Friday, May 20, 2011

Seasonal Food Friday - Week Four Lamb

Welcome to the fourth installment of Seasonal Food Friday!

Technically, I'm covering two seasonal foods this week. Spring Peas and Lamb. If you've been hanging around here for a while and know me pretty well, you're already aware that I have a bit of a problem doing short posts. ;~) I guess it's partly because not only do I love to cook; I love to help people learn about food and about how to cook it. Plain and simple.  OK... Let's be honest here. It's mainly because I just don't know how to keep my big mouth shut for very long! Hard to believe I was a very shy quiet child, isn't it? Totally true. I really was. (Mmm Hmm.... I can see you all shaking your heads in disbelief and hear you murmuring Tsk, Tsk as you read that)

Oh well. Let's get on with the good stuff, shall we? This weeks recipes are: Grilled Boneless Leg of Lamb with Mediterranean Plum Sauce, and as a super "Spring-y" side dish to go along with it, Fresh Spring Peas with Shallot Butter. Hmmm... I don't even really like peas, and my mouth is watering a little. I guess it's just a Pavlovian response to the Shallot Butter!

First things first...

The Marinade and The Lamb
  • 1 Cup Plain Yogurt
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 5-6 Cloves Garlic, chopped coarsley
  • 2 Tbls Fresh Oregano Leaves or 1Tbls Dried Oregano
  • 1 Tbls Fresh or Dried Rosemary, chopped a bit
  • 2 Tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 5-6 Lb Leg of Lamb, boned, butterflied and tied

Have your butcher remove the bone, butterfly and tie the Lamb. (if they don't already have it that way in the case) And for Heaven's sake, don't let him/her trim off all of the fat. You really need about 3/4 to 1 inch of fat to keep the meat flavorful and tender.

Mix the first 7 ingredients by hand in a bowl or you can throw them in a food processor or chopper whole. Place the lamb in a large zip-top bag and pour/spoon the marinade into the bag, smooshing (technical cooking term there) the meat around in order to coat it completely with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or up to overnight. (Take it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before grilling to bring it to room temperature)

Remove the meat from the bag and wipe off as much of the marinade as possible with some paper towels.  Season it liberally with salt and pepper.  Prepare your grill so that you have a space to place the Lamb over indirect heat. (if you have questions about how to do this, click here.) Oil the grill grates to prevent sticking.  Cook the Lamb for 45 to 50 minutes for medium, turning occasionally.  For a perfect "medium" an instant read meat thermometer poked into the thickest part of the meat should read 130 - 135 degrees Fahrenheit.  Remove the Lamb to a platter and cover it with foil to allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes before carving. The internal temp will rise anywhere from 5 to 10 degrees while resting.

Mary's (Famous) Mediterranean Plum Sauce
  • 3 14-15oz Cans of Whole Plums in Syrup
  • 1 Tbls Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbls Worcestershire Sauce
  • 4 Large Garlic Cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 Tsp (heaping) Dried Oregano
  • 1 Tsp (heaping) Dried Basil
  • 1 Tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Open the cans of plums and drain the syrup into a medium saucepan. Over a mixing bowl, take 1 Plum at a time and squish (that's another one of those technical cooking terms) it gently, but firmly in your hand. This will release the pulp/meat of the Plum into the bowl, leaving the skin and pit behind in your hand. Discard these.  It's a bit messy, but you will not regret the effort.  This sauce is amazing on Lamb, but is also awesome on other grilled or roasted meats like Chicken and Pork. (and it's fat free!!)

Add the pulp from all 3 cans of Plums to the syrup in the saucepan and then add the rest of the ingredients, stirring well to combine them. Cook the mixture over medium to medium high heat for 25 to 30 minutes, or until reduced by about half and thickened. (if it gets so thick that it's becoming like a paste, add a little chicken broth or water to thin it out)  Just make sure to stir it frequently during cooking and reheating so that it doesn't stick to the bottom or burn. This incredible Plum Sauce can be made ahead of time and reheated just before serving.

And now (drum roll please!) the Peas!

