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Roast Lamb with Spinach-Shiitake Mushroom Stuffing and Baked Polenta

Polenta

3 cups chicken stock
1 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 large red bell pepper
4 ounces green beans, cut into 2 inch long pieces
1 large carrot, peeled, and julienned

Butter small cookie sheet. Bring stock to a boil in a heavy large
saucepan over medium high heat. Gradually add the cornmeal, whisking
constantly. Continue cooking until mixture is very thick, stirring
constantly, about 6 minutes. Mix in 1/2 cup cheese. Season with
pepper. Pour out onto prepared cookie sheet; spread to a thickness
of 1/2 inch. Cool.

Cut polenta into rounds using a 2 inch round cookie cutter. Transfer
to a large cookie sheet, spacing evenly. Sprinkle with remaining
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Dot tops with butter.

Char pepper under broiler until blackened on all sides. Wrap in
a paper bag and let steam 10 minutes. Peel and seed pepper. Cut
into julienne.

Cook beans in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 1 minutes.
Add carrots and cook until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes
longer. Drain and pat dry. Combine with bell peppers.


Filling

1 3/4 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms
1 /34 cups boiling water
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup chopped shallots
1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
salt and pepper

Place dried mushrooms in small bowl. Pour boiling water over.
Let stand 20 minutes to soften. Drain mushrooms and reserve soaking
liquid for the sauce. Cut off stems and discard. Cut caps into
3/4 inch wide strips.

Melt butter in a heavy large skillet over medium high heat. Add
the shallots and saute 3 mintues. Add 1/2 cup mushrooms and saute
2 minutes. Add the spinach, cream cheese, mustard and nutmeg and
stir until well blended, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and
pepper. Cool.


Lamb

1 5 to 6 pound leg of lamb, trimmed, boned and butterflied
salt and pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup dry red wine mixed with 1/2 cup beef stock

Cut 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep cuts in thick sections of lamb. Cover
with plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, pound the lamb to 1 1/2
inch thickness. Season with salt and pepper. Spread filling over
surface, leaving a 1 inch border. Starting at one long side, roll
lamb up. Tie roast with string at 1 inch intervals. Wrap string
several times lengthwise to secure.

Preheat oven to 350F. Heat oil in heavy large roasting pan over
medium high heat. Add lamb and brown on all sides, about 15 minutes.
Remove lamb from pan. Place rack in same pan. Set lamb seam side
down on rack. Roast until meat thermometer inserted in center of
lamb registers 135F for medium rare, basting every 15 minutes with
wine-stock mixture. Transfer roast to platter, let stand 30 minutes.
Transfer pan juices to a cup and degrease.


Sauce

7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chopped shallots
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup beef stock
salt and pepper

Place lamb roasting pan over medium heat. Add one tablespoon butter
and stir until melted. Add reserved mushrooms and shallots and
saute 3 minutes. Add reserved degreased pan juices, reserved
mushroom soaking liquid, wine, and stock and bring to a boil,
scraping up any browned bits. Pour into saucepan. Cook over medium
high heat until sauce is reduced to 1 1/8 cups, stirring frequently,
about 10 minutes. Add remaining 6 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon
at a time, whisking until smooth. Mix reserved mushrooms into
sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake polenta until heated through, about 10 minutes.

Cut strings off roast. Cut into 3/4 inch thick slices. Arrange
in overlapping slices on platter. Spoon some sauce over. Arrange
polenta arund lamb. Mound vegetables atop polenta. Garnish with
spinach leaves. Pass remaining sauce separately.

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