A Barefoot Contessa Holiday Meal: Herb-Roasted Lamb, Zucchini Gratin & Haricot Vert with Shallots

In case you are still on the hunt for a holiday menu, here is one that is sure to please any lamb lover!

I was happy to have 7 lamb lovers in the Berkshires this past weekend for an anniversary / holiday celebration with our dearest friends the Freilichs.  I turned to the Barefoot Contessa for recipe guidance as she always pleases a crowd and (at least on her show) looks to do it in a effortless, low stress way.

The lamb turned out perfectly!  It was a beautiful piece of meat from Guido’s in Pittsfield.  And the garlic – rosemary rub flavored the lamb amazingly well.  Definitely have a meat thermometer on hand when cooking a piece of meat of that size and varied thickness.

I served the lamb with the Barefoot Contessa’s Zucchini Gratin and Green Beans with Shallots (recipe below).  I have made the Zucchini Gratin a number of times and it is always a hit.  Given the richness of that side dish, I made a simple dish with haricot vert blanched and tossed with sauteed shallots and pancetta.  The pancetta was my add and was a nice touch!

Good friends, good wine, and a delicious meal made for a wonderful evening and weekend!

Herb-Roasted Lamb
Barefoot Contessa

  • 12 large unpeeled garlic cloves, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 (6-pound) boneless leg of lamb, trimmed and tied
  • 4 to 5 pounds small unpeeled potatoes (16 to 20 potatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven so the lamb will sit in the middle of the oven.

Peel 6 of the cloves of garlic and place them in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the rosemary, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and butter. Process until the garlic and rosemary are finely minced. Thoroughly coat the top and sides of the lamb with the rosemary mixture. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Toss the potatoes and remaining unpeeled garlic in a bowl with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place in the bottom of a large roasting pan. Place the lamb on top of the potatoes and roast for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the internal temperature of the lamb is 135 degrees (rare) or 145 degrees (medium). Remove from the oven and put the lamb on a platter; cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow the lamb to rest for about 20 minutes. Slice and serve with the potatoes.
String Beans with Shallots
Barefoot Contessa

  • 1 pound French string beans (haricots verts), ends removed
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 3 large shallots, large-diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Blanch the string beans in a large pot of boiling salted water for 1 1/2 minutes only. Drain immediately and immerse in a bowl of ice water.

Heat the butter and oil in a very large saute pan (12-inch diameter) or large pot and saute the shallots on medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until lightly browned. Drain the string beans and add to the shallots with 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper, tossing well. Heat only until the beans are hot.

If you’re using regular string beans, blanch them for about 3 minutes, until they’re crisp-tender.

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