Fresh Peas are probably the only peas that I'll eat. Growing up, Mama loved them and because she was a very impatient woman, they were always from a can. (shiver) They were usually whatever brand was on sale at the time, so the quality and taste differed from one time to the next. No matter how you sliced it, they were just not my cup of tea.  I was that kid who dropped them on the floor for the dog, spit them out clandestinely into my napkin or shoved them under the bits of potatoes or meat that I deliberately left on my plate to cover them up.

Trust me.... "Pea night" was the only time that I willingly and without provocation, scraped the plates into the garbage after dinner, so that my secret wouldn't be discovered. But, once again, I digress. This part is as simple as it gets and it can be done ahead of time. The peas can be covered and refrigerated until ready to saute. (OK... I know you're going to ask, Sooooo yes, if you really must, you can substitute frozen peas in this recipe BUT, never canned!!)

Spring Peas With Shallot Butter
  • 4 Cups Fresh Peas, shelled (or frozen)
  • 4 Tbls Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Large or 2 Medium Shallots, minced
  • 1 Tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
First, bring 5 or 6 quarts of liberally salted water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the raw peas and cook for no more than 3 minutes.  While the water is coming to the boil, prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. (Ice cubes, water and salt) When the peas are done, drain and immediately put them in the ice water to stop the cooking process and help retain their bright green color. Remove them from the ice bath and begin the next step. If you're not going to use them right away, cover them and refrigerate until ready to saute.

In a medium skillet, melt the 4 Tbls of unsalted butter until it's just starting to get foamy. Add the Shallots and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, until just beginning to soften. Add in the blanched Peas and saute for another 2 to 3 minutes.  Pour into a serving dish and enjoy with your Lamb!


I usually serve Couscous with this meal.  The Couscous is just as quick to prepare as the Peas and can be served hot or at room temperature. I use boiling Chicken Stock to reconstitute mine and often add fresh chopped Herbs and sometimes roasted veggies like Asparagus, Onions, Bell Pepper, Zucchini or Summer Squash. Just toss it all with a bit of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper and a splash of a good aged Balsamic Vinegar or fresh Lemon Juice. The leftovers make an excellent cold salad for lunch the next day!

Today I'm linking up with:

hosted by Java @ Never Growing Old

                hosted by
Mama To 3 Blessings and
Home Grown Families


       hosted by
The Adventures of J-Man and
MillerBug and My Saving Game

hosted by Designs By Gollum (click here to go to this blog)


  1. What a feast!!! And I love that you're chatty -- if I just wanted recipes, I can go to or something; I want to spend time in the kitchen with a friend, THAT'S why I come here! I love freshly shelled peas, and I'm even willing to do the work. And I pit thousands of cherries in July, too; absolutely worth the effort, and very relaxing too ... :)

  2. My mouth is WATERING! I love lamb, but don't serve it because it is SO expensive and my family doesn't like it. My daughter and I love peas, but my husband is like you...he'd rather see them in the cat's food dish...what time should I be there for dinner? :)

  3. Oh my! That all looks soooo good. Now I am hungry! LOL

    Stopping by from

    Please come by and follow back, if you havent already.

    Thanks! :)

  4. Wow! a feast for a queen! thanks for sharing.I found your blog via Never Growing have a very beautiful blog with great recipes too. I am following you.Would you like to try Filipino Food? then come on.. grab a seat in my place..

  5. Ohh, that pic of it marinating is just lovely. Lamb is one of my favorite foods. I've never made it, just had it at restaurants. Super yummy.

  6. Stopping by from the Friday Follow hop.
    Have a great day!

  7. this all looks terrific!!!
    You made me hungry!
    I got here through the blog hop!

    new fan!

  8. Mary: Thank you for the very sweet comments. You're such a doll. I wish I liked them as much! I will eat them if they're fresh, but so many others top my favorites list. The lamb is another story! LOL We have it several times throughout the year.

    Liza: Dinner's in a couple of weeks, when the weather get's more reliable, but you're welcome as the spring flowers! LOL! Have you checked with your local Farmer's Markets for better prices? Around here, they have the stores beat by a mile.

    Night Owl: Thanks for coming by and following! Hope you have a snack nearby to tide you over! LOL I'll be by to visit too!

    Marelie: Thank you! I love Phillipino food, so I'll be popping over to visit for sure!

    Michael Lee: Thank you! And thanks so much for hosting Foodie Friday! It's a great meme/hop! Come on by any time!

