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Roast Lamb with Mint-Apple Couscous

Roast Lamb with Mint-Apple Couscous
The natural sweetness of new-season roast lamb is unique. Here it is served with a much lighter and more refreshing alternative to roast potatoes: a warm, tangy couscous salad flecked with diced apple, green beans and peas, bathed in a minty lemon dressing.

Ingredients:

For the marinade:

  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. peppercorns
  • 1 leg of lamb, about 4 lb.
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil

For the mint-apple couscous:

  • 2 cups couscous
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 5 oz. green beans, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 4 Tbs. olive oil
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 red sweet apples, cored and diced
  • 4 Tbs. chopped fresh mint leaves

For the garnish:

  • Lemon wedges
  • Fresh mint sprigs

Directions:

To make the marinade, combine the wine, onion, garlic, brown sugar, bay leaves and peppercorns in a large plastic bag.

Rinse the lamb in cold water, pat dry with paper towels and prick with a fork. Add the lamb to the bag and seal well. Put it into a large, shallow container or roasting pan and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the lamb from the refrigerator, turn it over in the marinade and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Preheat an oven to 375°F.

Remove the lamb from the bag and put it in a roasting pan; reserve and refrigerate the marinade. Drizzle the lamb with the olive oil. Cook for 25 minutes per pound for medium plus an extra 25 minutes for well-done, spooning the meat juices over the lamb once or twice during cooking.

About 15 minutes before the lamb is done, make the mint-apple couscous. Put the couscous in a bowl and add the boiling water. In a saucepan of boiling water, cook the green beans and peas for 4 minutes. In a bowl, mix together the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper and stir in the diced apple. Pour off any excess water from the couscous, then stir in the green beans and peas and the apple mixture. Add the chopped mint and toss together.

Transfer the lamb to a carving board and cover with aluminum foil. Pour the juices from the roasting pan into a saucepan, add the reserved marinade and boil for 3 minutes. Strain into a sauceboat to serve at the table. Slice the lamb and arrange each serving on top of some couscous. Garnish with lemon wedges and mint sprigs. Serves 6.

Note: For a summer version, serve with barbecued butterflied shoulder of lamb. If you are not feeding a crowd, reduce the size of the couscous salad and serve with broiled lamb chops or lamb kabobs.

Adapted from Easter: Food and Entertaining (Hamlyn, 2003).