Abbachio alla Romana…or Roman Spring Lamb

A few weeks ago I picked up a new cookbook: The Silver Spoon. It was on sale ($9) and I had it on my “to buy” list, so I figured now is as good a time as any. It’s a hefty book, clocking in at just over 1200 pages, but it’s full of pretty much everything and anything Italian. What I like about it is that it picks a topic…say, Polenta…shows you how to make the basic recipe, and then includes a bunch of enhanced recipes using that same basic starting point. I have gnocchi bookmarked as my next project, but I started with a lamb recipe..and then used chicken because I forgot to buy lamb. Oh well. It actually turned out really well, so I figured I’d share it. It makes a ton of food, so make sure you use a big pot!
Roman Spring Lamb ( serves 4)
2 1/2 lb leg of lamb (or about 2 lbs of chicken)
plain flour for dusting
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 fresh rosemary sprigs
4 fresh sage leaves
1 garlic clove, crushed
3/4 cup white wine
5 tablespoons white wine vinegar
4 potatoes sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1. Chop the lamb into pieces or ask your butcher to do this for you
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Dust the pieces of lamb in flour.
3. Heat the oil in a wide roasting pan, add the lamb and cook over high heat, turning frequently for about ten minutes until browned all over. Generously season with salt and pepper, add the rosemary sprigs, sage, and garlic. Turn the pieces over several times so they soak up the flavor
4. Mix together the wine and the vinegar, add to the roasting pan and cook until the liquid has almost completely evaporated.
5. Add 2/3 cup of boiling water and the potatoes, cover and roast for 30 minutes or until tender (my chicken needed a bit less). If the gravy seems to be drying out add a little hot water with a little vinegar mixed with it.
6. Transfer the lamb to a warm serving dish and serve while still hot.
(7. For an even tastier alternative, when the lamb is nearly ready, transfer two to three tablespoons of the gravy to a small pan, add three anchovies and cook over low heat. Mash the anchovies until almost disintegrated and spoon over the lamb and bake for a further 5 minutes.)

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