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Roast Lamb From La Mancha - (Cordero Asado A La Manchega)
5 pounds leg of lamb
1 medium onion -- minced
3 medium garlic cloves -- minced
1 bunch fresh parsley - -- (large bunch), chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup cognac
3 tablespoons olive oil
10 black pepper grains
salt -- to taste
1/4 water - -- (to 3/4 cup)
Preheat oven to 400F.
Trim excess fat and any thick skin from leg of lamb. Rub lamb with salt and brown it in an earthenware casserole (or Dutch oven) in 2 tablespoons olive oil. When well browned on all sides (browning will take at least 20 minutes), put it fat side up in oven in a roasting pan or casserole. Pour 1/4 cup water in pan to prevent burning of meat juices.
Discard grease from the casserole in which the lamb was browned. Add a fresh tablespoon of olive oil, heat it, and fry the minced onion, garlic cloves, and parsley with the dried thyme and whole pepper grains until the onions and garlic are soft.
Baste roast from time to time, adding more water in small quantities as needed to prevent burning. When roast is half done, pour 1/4 cup cognac over it and spread onion and herb mixture on top of lamb. Continue basting and adding water as needed until lamb is well done but still firm enough to be carved. A 4 1/2 to 5 pound leg of lamb will take approximately 2 hours.
Serve with sauce.