As we have done for the last few years we hosted Christmas Eve dinner at our place. This year was a little different though as my In-laws only came after dinner as they wanted to have something on at their own place. No issue as that meant more food for those that did come!
This year was also a bit different in the sense that I had to prepare EVERYTHING on the 24th itself - including the chocolate cakes that I take to my parents house every year for Xmas day itself. We had spend 3 days in Langkawi celebrating my Mom-in-laws 70th birthday and only got back late on the 23rd.
No grocery shopping of any kind had been done either so early on the morning of the 24th, The Lovely Wife and I went down to the local supermarket and purchased a Leg of Lamb. She then dropped me home to start on the cakes while she went to get more groceries. We had decided to try and keep things simple and so went down the route of Roast Lamb. I wanted to roast the lamb with some mushrooms but the only mushrooms The Lovely Wife could get a hold of were these awesomely huge Portobellos so I stuffed some with Minced Beef and sliced the rest to make a Garlic Mushroom dish.
We also bought lots of bread from the local bakery and served it with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar much like they do in Italian restaurants. For the appetiser, my Mom had given us some Proscuitto and we paired that with some Honeydew.
I made some Roasted Potatoes to accompany the lamb as well
while The Lovely Wife decided to make some spicy Couscous.
The lamb was slow roasted with lots of garlic and rosemary on a bed of onions and whole garlic. The soft roasted garlic was then squeezed out and added in with the drippings and thickened with some flour to make a sauce.
I had read on the web that you should cater for about 200-250g per person for a leg of lamb and since there were 10 of us, I decided on a 2kg leg taking into account that my parents dont eat that much. My kids are always counted as adults as far as food goes what with their refined palletes and penchant for good food.
This is what I did:
Roasted Leg Of Lamb
1 2kg Leg of Lamb
2 bulbs whole garlic
8 cloves garlic
2 whole onions - peeled
3 carrots - cut into large pieces
4-5 stalks fresh rosemary
Preheat Oven to 200C. Make incisions on the lamb leg and stuff with cloves of garlic. Season with salt and black pepper. Place whole garlic, and onion and 2 stalks of rosemary on bottom of roasting pan. Place the lamb on top and drizzle liberally with Olive Oil. Cover with aluminium foil and place in oven. Immediately reduce the temperature to 160C and allow to roast for at least 4 hours. On the 3rd hour, remove the foil and add in the carrots to the juices. Re-cover the pan and continue roasting. Remove from Pan and allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving. While resting, drain the sauce into a pan and add in 2 Tbs flour. Add in the roasted garlic, removed from the skin and cook till gravy is slightly thick.
As for the Roast Potatoes, simply pare the potatoes, cut them into halves and season with some basil, salt and black pepper. Line a baking pan with Aluminium foil and place potatoes inside. Toss in Olive Oil and cover potatos with foil and seal. Place in bottom of oven for about 1.5 - 2 hours while lamb roasts.
The lamb was delightfully tender and juicy and was lightly flavoured and fragrant with rosemary and garlic. The sauce accompanied the lamb very well as most of the flavours were natural. The Lovely Wife made a mint sauce as well and we also served two types of mustard with the lamb.
Although the leg of lamb was rather expensive, the ease in making this dish as well as the number of people it fed comfortably means that this is something that I would really consider doing again when cooking for a large group. The flavours were very simple yet satisfying and everyone really enjoyed this leg of lamb.
There was a little lamb and garlic mushrooms left over which was turned into a lovely pasta for lunch on boxing day.
This was a great Christmas Dinner and the only thing lacking was that there was no 'dedicated' dessert due to the lack of time. I served some of my chocolate cake instead and since everyone was really full from the satisfying lamb, there were no complaints of no special dessert!
Merry Christmas Everyone and a Blessed New Year ahead!