 pound leg of lamb (weighed without the bone), boned and butterflied 3 tablespoons olive oil + more for surface of lamb 2 ounces mushrooms, chopped 6 ounces spinach, trimmed 2 shallots, chopped 1 clove garlic, minced Salt and pepper to taste
Open up the leg of lamb on a cutting board; if necessary remove any lumps of fat. Cut slashes in the thick part of the meat, if needed, to make it fairly even.
Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and add the mushrooms over medium heat, stirring to soften, then let them color a bit, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat, add the shallots and garlic, and stir until translucent. Toss in the spinach and turn the leaves in the juices, cooking them just until wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
As soon as the spinach cools a bit, spread it over the opened lamb. Roll the meat back up, enclosing the stuffing and tucking in the ends as best you can. Tie the meat with string at three or so intervals. You can wrap and chill the meat at this point before proceeding. (Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before roasting.)
Preheat the oven to 450° F and set the oven rack in the center. Put the meat seam side down on a rack in a roasting pan. Rub the surface of the lamb with a little olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Pour a cup of water in the bottom of the pan. Put the lamb in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 350° F. Roast until the internal temperature is 125° F on an instant-read thermometer for rare, or 130° F to 135° F for medium-rare (if you like well-done lamb, better to look for another recipe). Check after one hour. The meat should be brown, juicy, and crisp on the outside, still pink on the inside. Let the meat rest in a warm place for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the strings and carve the meat across into rounds and serve on warm plates. The green spinach center will contrast beautifully with the pink meat.