Q.: How long can I keep a leg of lamb frozen in the freezer? It's in its original wrapping and I have it in a freezer bag. Also, do you have a recipe for making a leg of lamb?
— Elizabeth Kelly, Akron
A.: Leg of lamb, like most red meats, is best if consumed after three to four months in the freezer. You may keep it frozen longer than four months and it will be safe to eat, but you may find that it is drier and less flavorful the longer it is frozen.
Here is a recipe for roast leg of lamb from the American Lamb Board.
MARKET PLACE LEG OF LAMB
1 boneless leg of lamb, about 5 lbs., trimmed of fat
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
1 shallot, chopped
3/4 cup loosely packed rosemary leaves
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbsp. salt
2 tbsp. pepper
1/2 cup Navan cognac (see note)
1 cup white wine
3 tbsp. olive oil
In food processor, puree garlic, mint, basil, shallot, rosemary, honey, 1/2 cup olive oil, salt and pepper into a paste. Add Navan cognac and white wine to the paste. Lay out leg, cut side up, and spread with half of the paste. Roll up leg and secure with butcher's string. Spread remaining paste on the outside of the lamb. Cover and marinate overnight.
Remove lamb from refrigerator 2 hours before roasting and let come to room temperature.
In large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat.
Sear lamb on all sides. Place lamb in roasting rack on pan; roast at 325 degrees for 20 minutes per pound or to desired degree of doneness.
Use meat thermometer to check for doneness: 145 degrees for medium-rare, 160 degrees for medium and 170 degrees for well done.
Remove lamb from oven, cover and let rest for 15 minutes. Slice and serve.
Makes 12 servings.
Editor's note: Navan cognac is a brand of vanilla cognac that retails for about $40 a bottle. You can substitute a less-expensive cognac or vanilla cognac for this recipe.
— Chef Marton Abreu, Market Place, Vail, Colo. for the American Lamb Board