Story & Photography by Christine Fillat
Having invited a passel of your favorite people to your home this holiday season, prepare something special, something magnificent and delightful, a feast not just for the feasting, but also for the eyes and the olfactory. Do as the Greeks, and serve lamb! Jeff Cochran owes his recipe to his wife Valerie and her family, whose heritage of Greek cuisine inspires his culinary expertise. He covers the fresh leg of lamb with the simplest spices: garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, lemon zest, and (the essential and unexpected) cinnamon. In a separate baking dish along side the lamb, roast wedges of Idaho baking potatoes. On the side, Jeff serves home-made spanikopita (also a family specialty) and Greek Village Salad. For dessert? Baklava, of course, and when in the Cochran home, made by son, Alexander. We should be so lucky as Valerie with such talented chefs in her midst. Raise a glass of Petite Syrah to toast Jeff for this exquisite meal.
LEG OF LAMB:
• 6.5lb. Bone-in leg of Lamb (the Cochrans used a local American lamb from Roseda Fams, available at My Butcher
and More, 1401 Forest Drive, Annapolis, MD.)
• 1.25 cups of olive oil
• 2 Tbsp. of ground cinnamon
• Course salt and fresh ground pepper
• 3 Tbsp. of dried oregano (hand crushed)
• Juice of 3 lemons
• Lemon zest from 1 lemon
• 1 full head of garlic (cleaned and sliced into about 50 slivers)
1. Rinse the lamb and pat dry with a clean paper towel.
2. Using a paring knife, insert the knife about 1 inch into the lamb and slip 1 sliver of garlic into the hole. Do one hole at a time and use all 50 pieces all around both sides of the lamb.
3. Next, rub the whole lamb in the olive oil.
4. Evenly sprinkle the cinnamon all over the lamb.
5. Salt and pepper all over both sides.
6. Hand crush the oregano and sprinkle on the lamb all over and then pat it down,
7. Sprinkle the lemon zest on top and pat it down.
8. Place the lamb fat side up on a roasting pan in a 325 degree oven and cook for 1 hour. Stir the remaining olive oil and lemon juice and pour over the top of the lamb. Add a cup of hot water to the bottom of the pan. Baste the lamb every 30 to 40 minutes for the remaining cook time. Plan on 4.5 hours of roasting and 30 minutes of resting before carving.
A lamb of this size should feed 8 to 10 persons. Make sure the leg of lamb is well-done and not pink. This ensures the meat will be tender.
Jeff Cochran is President of Exclamation Communications! Inc., and founder of LinkAnnapolis.
Valerie Cochran is Chief Creative Officer of Exclamation Communications! Inc.
From Vol. 3, No. 6 2012
Annapolis Home Magazine