Monday, May 16, 2011

Easter Dinner - Roasted Leg of Lamb and Turkey Breast

I never pass up a holiday that I can cook for and Easter with the traditional foods that I grew up with is no exceptions. Although I have to admit I don't know if I follow many of our recipes too closely. I'd like to think that I have come up with a good version of my mother and grandmothers cooking but with my own set of ingredients. I have so much respect for my elders when I host a holiday dinner. There was always so much at our holiday spreads and it was always homemade! My easter was a bit smaller - only four of us turned out - but the spread was pretty impressive. One of the best parts of the dinner was the "drunk" girl roasted potatoes that my good friend Jema provided! Not only were they delicious but I loved the story.

This year I decided that I would butterfly my lamb roast and stuff it with a mint chimichurri - it was easy to assemble because my lamb roast had one of those elastic mesh "girdles" on it. I served it with bacon wrapped asparagus which is a decedent twist on the spring time classic. The turkey breast was obtained for free (yay!) due to some smart shopping and a great holiday special at Shoprite. Turkey breasts are such a great option for holidays - they take much less time than a whole turkey and still have all of the deliciously tender white meat that most people enjoy.

As always I brined my turkey, I find it hard to eat poultry prepared any other way recently as brining is just so easy and delicious (though it does take a bit of advance planning)

keep reading for the recipe for the turkey breast

Garlic Lemon Brine 
4c hot water (from the tap not boiling)
1/3 c kosher salt
a few sprigs each of fresh thyme, sage and parsley
juice of a lemon and the rind all cut up into strips
2 tbsp whole peppercorns
2 bay leaves
3 crushed garlic cloves
2 c cold water

1) Stir the salt into the hot water to dissolve (don't go further till its all dissolved)
2) Add the rest of the seasonings then add cold water till it comes back to room temp
3) Wash off your chicken/turkey and then place in a 2G ziplock w the brine for 2 - 24 hrs (about 8-12 hrs is best if its on the bone - if its boneless you only need like 2-3 hrs) - keep it in the fridge and rotate it every once in a while so it all get soaked in the brine to cook the turkey -- 
4) Pour out the brine and remove any herbs that are stuck
5) Pat dry with a paper towel and rub down w olive oil and herb de provance then stuff cavity w lemon slices, garlic
6) Make some slits in skin and add cloves of garlic/ lemon to bird (truss w twine if its a whole bird)
7) Roast at 350 F breast side up on a rack to about 165 F