Best Easter Dinner Ever. Boneless Leg of Lamb. Sous vide. 10 hours. 140F.

Boneless Leg of Lamb. Sous vide. 10 hours. 140F | thatothercookingblog.com

What about this Boneless Leg of Lamb Easter dinner dish?It’s almost Halloween.

 It’s never too late to post your easter dinner pics! Actually, it is super late to be talking really BUT never too late to be talking about the best thing I ever had for easter dinner ever, oh no. I’m in the middle of a big overhaul operation on this blog, so it is no surprise that my posting capability has been crippled… but I don’t quit, oh no. I bring you a brief but delicious post on eater lamb. No recipe needed. Really, just get yourself a nice and beautiful boneless leg of lamb, between 4-6 pounds. Pierce the meat all over with a paring knife (about 30-40 incisions) to allow any marinade to go in quicker and work its magic. Marinate overnight in garlic, COFFEE, rosemary and salt (about a Tbs of each). Push some marinade into the meat with your fingers. Yeah, remember those incisions? I know… it’s getting a little pornographic at this point but that’s the deal. Antioxidants are important in the curing process….coffee….rosemary….. They can subdue that gamy flavour if you don’t like it AND they are perfect flavour accents. Cook it sous vide as indicated in the title. 140F for 10 hours. Rinse, pat dry with paper towels and sear in very hot oil on all sides until a deep golden glorious crusty heaven emerges. Pair with a minty yogurt sauce. Use whole milk greek yogurt, fresh mint, a touch of garlic paste and a good and generous splash of lemon juice…..and a touch of dill.  You should be in business. 

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Lamb Chops and Broccoli Pesto Spaghettini.

Lamb Chops and Broccoli Pesto Spaghettini.

I’m crazy about Lamb Chops but I’m not a fan of broccoli. I’ll eat it. It’s green. Looks and tastes better smothered in ranch sauce for sure. I’m sure I’m not alone out there. I’m also pretty sensitive to bitter tastes. I drink coffee only because I have to, I can’t enjoy it. I hate dark chocolate, I seriously hate it.  You get the idea. So back to broccoli. When broccoli is cooked, things change for the better. The bitterness becomes more pleasant and when mixed with fat, then it goes from pleasant to delicious. It’s a stupid simple recipe but one that I adore. Probably why I adore milk chocolate too.

But wait, thought it was a pasta recipe, who invited lamb chops to this party? They don’t need no invite. I love them.  They looked awesome at the supermarket and I couldn’t resist. I got them 2 days ago. They have been curing in the fridge with some salt so I had to use them. I didn’t have time to figure out a way to incorporate all these ingredients in a clever way (a composed dish?… maybe another time) so I threw them together. I did drizzle almond oil all over the dish and that kinda helped me feel better about the final result. The thing is, taste-wise?  This dish was one to remember.

Lamb Chops and Broccoli Pesto Spaghettini

Now, a question arises. To deep fry or not to deep fry these chops? the correct answer is yes, specially if you’re time pressed and not hoping to earn a michelin star anytime soon. But the truth is, if you want acceptable results in a matter of 2 minutes which includes a golden brown crust from heaven then this is probably the way to go. Sure, there are fancy ways to ensure a perfect outcome but I have zero access to that fanciness so I proceeded with my rudimentary approach and hoped for the best. And great it was. Could be better? Sure. In less than 2 minutes. Nope. 

Lamb Chops and Broccoli Pesto Spaghettini

Ingredients (makes 2 servings. Time: 15mins)

4 beautiful fresh lamb chops
300g spaghettini
1 broccoli head
1 garlic clove (optional)
Almond oil
Salt.

Lamb Chops and Broccoli Pesto Spaghettini

The broccoli pesto. I’m being pretty liberal with the use of the word Pesto here but I just can’t think of a better one, anyways. Remove and trim everything but the florets. Steam in a closed pot with a bit of water, about 1/2 Cup is probably ok. Steam for about 5 mins. Broccoli will steam fast. Don’t overcook it. The flavour and the colour will go dull. Should be brightly green and not be falling apart. Discard the water except for about a couple of Tbsp. Cut the broccoli into chunks. Add to a blender. Add the 2 Tbsp of water into the blender. Add about 1/4 Cup of almond oil into the blender. Add the garlic clove. Blend for a good 5 mins. Add salt and adjust it to your liking. Strain the sauce to discard any brittle solids. Reserve until the pasta is ready.

