Orzo and Italian Sausage Stuffed Crown Roast of Lamb
1 (4 to 5-pound) crown roast of lamb
2 garlic cloves, slivered
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoons coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 pound Stong’s Mild or Hot Italian Sausage
2 cups thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cup white onion, finely minced
1 celery stalk, minced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 cups cooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta) *
1/2 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh thyme
1 cup dried cranberries
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Make lengthwise slits through roast in several places with a sharp knife. Insert a sliver of garlic into each slit. Brush roast with the lemon juice, and rub with 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Place roast, bone ends up, in a shallow roasting pan lined with aluminum foil. Insert meat thermometer, making sure it does not touch fat or bone. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Remove casings from the sausage, crumble meat and add to the pan stirring until lightly browned. Add mushrooms, onion, celery and garlic to the mixture and cook for 5 minutes or so.
Stir in orzo, pine nuts or almonds, parsley, thyme, lemon rind, and dried cranberries to meat mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into center of roast. Cover stuffing and exposed ends of ribs with aluminum foil.
Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove foil from stuffing and bake an additional 15 minutes or until meat thermometer register 160°F Remove foil; let stand 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter.