Lamb Loin Roast: Herbed and Rolled

 Ben Spangler
Ben Spangler

This recipe is sponsored by Shepherd Song Farm.

The lamb loin, also called a saddle, contains meat from the three most prized cuts, equivalent to the T-bone, porterhouse and tenderloin in beef. The famous tenderloin lies protected under the backbone and is a very small strip. The loin meats are delicately marbled, with an elegant flavor that brings a note of luxury to any meal. The fat of grass fed lambs should taste clean and fresh.

In this recipe, the backbone will be removed (see steps in video) leaving the meat to be rolled and tied before grilling. The result is a very tender roast, easy to carve and with a minimal amount of fat. With no bones and a nice cylindrical shape, can be easily sliced into medallions and served. It is perfect to enhance a special occasion.

Photo, video, and recipe by Ben Spangler

1 Loin roast untrimmed (or loin saddle)
2 leeks
20 fingerling potatoes
1 small sunchoke (Jerusalem artichoke)
1 garlic clove
1 shallot
a large handful each of sage, rosemary, and parsley
1 cup watercress
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon olive oil or enough to coat the pan
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Prepare the herbs:

1. Remove large stems from herbs and finely chop leaves. You should have about 6 tablespoons of mixed herbs. Set aside.

2. Chop and mince garlic. Finely dice shallot. You should have 1 teaspoon of each. Set aside.

3. Discard green parts of leeks, and thinly slice remaining whites into small rings. Set aside.

Prepare the roast:

1. While preparing the loin roast, boil potatoes on medium heat until tender. Drain potatoes and allow to cool to room temperature.

2. Trim extra fat from the bottom of the loin. Remove tenderloins (on both sides of the backbone) and retain.

3. Using a boning knife, separate the backbone from the loin eye. Do not separate the 2 halves at the center of the backbone. Then carefully remove the backbone from the meat resulting in 1 boneless piece of meat (see boning video).

4. Season the inside surface with salt, pepper, 5 tablespoons of the chopped herbs, and the shallots and garlic. Roll and tie with 100 percent cotton string. Season the exterior with salt and pepper.

5. Grill lamb saddle with indirect heat, and move coals as needed to allow a consistent temperature and good caramelization. Slow cook — don’t rush.

6. When the internal temperature reaches 120°F for rare or 130°F for medium to medium rare, remove from grill and allow to rest.

Finish and Serve:

1. While meat rests, heat a cast iron skillet.

2. Cut the cooked potatoes in half.

3. Set the pan over a medium high heat source. Add olive oil to the pan to coat. Add a tablespoon of butter, and sear and caramelize the potatoes. Add the remaining tablespoon of the herb mixture, the leeks, and salt and pepper to taste, and slowly cook the mixture.

4. When leeks are tender, add the last tablespoon of butter and then add watercress. Using a vegetable peeler or mandoline, slice the sunchoke onto the potatoes. Mix together, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Drizzle meat and potatoes with additional oil and fresh parsley.

For a visual overview of the full recipe, please see our video on YouTube.