Catering a formal dinner for forty? With roasted leg of lamb and wild salmon as entree options? Rice pilaf? Sounds great!
You should be concerned about how to work the timing of the two very different entrees (since lamb takes much longer to cook than salmon and needs time to rest) in order to serve them simultaneously. And make sure your rice doesn't stick on the bottom of your pot.
Tips of Preparing Leg of Lamb
We’ll assume you are serving lamb as an option for half your guests (and the other will have the salmon). You’ll need to prepare about 8 ounces of lamb per person or 10 pounds of lamb. If you’re using boneless roasts that works out to around three roasts at 3 plus pounds per roast. You can cook all three roasts at once. (If you’re using bone-in legs then you’ll still need three, but you probably can’t fit them all in the oven at the same time and things get much more complicated and difficult. So we’ll assume you’re using boneless legs.) For medium rare, figure they will take about 12 minutes per pound.
Heat the oven to 450 degrees and season the roasts generously with salt. When the oven is hot place the roasts on a rack in a shallow roasting pan in the center of the oven and cook for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook about 25 minutes. Exact timing is impossible to predict; the fact that there are three roasts will slow the cooking down and variations in the cooking characteristics of individual ovens and individual roasts also have an effect. To be sure the lamb is properly cooking use an instant-read thermometer to check each roast and remove it from the oven when it reaches 125 degrees (it will warm another 5 degrees while resting).
Tent the roasts with foil after removing from the oven and allow to rest 20 to 30 minutes before slicing. If you’re cooking the salmon in the oven, then you may need to let the roasts rest a while longer as the salmon cooks, this wonâ€™t hurt the flavor but the meat will begin cooling. However, don’t slice the lamb until you start plating because it will cool quickly once sliced.
Brush salmon with oilive oil and season in advance. While the lamb is resting, return the oven to 400 degrees and put in your salmon. The salmon should bake in a bake pan or similar surface for 10-12 minutes, until the juices run opaque. You can include vegetables like asparagus or zucchini to the salmon if you desire, or try a roasted red bell pepper coulis. Serve with lemon slices (for added fun, try griling the lemon wedges a bit).
Tips on Not Overcooking Rice
As far as the rice, here are some tips:
- Use a thick-bottomed pot
- Use 2 cups of water per 1 cup of rice.
- Cover securely with a lid.
- Get the rice to a rolling boil, then lower the heat just enough to keep the rice bubbling vigorously and let it cook 5 more minutes.
- Turn OFF the heat and let the rice sit 10 more minutes, covered.
- Err on the side of moderation, i.e. under-cooking the rice, when in doubt, because you can always return it to the heat and add hot water, whereas you cannot uncook it.
- You can bake the rice too, although in this case the oven may be too full of lamb and salmon.
- Fluff the rice with a fork when it gets to the right consistency to keep it from continuing to cook.
- Substitute the rice with orzo pasta for something different.
- large quantities of rice often absorb a little less than 2 cups water per 1 cup rice
- saute the rice in butter and onions for a minute before adding to the boiling water
We hope we’ve been able to help you Alice. Do not hesitate to call us while you’re cooking for last minute tips and assistance.
~ Chefs Adam and Kevin (check out Kevin's site: Seriously Good)