The pasta. In a pot of salty boiling water, add the pasta until al dente. How salty? salty like the ocean more or less? ūüôā Strain the pasta, discarding the water (maybe save some of it in case you need to adjust the creaminess of the pesto), return to the pot. Add the broccoli pesto to the pot and incorporate well.

The chops. Sprinkle generous salt on both sides of the chops and let them cure in the fridge for no more than 2 nights. If you wanna get this dish done right away you can salt the chops last second. I won’t be seasoned as well but it’ll do. Take them out of the fridge just before you are ready. Pat dry with paper towels. In a pot half way full of vegetable oil heat until the oil is about 425F If you don’t have a thermometer that allows you to measure that kind of head, simply sear the chops in a regular heavy skillet and be done with it otherwise, have fun deep frying! Add 1 chop at a time for about 2 mins each. Remove each chop and place over paper towels. Remove any excess oil. They will be medium rare. Let them rest to ensure they cook throughly and don’t bleed out all that awesome juiciness.

Plate it all together drizzle some almond oil over your dish and off you go!

 

Lamb Chops and Broccoli Pesto Spaghettini

 

 

 

 

Lamb Shoulder Asada Tacos. Sous Vide 56C 72h. Hoisin Sauce and Chipotle Adobo Sauce.

Lamb Shoulder Asada Tacos. Sous Vide 56C 72h

Counting the seconds to Thanksgiving day but in the mean time no reason to NOT be eating delicious homemade stuff. Specially with this super crap weather we’re having in the beautiful city of Vancouver. Gotta fix my shitty mood somehow.

I’ve never made tacos before. I’ve had tacos before. Like a million times. Having lived in LA for many years I was kinda forced to like them. There are taquerias everywhere. There are taquerias inside taquerias. I will admit I did not care much for them before I moved to LA or even many years after that but overtime I learned to appreciate them. There are a lot of mediocre taquerias out there too. I have a few go-to places. It’s cheap food but that doesn’t mean it can’t be amazing. For an amazing taco, if you’re ever in Vancouver, check out La Taqueria. The tacos there are simply, yep, amazing. So yes, tacos have officially entered this blog’s menu and I hope to be making other kinds soon enough. My taco debut features an unusual meat in taco making but a meat that I love. Lamb. A few things I find annoying in general cooking and tacos. Dry meat. Overcooked meat. Overly seasoned meat to cover the mistake. But that’s because cooking meat correctly is kinda hard. I went with the french here and prepared my lamb a la sous vide. The end result was fantastic. The texture of this meat was quite incredible and impossible to reproduce with traditional cooking methods. Another option would have been the pressure cooker. I’ll save that approach for another post.

 

Lamb Shoulder Asada Tacos. Sous Vide 56C 72h

I had no problem breaking a few rules here tonight. When do I ever ūüėČ  It’s cooking anyways, breaking rules, taking names, that’s how we do. If you haven’t noticed, hoisin sauce is one of the most delicious substances in the world and pairs really well with lamb (or any meat known to man) I also used dumpling wrap as my flour tortilla (go ahead, judge me). They’re thinner and their texture is more delicate. It’s not a requirement but I like the size too. Mini tacos basically.  I also used the sauce that comes with chipotles in adobo. Basically, the adobo sauce and the core of the super amazing and popular chipotle sauce. Really spicy but the smokiness of it is incredible. Mix hoisin and adobo sauce together. Pretty sexy stuff as you can imagine. So here we go mexi-asian lamb tacos yo! Let’s get goin’!

Lamb Shoulder Asada Tacos. Sous Vide 56C 72h

Lamb Shoulder Asada Tacos. Sous Vide 56C 72h

Ingredients (serving: 6-10 mini tacos. Time: 72 hours + 20 mins):

1 lb Lamb shoulder bone in.
1/2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1/2 Tbsp chipotles in adobo sauce
2-3 Tbs kosher salt.

Pico de Gallo salsa:

1 1/2 C Tomatoes. Seeded. small dice
1/4 C Ted onion. small dice
1 tsp Jalape√Īos. small dice.
1 tsp minced garlic
Juice of 2 limes
2 tablespoons cilantro, plus extra for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

Pickled Red Onions:

1 cup red onion. Small dice.
1/3 cup white wine vinegar.

