I used to be really intimidated making lamb on the grill but the more that I grill which is basically all summer long, the more comfortable I get with it and the instincts come in naturally; when to turn the piece of meat, how fast to run when you hear the the hissing sound of a flare up and the “knowing” of when dinner is done. Grilling is so much more forgiving than I originally thought. And lamb is no different than a good steak on the grill, it needs a good watch. And a nice salad to complete it along with a nice sauce on the side. In this case, a simple arugula and feta salad compliments the lamb along with a minty, lemony, slightly salty and sweet relish on the side, which goes with both. Double the relish recipe, if you need a sauce with your lamb, there was a time I would not be able to have one bite of lamb without mint jelly. Now that I look back, it more of mint jelly with lamb, not lamb with mint jelly, lol. Enjoy your weekend, it looks like it’s going to be a beauty!
- (1) one and a half pound butterflied leg of lamb
- 1 cup loosely packed mint leaves, roughly minced
- 1 cup loosely packed sorrel leaves, (with the inner stem removed) roughly minced
- 10 Castelvetrano* olives, pitted and minced *any bright green olive will do
- 1 lemon, halved
- 4-5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar with apple or pear pulp
- garlic powder
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
Start off by scoring the fat of the lamb about an inch apart in a checkerboard pattern and seasoning your lamb with sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder and the juice of half a lemon. Rub in all of the ingredients. Let it sit in a shallow glass plate, covered for 1 hour at room temperature. If you feel the least bit uncomfortable with this, marinate it in the refrigerator for the hour. Cooking is all about having fun in the kitchen and not worrying about a thing. In the meantime, combine the mint, sorrel, olives, olive oil, juice of half the lemon, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder and black pepper. Season to taste. Heat up your grill to about 400 degrees, keeping it at a steady temperature. Place your lamb fat side down onto the grill and flip every 5 minutes for a total grill time of 20 minutes for a medium piece of lamb. If you want more of a rarer piece, flip every 3-4 minutes. According to the Joy of Cooking lamb is done at a temperature ranging from 130-135 degrees fahrenheit for rare and 140-150 degrees fahrenheit for medium. If unsure, remove the lamb from the grill and take the temperature once you suspect your lamb is done. Once your lamb is done, remove and cover and let sit for about 5 minutes, to let the juices collect. Serves 4.
At my first Easter dinner having grilled lamb chops, (about more than a century ago at this point) I covered them with as much mint jelly as possible. I didn’t appreciate them as much as I do today. When I was asked with a little bit of a smile, “Mary…are you enjoying your lamb chops?” I replied, “Yes…I just really, REALLY like mint jelly.” (Which was true, I could eat mint jelly by the spoonful. I just love it.) But as the years past, I noticed I put less and less mint jelly on my lamb chops and have grown to enjoy them, especially around springtime. So, whether celebrating Easter, Seder dinner or just a nice dinner welcoming spring…Enjoy!
For the mint chimichurri:
- 2 cups loosely packed mint leaves, finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon raspberry white balsamic vinegar
- generous pinch pink Himalayan sea salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- red pepper flakes* optional
Finely chop, mince and mash your garlic. Adding salt always helps with this process. Use a mortal and pestle if you have one, if not, keep mashing and chopping until you get a paste with occasional pieces of garlic, if you are a garlic lover. Combine the mint, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and peppers. Add more salt if needed and let sit at room temperature for about 2 hours, so the flavors blend together. Grill your lamb chops and serve with the chimichurri on the side. Serves 4. Enjoy!
This roasted chicken is so juicy. The meat is so tender and succulent, more so when you cut up the chicken and let it sit in the pan juices before serving it. I almost hesitate calling it a roasted chicken because the skin is so soft but if you want more of a crispy skin, just don’t baste it as much. This is a nice meal to share among four people, pair the chicken with a good multi-grain bread, to dunk in the buttery sweet pan juices. A wild rice dish served on the side, along with a Waldorf salad to start and an apple pie for dessert would complete this meal. Enjoy!
