Any way you slice it, meat and potatoes go together well, especially when you are preparing leg of lamb. Potatoes can be prepared in a variety of ways including the classic roasted kind, usually cooked with the lamb in the roasting pan. For a change of pace, however, look to the international community for potato inspiration, such as the Spanish patatas bravas.
Roasted potatoes are commonly cooked with the leg of lamb. Peel 3 1/2 pounds of russet potatoes and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices. Boil the potatoes in a pot with 2 1/2 pounds sliced onions and 1 3/4 cups beef stock for 10 minutes. Spread the half-boiled potatoes into a buttered roasting pan and season with salt and pepper. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees F. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees F and add the marinated lamb on top of the potatoes. Roast until the lamb has reached at least 130 degrees F in the thickest part.
Potatoes au Gratin
Potatoes au gratin, a cheesy potato casserole, also makes a fine accompaniment to roasted leg of lamb. To make the casserole, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a baking dish that is about 1 1/2 quarts in size. Peel and slice 1 1/2 pounds of potatoes into 1/4-inch slices. Arrange the potatoes in the baking dish and add 1/2 cup grated Gruyere and Parmesan cheese on top. Continue layering potatoes and cheese until you have used all the potatoes. In a small mixing bowl whisk together 1 cup heavy cream with 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper and 1 tsp. salt. Pour the mixture over the potatoes. Top the potatoes with about 1/3 cup butter, sprinkle with 1/8 tsp. paprika and place in the oven for about 1 hour to 1 1/4 hours. Allow the casserole to cool for five minutes before serving.
In Greek cooking, lamb is commonly served with Greek-style potatoes. Preheat the oven to 235 degrees F. In a medium bowl make a vinaigrette by combining 1 1/2 cups olive oil, 6 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 1 chopped shallot, 2 cloves chopped garlic, 2 tbsp. chopped oregano and 1 tbsp. parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss the potatoes with 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette mixture and place onto a baking sheet. Pour 1/2 cup of chicken stock around the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Roast the potatoes in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until they are tender and golden brown. Remove from the oven and drizzle remaining vinaigrette on top.
For an international flair to your lamb dinner, serve patatas bravas, which are potatoes tossed with a slightly spicy red sauce and commonly served in Spanish tapas bars. Heat 3 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Saute two cloves of minced garlic in the oil and 2 tbsp. minced onions until the onions are soft. Remove from heat and stir in 1 1/2 tbsp. Spanish paprika, 1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce and 1/4 tsp. thyme. Pour the sauce into a bowl and add 1/2 cup ketchup and 1/2 cup mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper to taste. To make the potatoes, peel and cut four large russet potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Heat 1 cup olive oil and fry the potatoes in the oil until they are golden brown and cooked through. Pour the sauce over the potatoes just before serving so that the potatoes remain crispy.
- Photo Credit roast potatoes image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com
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