Braised Leg of Lamb with Graukäse Polenta
Cooked in a fragrant rosemary–juniper lamb stock, the tender braised meat is then presented over a mound of hearty polenta, enriched with Gruyère-like cheese.Get the recipe for Braised Leg of Lamb with Graukäse Polenta. Tom Parker
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Chef Norbert Niederkofler of St. Hubertus in Badia, Italy, braises his leg of lamb for hours and finishes it over a grill. To simplify the process, we put our braised leg under the broiler. The accompanying polenta is flavored with Graukäse, a pungent local cheese. Substitute other strong-flavored Alpine cheeses like raclette or Gruyère in its place.

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Braised Leg of Lamb with Graukäse Polenta Braised Leg of Lamb with Graukäse Polenta
Cooked in a fragrant rosemary–juniper lamb stock, the tender braised meat is then presented over a mound of hearty polenta, enriched with Gruyère-like cheese.
Yield: serves 6-8
Time: 9 hours

For the Lamb Stock

  • 12 oz. lamb bones
  • 1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
  • 12 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp. whole juniper berries
  • 2 bay leaves

For the Braise and Polenta

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 (4-lb.) bone-in leg of lamb
  • 2 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
  • 12 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 10 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 3 cups coarse-ground polenta
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) grated Graukäse, raclette, or Gruyère cheese
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. Make the lamb stock: Heat the oven to 350°. Place the lamb bones on a baking sheet and roast until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Transfer the bones to a large saucepan along with half each of the celery, carrots, and onion; the juniper berries; bay leaves; and 12 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer, and cook until the bones have released their flavor, about 3 hours. Pour the lamb stock through a fine sieve into a bowl and discard the solids.
  2. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°. In a roasting pan over two burners, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Season the lamb all over with salt and pepper, add to the pan, and cook, turning, until browned on all sides, 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a platter and add the remaining celery, carrots, and onion to the pan along with the rosemary and thyme. Cook the vegetables, stirring, until browned and soft, about 6 minutes. Return the lamb to the pan along with the lamb stock and bring to a boil. Cover the roasting pan with foil and place the lamb in the oven. Braise the lamb until very tender, about 3 hours.
  3. In a large saucepan, bring 8 cups water to a boil. While whisking, slowly pour the polenta and the 2 tablespoons salt into the water and reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring steadily, until the polenta is tender and smooth, about 1 hour. Remove the polenta from the heat and stir in the cheese and butter. Season with pepper and keep warm until ready to serve.
  4. Transfer the lamb to a cutting board and pour the pan juices through a fine sieve into a bowl. Skim and discard the fat and pour the juices into a small saucepan. Bring the juices to a boil and cook until the sauce reduces to 1 cup, about 15 minutes. Heat the broiler. Transfer the lamb to a foil-lined baking sheet and broil, turning, until browned and crisp on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a large dish and serve with the polenta and sauce.

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