- 1 4-pound chicken
- 1 small apple, like a Gala, cut in half
- about 10 mint leaves, 2 left whole, the rest roughly chopped
- 6 oz. apple juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon amaretto *optional
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter,cut into small pieces
- sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. With a sharp knife, cut your chicken down the breast side, along the back. Please be careful when doing this and using a sharp knife makes it easier, along with slightly pressing down on the knife. You can cut down the other side and remove the back bone and save it for stock or just include it in the baking pan. I’m sure you can always ask the butcher to do it for you, if you’re hesitant. Salt and pepper the inside of the chicken and place 2 mint leaves inside the chicken cavity, around the breast area works best. Take your apple halves and place them cut side down in the roasting pan, eyeing where they will fit easily inside the chicken once you place the chicken over them. Or as I did, I fit the apples, round side in, and cut side out, in the chicken and then placed it in the pan. It sounds more complicated than it really is. You basically want the apple halves to roast inside the open chicken. One of my favorite ways to roast chicken is to put an apple inside but at the same time, I enjoy roasting the chicken with it cut open because all of the skin gets to caramelize and brown. In a small bowl whisk the apple juice, honey and amaretto. Pour over the chicken. Into the apple juice mixture sprinkle half the mint leaves. Season your chicken with sea salt and ground pepper and top with the unsalted butter. Roast your chicken for an hour and fifteen minutes and up to an hour and a half. After about 30 minutes, baste your chicken with the juices about every 15 minutes. Try not to let any mint leaves on the skin when done basting because they will just burn. Once your chicken is done, let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes. If you are using the pan juices, remove the apple and serve along side the chicken, it’s really good. Strain the juices with a fine mesh sieve and pour them back into the pan and put your chicken back in or serve the juices on the side. Sprinkle with mint leaves and serve.
I’m so excited, I grilled a tea bag! Not just a tea bag, lol. I added some fruit but I am thinking differently about the humble little bag. It infused the peaches and strawberries with a delicate rose hip flavor as it bubbled away over the flames. I went a little heavy on the mint in the Greek yogurt, so you can add or take away according to how much you like mint. Enjoy and happy grilling with tea bags!
- 4 ripe peaches, halved and sliced
- 1 pound strawberries, trimmed and halved
- 2-4 tablespoons honey
- 1 rose hip tea bag, I used Crimson Blossom from Trader Joe’s
- splash of vanilla extract
- 17.6 oz. container of Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh mint plus a few leaves for garnish
- 2 tablespoons blue agave sweetener
- 1 tablespoon uncooked amaranth grain
Layer a few sheets of aluminum foil on top of each other and make a sort of bowl out of it, to hold your fruit in it. Heat up your grill to about 500 degrees. Take your tea bag and moisten it well, this is so it doesn’t burn right away. It works almost like soaking wood skewers. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of honey over the peaches, strawberries and the tea bag. Toss well to combine. Place your aluminum bowl over a flat cast iron pan and place on the grill. Peek in on your fruit often, to make sure it doesn’t burn and try to keep your tea bag on top of the fruit until the fruit releases its’ juices. After about 15 minutes taste the liquid and see if you need to add more honey and add in the splash of vanilla extract at this time. While your fruit is grilling away, combine the yogurt, mint and agave sweetener and set aside. Your fruit will be ready after about half an hour. You will see it bubbling away with all of its’ juices and then it will reduce. The fruit will begin to stick to the foil, once that happens, your fruit is ready. Once your fruit has cooled down a bit, remove the tea bag. Heat up your non-stick pan till it is hot on high heat and throw in your amaranth grain and gently shake the pan over the heat until they begin to pop. This serves about 3. Divide the yogurt, fruit among your bowls and top with the popped amaranth grain and mint leaves.
I was so obsessed with the amaranth popping! I originally wanted to just toast it to give the yogurt a little bit of a crunch. But as I shaked and shaked the pan over the flame, to my surprise it started popping. “How fun!” I thought! The batch below is a burnt one, but I couldn’t help thinking how pretty and delicate it looks. After some trial and error, I learned that you have to heat up the pan nice and hot before you throw in the amaranth grains.