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Stuffed Crown Roast of Lamb

No recipe image available.An elegant crown roast of lamb is the perfect entrée choice for spring holiday fare.

Recipe Ingredients:

1 (4 to 5-pound) crown roast of lamb
2 garlic cloves, slivered
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons coarse salt - divided use
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 small eggplant (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil - divided use
1/2 cup minced onion
1 celery stalk, minced
1 pound lean ground lamb
1 1/2 cups cooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
1/2 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
8 large ripe olives, pitted and chopped
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Pitted ripe olives

Cooking Directions:

  1. Make lengthwise slits through roast in several places with a sharp knife. Insert a a sliver of garlic into each slit. Brush roast with the lemon juice, and rub with 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper.
  2. Place roast, bone ends up, in a shallow roasting pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Insert meat thermometer, making sure it does not touch fat or bone. Set aside.
  3. Place cubed eggplant in a large bowl and sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon salt; let stand for 15 minutes. Rinse eggplant, and pat dry with paper toweling.
  4. Sauté eggplant in 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until tender. Remove eggplant from skillet; set aside.
  5. Sauté onion and celery in remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until tender. Add ground lamb and cook until meat is crumbled and nicely browned; drain.
  6. Add reserved eggplant, orzo, pine nuts or almonds, raisins, parsley, chopped olives, lemon rind, cardamom and cinnamon to meat mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into center of roast. Cover stuffing and exposed ends of ribs with aluminum foil.
  7. Bake in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove foil from stuffing and bake an additional 15 minutes or until meat thermometer register 160°F (70°C). Remove foil; let stand 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter. Place pitted olives on exposed ends of ribs.

Makes 8 servings.