seared lamb with a smoky slather

prep time:  tbd
cook time:  tbd
servings:  6 - 8

1 tablespoon lapsang souchong tea leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt + more to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper + more to taste
3 cloves garlic - minced
1 tablespoon thyme leaves + thyme sprigs for garnish
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 leg of lamb - boned and butterflied
1 pound small white turnips - trimmed an peeled
1 pound small red potatoes - peeled
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter - softened

1.  combine tea, cumin, salt, pepper, garlic, thyme leaves and olive oil, and mix well.  place lamb in a dish and rub half the tea mixture on one side.  turn it over and slather the second side.  if possible, set aside at room temperature up to 3 hours.

2.  heat oven to 450 degrees.  place turnips and potatoes in a saucepans of salted water, bring to a simmer and cook until tender, 15 - 20 minutes.

3.  as turnips and potatoes cook, place a large, heavy, ovenproof skillet, preferably cast iron, on the stove over high heat for 2 - 3 minutes.  turn lamb and place pan in the oven.  roast for 12 - 15 minutes. 

4.  remove lamb to a cutting board.  place skillet back on stove.  drain turnips and potatoes, place in skillet and briefly roll them in the pan drippings to pick up some color.  transfer them to a bowl., cover and keep warm.

5.  add wine to skillet and cook on medium, scraping the pan, until it's somewhat reduced.  whisk in butter, season with slat and pepper ant turn off heat.  slice lamb and arrange on a large platter.  spoon turnips and potatoes around it.  briefly reheat the sauce, spoon it over the meat, drop a few sprigs of thyme on top and serve.

- new york times, march 2014

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