Why not give a Central Asian twist to your Easter lamb roast this weekend? I took my Uzbek plov recipe, made some small changes, and stuffed it into a leg of lamb. The resulting rice is soaked in meat juices, absolutely phenomenal!
The proportions are somewhat approximate, as the weight of the lamb roast and the way you pound it will make a difference in the amount of rice you need. Resist to the temptation to over-stuff the meat, as this will just make the whole roast impossible to handle. Just reheat the remaining plov and serve it as a side. Actually, if you want to have enough rice as a side for everyone, you can double the proportions of plov below.
Yields about 12 servings
4 oz bomba rice
4 oz green peas
1 1/2 oz rendered lamb fat
4 oz onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp ground star anise
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground piment d’espelette
4 oz carrot, julienned
4 oz celery root, julienned
16 oz lamb stock
1/2 oz butter
- Rinse the rice under running water, then place into a bowl and cover with hot water. Reserve.
- Blanch the green peas in salted boiling water until soft, then shock in ice water, drain and reserve.
- Melt half of the lamb fat in a wok, add the onions, season with salt and cook over high heat until brown. Stir in the garlic, ground star anise, cumin, and piment d’espelette. Add the rest of the fat, the carrot and celery root, and cook until soft and golden brown, stirring regularly.
- Add the rice, half of the lamb stock and some more salt without stirring. Cook over high heat until the liquid is fully absorbed. Add the rest of the stock, lower the heat to medium and simmer until the liquid is almost completely gone. Mix in the green peas, rectify the seasoning, turn off the heat, cover with a lid, and let stand for about 15 minutes. Stir in the butter, let cool and reserve.
Roasted leg of lamb stuffed with Uzbek plov
Yields about 12 servings
1 boneless leg of lamb (about 6 lb)
black pepper, ground
- Untie the leg of lamb (if it is tied), and lay it between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat pounder, flatten the meat until it is about 1 1/2″ thick and vaguely shaped like a rectangle. Discard the plastic wrap, and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the plov in the middle, and roll into a log; do not overfill. Tie the roast with butcher’s twine, brush with olive oil, and place into an oven dish.
- Cook in a 325 F oven for an hour, then lower the temperature to the 250 F and pour some water into the dish. Finish cooking to the desired doneness, checking the internal temperature with a thermometer. For a medium rare roast, cook to an internal temperature of 120 F — the temperature will climb to about 135 F after resting.
- Remove from the oven and let rest 30 minutes before carving.