    Ali: Thanks! It's so much easier than you would imagine! You can do it right in the oven if you don't have a grill too! If you ever have any questions about it, feel free to email me!

    Posh: Hi! Thanks for coming by! Hope you have a great day too!

  9. mominrome: Thanks for stopping by! I'll be over soon to visit!

  10. Mrs. B, thank you so much for visiting my blog today and becoming my newest follower. Following you back! Looking forward to checking out all your yummy recipes. Have a great weekend!

  11. Oh my goodness! I have died and gone to Heaven! This looks absolutely divine!

    Returning your follow! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!

  12. I was here earlier from the work computer and dint see your comment box then!
    Pic are gorgeous and food looks super...
    Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Everything looks soooo yummy! I love this blog!

    Stopping by on the weekend blog hop!

  14. Hi Mary, sending a sweet hello from Frog Hollow Farm and a big thank you for taking the time to pop into my blog post from Foodie Friday! It's always so nice to meet new Blogger friends. I read through your delicious menu and recipes and you have me starving already - and it's only 6am here in NW NJ! We have lots of things in common I think - we both have a hard time writing short posts LOL! and we love cooking with organic ingredients! We don't eat a lot of lamb here for some reason, not sure why, but this recipe looks so yummy I might just give it a try! Thanks again for stopping by - I'm looking forward to seeing what your next post offers! Ciao, bella! xxoo

  15. Well I like your background too! Thanks for hanging out at Bacon Time. I Subscribed to your blog. Funny, I follow a lot of blogs and yours and mind are the only spoons and forks I have seen. I might just have to change mine, I wonder if I can find bacon. lol

  16. Brenda: Thanks for stopping by and following back! I've got lots more recipes and lots more "gab" in me! LOL

    Empty Nester: Thanks so much for following back! I guess we're all still here, and it IS the 21st! LOL I think heaven will have to wait for us, don't you? *chuckle*

    SD Savannah: You're welcome! and Thanks for following back. Glad you enjoyed the recipe!

    LWCF: Hi! Thank you for coming by! I'll be by soon to visit you too!

    FH Farm Girl: Thank you! I do hope you give the Lamb a try. It's a lot milder than it's reputation and most larger Farmer's Markets have Organic/Free Range meats as part of their offerings. Nothing wrong with a little "dinner for breakfast", right? Ha Ha!! I'll have to do some brunch and breakfast recipes soon. I have lots of them!

    Mindie: Thank you! Your blog is the only other one I've seen with this background too. I guess other people just don't know good taste when they see it, eh? A "bacon" background would be awesome! As Emeril says... Pork Fat Rules!!

  17. Love your blog and what a great recipe for plum sauce. Can't wait to give it a try. This is my first visit here and I'll be following you.
    ~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

  18. Hi, I am visiting from the Weekend bloghop 8 and I am following you.I would love for you to check out my blog.
    You are making me hungry.

  19. Ahrisha: Hi! Thanks for stopping by and for following! I'll be by for a visit for sure! This plum sauce isn't really like the ones you get at most Asian restaurants either. It has these savory and sweet flavors that just draw you in and make you want to put it on everything! Well... maybe not your cereal!

    Shanda: Thank you for coming by and following! I'll be popping over to meet you too! When someone reads one of my posts and leaves here wanting to get in the kitchen and cook, (whether it's that day's recipe or something in their own repertoire) then I feel I've done my job! LOL

  20. I completely relate to your long posts issue! I remember the term: wordy” being written in red on a number of my school papers. The most common response to my written work as an adult is to” tighten it up”. We all have our own style, and like you my feeling is, that’s great. I love detailed posts, especially when I’m cooking something I’ve never cooked before. The more information you can supply on the how-to-aspects of cooking the better.

    These recipes look delicious. I’m not a big meat eater, and I’m interested to know if you have some tasty non-meat main dishes you can share.

  21. I LOVE this post and eating seasonal.

    I just found your blog through one of the Sunday blog hops! Can't wait to read more. Hope you have a good week.

    Amanda @


I love comments! I read every one and they truly make my day! I no longer allow anonymous comments due to increases in spam, etc. SUBSCRIBE to the COMMENTS on this post (below) to get a notice of my reply via email! Thanks for stopping by and for absolutely making my day! XOXO Mary

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