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Old 03-27-2013, 01:26 PM   #1
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Help-Easter dinner details

I'm trying to nail down the details for our Easter dinner and I have a couple points i need some help with.

I am roasting a leg of lamb and I don't have a large platter. I typically borrow one but I'd like to buy one of my own. I have no idea how large I'll need though. I don't pick the leg up until Saturday evening, so does anyone know the approximate dimensions I should expect for an 8-10 lb leg of lamb?

Also, the recipe I'm using calls for mint and dry red wine. The main flavors of the lamb itself are supposed to be orange peel, tarragon and mint, and the red wine is for a reduction made with the pan drippings that will be served as a sauce alongside. I have 2 people who don't like mint. Any suggestions for a substitute herb or should I just leave out the mint and stick with the tarragon and orange peel?

Finally, dry red wine is a bit vague. We don't drink (but do enjoy dishes prepared with wine) so I'm tempted to just pick up some cheap red cooking wine, but would the dish be better if I actually bought a bottle of wine? I'm not talking about anything fancy here, just supermarket wine. If so, any suggestions on a particular varietel that would work well with this recipe? Will it make a big difference once it is cooked and reduced? I've done wine pairing in restaurants, so I'm not completely ignorant, but I'm not sure if the same concepts carry over to cooking with wine.

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Old 03-27-2013, 01:38 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sprout View Post
I'm trying to nail down the details for our Easter dinner and I have a couple points i need some help with.

I am roasting a leg of lamb and I don't have a large platter. I typically borrow one but I'd like to buy one of my own. I have no idea how large I'll need though. I don't pick the leg up until Saturday evening, so does anyone know the approximate dimensions I should expect for an 8-10 lb leg of lamb?
Hi, Sprout. I just bought a 10-lb. smoked ham and put it on my 16x20-inch baking sheet, to test the size. It fit perfectly, with a few inches around the ham for veggies or herb sprig decorations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sprout View Post
Also, the recipe I'm using calls for mint and dry red wine. The main flavors of the lamb itself are supposed to be orange peel, tarragon and mint, and the red wine is for a reduction made with the pan drippings that will be served as a sauce alongside. I have 2 people who don't like mint. Any suggestions for a substitute herb or should I just leave out the mint and stick with the tarragon and orange peel?
I would leave it out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sprout View Post
Finally, dry red wine is a bit vague. We don't drink (but do enjoy dishes prepared with wine) so I'm tempted to just pick up some cheap red cooking wine, but would the dish be better if I actually bought a bottle of wine? I'm not talking about anything fancy here, just supermarket wine. If so, any suggestions on a particular varietel that would work well with this recipe? Will it make a big difference once it is cooked and reduced? I've done wine pairing in restaurants, so I'm not completely ignorant, but I'm not sure if the same concepts carry over to cooking with wine.
Don't ever buy "cooking" wine It was doctored with salt during Prohibition to keep people from drinking it. It's nasty. Always cook with a drinkable wine.

I don't drink red wine, so I buy the small four-packs of Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot to cook with. That way, you can use one entire small bottle (usually) and not waste the rest of a larger bottle. I think either of those would work. Merlot is a little smoother - not quite as dry - and the Cab is more dry. The small bottles keep for quite a while. hth.
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Old 03-27-2013, 01:47 PM   #3
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I assume you are going to carve the lamb and put the slices of lamb on the platter. If that's the case, a medium-sized platter is adequate. But a larger size may be more practical for overall use such as a Thanksgiving turkey.

When we tell you to NEVER buy cooking wine, it's not because we're wine snobs. The stuff is undrinkable and therefore will ruin any dish it's in. Especially since you are concentrating it's awful flavors. Consider four-packs of an inexpensive red such as merlot or pinot noir. I stay away from cabernet sauvignon as it can often be very tannic.

Leave out the mint.
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Old 03-27-2013, 02:41 PM   #4
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As far as Platter size, I have both large and medium sizes. I prefer the medium, as it's easier to pass at the dinner table for serving and takes up less space on a buffet table. Just have a secondary plate sliced and cover with foil so you can easily refill the platter.


Garlic? I think piercing the lamb all over and inserting garlic slivers is the best. Also, I was thinking rosemary, but if someone doesn't prefer mint, they might not like rosemary either as its a strong flavor. Oregano and the tarragon would work well together along with the citrus flavors. But even without the mint, your recipe sounds like a terrific combination.
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Old 03-27-2013, 05:27 PM   #5
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I make leg of lamb pretty much every Easter without fail. One herb I don't use is mint. Oregano, rosemary, marjoram, and thyme all go well with lamb. And garlic. Definitely garlic. I don't stud mine with garlic, though. I like to make a paste in the food processor with olive oil, whatever herbs I'm using, lemon juice, and a dozen cloves of garlic. Salt the meat well, rub all over with the paste, wrap it in cellophane, and let it sit in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours if possible.

It will be lamb to die for.

Regarding cooking wine, Merlot is a good choice. It's usually inexpensive, not too tannic, and tastes great in reductions. Pinot Noir is also a good choice (although usually more expensive), as is Grenache, Barbera, or Sangiovese.
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Old 03-27-2013, 05:34 PM   #6
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Thank you all!

I usually use rosemary and/or garlic for lamb, but this recipe looked so good, I decided to branch out this time.

You all pretty well confirmed the direction I was leaning toward. I appreciate it. Cooking wine has never made much sense to me. Sure, you can make something edible with canned veggies, but it's sooo much better with quality produce. That's what cooking wine seems like to me, the canned green beans of wine. I think I'll try to pick up a 4-pack of merlot.
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:18 PM   #7
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Sprout--you can put the leftover wine in an ice cube tray and freeze it. That way, you have it for the next time you want to add wine to a recipe. A bottle of decent wine will probably cost the same or less than a 4-pack.
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:37 PM   #8
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I just wanted to update. The meal was wonderful! When I told my brother I needed 2 c. of wine for the sauce he graciously offered to buy a bottle and figure out what to do with the rest of it. He's the only one who drinks in the family, so he was happy to do it.
Thank you all for your suggestions! The meal was a bit hit!
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