Serious Eats: Recipes

Easy Provençal Lamb

[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

When cooking for a crowd I tend to go for the wow factor—big, labor intensive dishes that have me holed up in the kitchen for hours, if not days, and always exhausted by the time my guests arrive. And of course, it was the wow factor that attracted me to this recipe for Easy Provençal Lamb from Ina Garten's How Easy Is That?, which began with a leg of lamb that was bigger than one of my own legs. Was there anyway that cooking a piece of meat this giant would be as easy as its name implies? There was only one way to find out.

I suppose that I should start by say that the most time consuming element of this recipe was dicing the three pounds of tomatoes that are roasted along with the leg of lamb, and chopping tomatoes is pretty simple. The rest of the recipe is merely a matter of slathering the lamb with a combination of Dijon, balsamic, and garlic, scattering the tomato mixture around it and roasting for about an hour and a half—no turning, no basting, not even endless hours in the oven.

True to the recipe, once the timer sounded the leg of lamb was done, crisp and crusty on the outside and perfect medium rare. It smelled fantastic thanks to combination of melting tomatoes, onions, and herbs, and honey Dijon glaze. It was all wow factor with none of the effort that usually accompanies meals of this caliber, gorgeous Mediterranean flavors and perfectly cooked lamb, and even better plenty of lamby leftovers.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of How Easy Is That? to give away this week.

Adapted from How Easy Is That? by Ina Garten. Copyright © 2010. Published by Clarkson Potter. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

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