Ground vanilla bean, which is used in this recipe, is produced in the way its name suggests. Because this product uses the beans directly, rather than carrying the flavor via alcohol as is the case with vanilla extract, it is possible to use small amounts to achieve vanilla flavoring. When used together with vanilla extract, ground vanilla bean produces multiple layers of vanilla flavor. Ground vanilla bean is different from vanilla powder, which is sometimes made from sucrose or dextrose combined with vanilla extract. Vanilla powder can be used in beverages or to mix with powdered or granulated sugar to create vanilla-flavored sugar.
Mix salt, pepper, vanilla bean powder, dried thyme leaves and paprika in a small bowl. Make slits in leg of lamb and then rub with the dry mixture.
Roast in 325 degree oven fat side up until thermometer reads 160 - 165 for rare or 175 - 180 for well done.
Remove from oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes before carving. Pour meat juice into a small bowl and skim off fat layer. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Add shallots or scallions and sauté over medium heat until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Add cloves, allspice, jellied cranberries, and red wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1- minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, strain into a clean pan and return to a boil. Pour in reserved meat juice and vinegar. Remove from heat and add pure vanilla extract and salt and pepper to taste. Serve alongside lamb.
Note: Roast baby potatoes, small onions, squash, Brussels sprouts or baby artichokes for the last 45 minutes of cooking the lamb for a delicious and very easy side dish.