Luscious leg of lamb stuffed with mint pesto makes an impressive centerpiece meal for the holidays, especially when paired with a decadent wild mushroom bread pudding. Not only is this menu more awe-inspiring than the traditional turkey and stuffing, it is easier and faster to prepare, giving you more time to visit with your family and friends.
Recipes for an elegant holiday menu
Recipes courtesy of Kathy A Shreve, deli-bistro chef at Rosauers in Bozeman, Montana.
Leg of Lamb Stuffed with Mint Pesto
This stuffed leg of lamb will take two about hours to prepare from start to finish – as opposed to a whole turkey that may take three hours or more. Mint is a quintessential complement for
lamb, particularly in a flavorful pesto nestled within the meat.
1 (4-pound) boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of excess fat
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 ounces fresh mint
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan
1/4 cup olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lay lamb flat and use a sharp knife to butterfly lamb into a 2-inch thick rectangle (you can also have your butcher debone and butterfly a leg of lamb for you). Cut
away extra fat and sinew. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
2. To make the mint pesto, combine mint, garlic, pine nuts and Parmesan in a food processor. Pulse to roughly chop. With motor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Taste and season with salt and
3. Spread mint pesto on top of lamb, leaving a 1/2-inch border around all edges. Roll lamb crosswise, ending with seam side down. Tie kitchen twine around roll at 1 to 2-inch intervals crosswise and
4. Place lamb seam-side down in a roasting pan and roast uncovered for 30 minutes. Decrease temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted in the center
reads 130 to 140 degrees F.
5. Remove from oven and tent with foil. Let rest for 15 minutes. Use a sharp knife to slice crosswise and serve.
Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding
Serves 8One bite of this rich side-dish will make you swoon.
4 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (16-ounce) loaf sourdough bread, cut into bite-sized cubes
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 yellow onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 pound assorted mushrooms (a mix of shitake, oyster, crimini and button)
1/2 cup brandy or white wine
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and butter a 9×13-inch baking dish. Whisk together eggs and cream in a large bowl. Add thyme, salt and pepper and whisk again. Add bread cubes
and toss to coat. Set aside. Put a full kettle of water on the stove to boil (you will use the water for a water bath).
2. Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion, garlic and mushrooms, stirring often, until onion is golden. Add brandy or white wine to deglaze the pan, using spatula
or wooden spoon to scrape up browned bits on the bottom of the skillet. Cook until the liquid is just evaporated and remove from heat.
3. Add mushroom mixture to bread mixture and fold to incorporate. Pour mixture into baking dish. Cut remaining butter into pieces and scatter on top of bread pudding. Cover with foil. Place baking
dish in a large roasting pan or another large baking dish. Set pans in oven. Pour boiling water in roasting pan until it reaches half-way up the sides of the baking dish (this is called a water
4. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake for another 15 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean and top is golden. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 to 10
minutes before cutting to serve.
Holiday Salad with Poppyseed Dressing
Chef Shreve recommends a light salad that can be eaten as a first course to ready your palate for the rich dinner to come, or nibbled after your meal to cleanse your palate.
8 cups mixed greens
2 ripe pears, halved, cored, sliced
1 cup candied pecans
Poppyseed dressing of your choice
8 ounces crumbled goat cheese
In a large mixing bowl, toss mixed greens, pears and pecans with a healthy drizzle of dressing. Evenly divide salad among eight chilled salad plates. Garnish with goat cheese and an extra drizzle of
dressing, if desired.