Curried Lamb Leg with Roasted Grape Relish and Smashed Chickpeas

I know. Lamb is really cute. But you know what else it is? DEEElicious. It may make some people think of spring lamb, but I think of autumn grills and winter braises. Lamb represents the richer end of the red meat spectrum, so it’s perfectly suited for long marinades and slow cooking. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. As much as I love sitting by the fireplace in the depth of winter with a hearty roast, we’re still just crossing the border into fall. Let’s save the deep roasting for later in the year. That doesn’t mean we can’t have succulent lamb now, though!

With a bold marinade, a healthy sear and a little time to finish in the oven, lamb is a great transition from summer to fall to winter.  Throw in a couple of summery flavors and you’ve got this great blend of seasons on your plate!

Curried Lamb Leg with Roasted Grape Relish and Smashed Chickpeas
Serves 4
Chickpea Smash
1 ½ pints Dry Chickpeas
¾ Cinnamon Stick
1 ½ tsp Fennel Seed
Pinch Whole Black Peppercorns
1 ½ tsp Whole Cumin
3 tsp Kosher Salt, divided
2/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pinch Lemon Zest
½ tsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
½ cup  Chicken Stock
½ cup Smoked Flagship
Lamb Marinade
3 Tbsp Garlic Clove, very roughly chopped
2 Tbsp Madras Curry Powder
2 ½ tsp  Whole Dried Oregano
½ tsp Cayenne Powder
4 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Tbsp Seasoned Rice Vinegar
1 ½ tsp Kosher Salt
4 trimmed legs of lamb, 7 oz each

2 Tbsp Canola Oil
Roasted Grape Relish
4 cups de-stemmed, halved red and green grapes

1 Tbsp Canola Oil
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
1 tsp Kosher Salt
2 Tbsp Capers in juice
3 Tbsp Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar
1 ½ tsp thinly sliced Red Onion
Dash Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Pinch Kosher Salt
1 Tbsp Mint, very coarse chiffonade
1 Tbsp Italian Parsley, very coarsely chopped

Soak beans overnight. Rinse and sort well. In a wide stockpot, cover beans with cold water.  Create a cheesecloth satchel with the spices, except the salt, and add to the pot.  Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium and cook until done but not mushy, about 1 hour. While cooking, remove starch as it rises to the surface. The last 15 minutes of cooking add 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt. Strain the beans and reserve 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid.  Combine beans, reserved liquid and olive oil in a food processor and mix coarsely, leaving plenty of chunky texture. Put mixture in a large bowl and mix in lemon, ground pepper and remaining salt. Transfer it all to a large pan and combine with chicken stock and Smoked Flagship cheese over medium heat until cheese is melted, stirring regularly.
Combine the garlic, curry powder, oregano, olive oil and kosher salt for the marinade. Add the lamb and toss to coat well and marinate for 3 – 8 hours. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Once hot, add 2 tablespoons of canola oil but don’t let it get hot enough to start smoking. Remove lamb from marinade and put it in the pan, searing until a nice, caramelized crust forms, about 3-4 minutes. Turn the legs over in the pan and cook for a few more minutes. Transfer lamb to the oven either in the same pan or an oven safe dish and finish for about 4 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 130 degrees F. Remove from the oven and let the meat rest for about 5 minutes.
Preheat oven to 200 with convection fan on high. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt and the canola oil. Pour onto a baking sheet and bake. Check at an hour that they’re not over-cooked. It will likely take about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove grapes and toss them well with all remaining ingredients.

Plate by spooning about ¾ cup of the chickpea smash into the middle of the plate. Spoon 3 tablespoons of the relish alongside the chickpeas. Cut the lamb in two on a bias and place on top of the chickpeas, next to the grape relish. 

I recommend making the roasted grape relish while the lamb is marinating so you don’t have to worry about conflicting oven temperatures. The pictures here are with the lamb sliced, but in playing around with it, I decided I liked the two big chunks of lamb described in the recipe better. Let me know what you think in the comments!
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