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Old 03-21-2005, 09:34 AM   #1
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Frozen Lamb

I have had a boneless leg of lamb in the freezer for quite awhile. Probably since October '04. do you think it will still be o.k. to cook? I am having 3 couples over for dinner on 4/1 and would like to grill it for them. Any idea if it will be o.k.? A bad lamb dish would be the mother of all April Fool's jokes.

It weighs just less than 4 lbs. Do you think it will feed 8 people ?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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Old 03-21-2005, 01:27 PM   #2
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If the lamb was well wrapped in airtight materials, it should be fine for grilling. Properly frozen, it wouldn't spoil, but it may have some freezer burn. If there are a couple of freezer burned spots, you can trim them off and proceed.

If it's a boneless leg, 4 pounds should easily serve 8 people.
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Old 03-21-2005, 02:32 PM   #3
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If you want to go fail-safe so that it won't be tough, you should slow roast it in an oven rather than grill it.

Best way would be to butterfly the leg, fill it with some type of filling/stuffing, then roll it back up and tie it with butcher's string. Pan sear it, then roast it in the oven along with mire poix vegetables at about 350 while loosely covered in foil. Deglaze on top of the stove when done to make a sauce. A dutch oven or Le Creuset will work best, although you can use a heavy saute pan provided that it is large enough to hold the lamb.

For your stuffing you can use pestos, tapenades, a mixture of nuts/dried fruits/cheese, or whatever recipes you can find on the net. The only thing I would really not advise using is a cured/smoked meat like proscuitto or speck because it will really work against the flavor component of the lamb.

To deglaze, you can use a combination of port/lamb stock, red wine/lamb stock, or just port and/or red wine. Lamb stock can be purchased in powdered or concentrated form like other stocks, and you just add hot water to make the stock. You can reduce it with fresh herbs as well (bay leaves, rosemary, and thyme work best). Once the sauce finishes reducing, strain it from the mire poix into a sauce pan, then emulsify with unsalted butter and season to taste. It will have a "jus" like lighter consistency.
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Old 03-21-2005, 02:59 PM   #4
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I have grilled the boneless leg before with freat results. I use Wolfgang Puck's method of indirect heat grilling and don't overcook it. It has received very high praise.
I appreciate the quick response from both of you and am glad to know that it should be o.k. to use. It is very well wrapped, and I don't expect that it will have any freezer burn on it.

Ironchef, your method looks great. I am now in a dilemma about how I want to cook it. Nice situation to be in, though.
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Old 03-21-2005, 05:45 PM   #5
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Old 03-21-2005, 06:46 PM   #6
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Let's see ... the Greeks, Italians, Jews and Arabs have been grilling succulent lamb successfully for how many years?

A boneless leg of lamb packaged in one of those thick cryovac plastic bags will keep easily in the freezer for a year or more without freezer burn - they are vacuum packaged. If it was in one of those plastic "boats" with a thin saran-wrap type wrappers .. about 2-3 months.

I like mine simple ... Extra Virgin oilve oil, garlic, and rosemary. In the oven .... I cook it at about 250-F and then crank it up to about 500-F for the last 15-30 minutes (to form a crust). On the grill ... I sear it over direct heat and then move it off to slow roast - sometimes I cook it flat, sometimes I roll it.

A large part of how much it will shrink depends on the cooking method ... low and slow will shrink less (figure on 10%-20%) ... hot and fast you can count on 30% or so. And, how long you cook it. But, 4 pounds for 8 people ... that should work. You should wind up with between 5-7 oz servings.
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Old 03-21-2005, 07:33 PM   #7
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lindalou, if it is not freezer burned it should be OKAY. Freezer burn usually shows the meat dark and dried out in spots. But it still should be edible, unless it has that rotten meat oder. Marinate it in plain yogurt and your favorite herbs and it should taste absolutely great.
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