Cooking with Pete and Barb Marczyk: Leg of lamb with garlic and rosemary and sour cream sauce

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Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with the big, new kitchen. They often bring some of their market's choicest ingredients home with them, and cook up a feast.

Easter, as you know, is just a few weeks away, giving us all one more excuse to eat high on the hog -- or, in this case, high on the lamb. Easter, says Barb, who grew up in Vermont, was a big deal in her house. "I think it's because Vermont was so cold and damp, and Easter was the first spring holiday -- even though we were still freezing our asses off." Barb's mom did a lot of the cooking, including the Easter lamb, the recipe of which comes from an old issue of Gourmet magazine. "But my mom made it her own," notes Barb, "by adding a sour cream and caper sauce to the pan at the last minute." Barb recommends serving the lamb with a Healdsburg Ranch red zin or the Robert Biale, Black Chicken zin.

And, she says, the lamb leftovers, should you have any, make for a delicious sandwich: "We thinly slice the lamb when it's cold, and serve it on ciabatta with fig jam, sliced manchego cheese and arugula."

Easter Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary and Sour Cream Sauce

Serves 8

Lamb

1 7-pound semi-boneless leg of lamb, fat trimmed to 1/4 inch thick, and lamb tied
4 garlic cloves, or more
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup dry red wine or beef broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Sour cream and caper sauce

1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons drained capers

Directions

1. Pat lamb dry and score fat by making shallow cuts all over with tip of a sharp small knife.
2. Pound garlic to a paste with sea salt using a mortar and pestle (or mince and mash with a heavy knife) and stir together with rosemary and pepper.
3. Put lamb in a lightly oiled roasting pan, then rub paste all over lamb. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 350°F.
5. Roast lamb in middle of oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted 2 inches into thickest part of meat (do not touch bone) registers 130°F, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand 15 to 25 minutes (internal temperature will rise to about 140°F for medium-rare).
6. Add wine to pan and deglaze by boiling over moderately high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, about 1 minute.
7. Add sour cream to the pan and stir in capers.
8. Season juices with salt and pepper, and serve.

For more from Pete, Barbara and Marczyk Fine Foods, visit the market website. And be sure to check out Pete's blog.

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