Leg of Lamb with Apricot and Pistachio Filling

By Elizabeth Gawthrop Riely This boned lamb has subtle spicy Middle Eastern flavorings. When you slice it across to serve, the apricots, and pistachios show through like colorful inlay. Serve this for a special occasion with a salad of tomatoes and greens.

Makes 6 or more servings.

Ingredients

3 pound leg of lamb, boned 1/4 cup bulgur 1/2 cup boiling water 5 or 6 tablespoons olive oil 1 small onion, chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 2 mushrooms, diced 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 2 ounces dried apricots cubed (about 1/3 cup) 2 ounces unsalted pistachios (about 1/3 cup) 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste + more for roasting 1/2 teaspoon pepper or to taste + more for roasting

Directions

Open the leg of lamb on a large cutting board. Remove any lumps of fat, if needed, and cut pockets in the thick parts of the meat so it is somewhat even; better not to butterfly it.

Meanwhile, put the bulgur in a small bowl and pour the boiling water over to plump it. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a pan and sauté the mushrooms, stirring. As they begin to color, stir in the onion, then garlic, and cook until softened, just a few minutes in all. Drain any unabsorbed water from the bulgur and add it to the onion mixture with the coriander, allspice, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Mix them well. Stir in the apricots and pistachios, too.

Spread this mixture evenly over the open lamb. Roll the meat back up, tucking in the filling and edges of meat to enclose it all as best you can (don’t worry if some spills out). With kitchen string, tie the lamb up around the length and also the ends to wrap the whole package. Poke any bits of filling back inside. Set the stuffed and tied lamb seam side down on a rack in a roasting pan. Cover and chill until you are ready for roasting unless it is right away; overnight is fine.

Preheat the oven to 450° F and put the oven rack in the center. Rub 2 tablespoons olive oil all over the surface of the lamb and sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Add a cup of water to the bottom of the roasting pan. Set the lamb in the preheated oven, immediately turn the heat down to 350°, and roast until it reaches the temperature of 125° F (this is for rare; 130° to 135° F for medium-rare to medium). Start checking at one hour. The lamb will be brown and crisp on the outside, the interior pink. Let the meat sit for 10 to 15 minutes in a warm place, covered.

To serve, remove the strings and carve the meat across in thin slices. You can dissolve the pan juices if you like with water or stock to make a quick sauce.