2 thick slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
1/2 red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4 cup 100 percent pomegranate juice
1 cup dried tart cherries
1 boneless leg of lamb (4 1/2 to 5 pounds), excess fat trimmed
6 tablespoons panko
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt, divided
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper, divided
Pairs Well With
Grgich Hills Estate Miljenko’s Old Vines Napa Valley Zinfandel
In a small skillet over medium-low heat, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a large bowl. Set aside to cool.
Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the onion to the skillet with the bacon fat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the pomegranate juice and bring to a boil. Add the cherries, remove from the heat, and set aside to plump the cherries, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450°F.
Add the cherry mixture to the bowl with the bacon. Stir in the panko, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, 1 teaspoon of the thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Unroll the lamb and trim any silver skin from the inside of the leg. Spread the inside evenly with the stuffing mixture. Roll the leg up into a log shape and tie with kitchen twine at 1- to 1 1/2-inch intervals. Sprinkle on all sides with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, remaining 1 teaspoon of thyme, and remaining 1 teaspoon of pepper. Arrange the lamb, fat side up, on a rack in a roasting pan large enough to comfortably hold it. Roast for 15 minutes.
Reduce the oven to 325°F and continue roasting until an internal thermometer inserted into the center of the meat reads 130°F for medium rare, 11/4 to 1 1/2 hours total cooking time. Transfer the lamb to a cutting board and let it rest, loosely covered with foil, for 15 minutes.
Remove the twine and slice the lamb crosswise. Drizzle with the pan drippings and serve.
Copyright Jill Silverman Hough. All rights reserved. www.jillhough.com