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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Grilled Chihuahua style leg of lamb

Grilled Chihuahua style leg of lamb: Pierna de cordero a la parilla by Karen Hursh Graber © 2008

This northern Mexican recipe, which typifies the outdoor cooking characteristic of the region, is adapted from Larousse de la Cocina Mexicana by Alicia Gironelli. One end of a leg of lamb is thicker than the other, going from about 1 - 2 ½ inches thick, making it easy to satisfy the different tastes for rare, medium and well done in the same cooking time.
1 boneless, butterflied leg of lamb, about 4 pounds
6 cloves garlic
¼ cup each chopped fresh parsley, cilantro and hierba Buena (mint)
4 dry arbol chiles, crumbled
½ cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Start the fire if using charcoal or wood to grill. The coals should be covered with white ash when they are ready for grilling the meat. If using a gas grill, set the flame to medium high. Grease the grill and place it about 4 inches from the heat source.

Place the lamb, opened like a book, on a large platter. Combine the remaining ingredients and rub the lamb on both sides with the mixture. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Grill the lamb for 10 minutes, turn and cover with a grill cover or foil tent. Grill for another 10 minutes. Remove cover and insert an instant read meat thermometer into the thickest part of the lamb. It should register 140ºF for medium rare. Let it sit, covered, for 10 minutes before cutting, during which time the internal temperature of the meat will rise to 145º, considered the minimum safest temperature for red meat. The current trend is for very rare lamb but, if everyone likes it well done, cook until it reaches 150º. Serves 6-8.

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