Roast Lamb with Bread Crust and Pesto
I’ve made this dish for the birthday of my elder daughter in March. We’ve hosted the close family (15 people) and my goal was to create a special meat dish. So, my husband was sent to our butcher and was asked to bring home lamb meat.
The recipe was influenced by this idea of Tuscan-style Lamb Bread. The following yields approximately 8 portions…
1 read lamb leg, approximately 2.5-3 kilograms of weight
1/2 bunch of parsley
1/3 bunch of cilantro
1/3 bunch of mint
2 sprigs of rosemary
5 garlic cloves
3 rosemary sprigs
Chili (the amount depends on one’s taste)
Juice of 1/3 lemon
1/2 glass olive oil
1/3 glass of pine nuts
500 gr. flour
250 ml. warm water
50 ml. olive oil
25 gr fresh yeast (or 8 grams of “instant” yeast)
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1. Lets start with preparing the dough. Soak the yeast in 50 ml. water, add a pinch of sugar and mix thoroughly. Cover with nylon wrapping and leave for 30 minutes in room temperature.
2. Put all the ingredients (including the yeast) in a mixer bowl and using a hook knead the dough – 5 minutes on medium speed. Form the dough into a ball. “Grease” a bowl with olive oil, make an X-shaped cut on the ball, but it in a bowl and cover either with nylon ot with a regular kitchen towel. Leave for about an hour.
3. Now lets start working with the meat. I have asked the buther to remove the bones and cut the meat into a “roll”. This way instead of a lamb leg I have got a clean long roll of boneless meat, which I ended up cutting in half. The butcher used a technique similar to butterfly cut for chicken breasts, but he has repeated the procedure over and over until getting the long roll.
4. Wash the Parsely, Cilantro, Mint and other pesto ingredients and dry. Remove the leaves. Put evertyhing into a blender (but the oil) and, gradually adding the oil beat into a uniform pesto mass. Pesto doesn’t need to be too liquid, so, watch it with the oil. Fry the pine nuts and add to the pesto. Mix again…
5. Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
6. Put the meat on the working surface. At this point you can try and and flatten the meat – it would make the rolls more visually appealing. I didn’t do it, and it turned out ok anyway. Spread the pesto over the meat and roll it.
7. Tie the rolls with strings. Fry the rolls over high heat until golden brown.
8. Bake the rolls for 30 minutes in the oven, then take them off, but don’t turn the oven off yet.
9. Take the dough and split it in 2 halves. Roll each into a “sheet” 1cm-wide. Remove the strings from the fried / baked rolls, and wrap the roll with the dough sheet. Tuck in the sides of the dough (see the photo below). Put the wrapped roles in a baking form on a sheet of baking paper (seam-side down), cover with a kitchen towel and let it “rest” for 20 minutes. Thn bake them for 30 more minutes.
10. Cut the rolls while they’re still warm.