The rest:

20 dumpling wraps.
mayo to taste (a ton. yes please)
Some cilantro leaves.

 

Lamb Shoulder Asada Tacos. Sous Vide 56C 72h

The lamb shoulder. Dust generously with salt. Allow to cure overnight in the fridge in an airtight container. I use a ziplock bag. Rise the lamb and the baggie. Return the lamb to the ziplock bag and add some vegetable oil. Remove the air from the bag and seal. Cook for 72 hours at 56 centigrades. After 72 hours. Remove form the bag. Discard the jus or reserve for another purpose. Dry the lamb pieces with a paper towel and deep fry at 375F for 3 mins. Remove from deep fryer and allow to rest for a few mins. Shred. Add the sauces. Mix well. Reserve in an airtight container. You can use right away or keep in the fridge a few days. It freezes well too if you wanna reserve it for a few months.

Pico de gallo. Mix all the ingredients together. Allow to rest for 20 mins so the lime has some time to cure the salsa. Done.

Pickled red onions. Add the vinegar to a small pot. Bring to a simmer. Add the onion. Simmer for a couple of mins. Remove from the stove. Chill. Reserve. Done.

Tortillas. There are a few different ways to do this. The simplest would be to just get a skillet over the stove on medium heat. Place the tortilla directly on the skillet until it starts to puff. Flip and repeat. The whole process takes about a minute. If you want tostadas, then deep-fry the tortilla until it fully expands and turns a beautiful golden color. About a minute. The ones in this recipe were boiled in water for 15 secs. Then flash fried for 15 seconds. Silky like a crepe. Your choice.

Putting everything together. If you’ve made it this far, this section should be laughable. Place a couple of tortillas on top of each other. Add about 1/2 Tbsp of meat over them. Top with some pico salsa and pickled onions. Add some cilantro leaves. Enjoy your lamb asada tacos with an asian touch! Lambasada homes!

Lamb Shoulder Asada Tacos. Sous Vide 56C 72h

 

 

Lamb Shoulder Asada Tacos. Sous Vide 56C 72h

Sous Vide Lamb Shank and Sour Spinach Coulis. 12h 72h 55C

Sous Vide Lamb Shank and Sour Spinach Coulis. 12h 72h 55C @ thatothercookingblog.com

Somehow managed to escape the gruelling office hours just before I totally ran out of whatever positive emotional energy  I had left in me. This will be a quick post. I have to go back into hiding before anyone finds me. So… Lamb shanks. Yeah! that’s exciting stuff right? The easiest thing in the world too. The catch is, it requires patience. Weather you are cooking it the traditional way or a using more modernist approach, the patience factor will be there because it takes a long time. Well, I don’t know.. I used to think of it that way. Patience… I’m actually gonna disagree with myself here. Patience has nothing to do with cooking things that takes hours to make. It’s just a simple matter of planning. It’s not like you can’t order a pizza while you wait. I don’t sit by my immersion circulator for 72 hours pacing up and down the kitchen starving to death. Life goes on as it normally does and 3 days later I somehow remember there was some plastic bag with something in it that required a long cooking time in a water bath. I switch the thing off and it’s done. No sweat. No Patience. By the way… spoiler alert: Medium rare and falling off the bone all at the same time. Just saying. 

Cooking something for 1, 2, 3+ days might be shocking to some people. If you had asked me about this 5 years ago I would have felt the same way. I would have gone “forget it, that’s nuts, who does that?!, where’s that pizza hut number”. Today, I just don’t see how it could be done better any other way. But enough about this sous vide propaganda.  If you ever try this or any of the sous vide recipes on this blog, you will come to see things my way. ūüėČ

Ingredients (for 1 lamb shank, simple math if you wanna make more):

The Shank!:

1 Lamb Shank bone in.
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt

Sour Spinach Coulis:

200g Fresh Baby Spinach
1/2 Cup White Wine Vinegar.
1/2 Cup EVO
Salt and Pepper to taste.

The brining of the shanks. Place the shank(s) in a plastic container, sprinkle the salt all over it. Make sure it’s coated on all sides. Seal the container. Place in the fridge for 24h. Rinse in cold running water. Place the shank in a ziplock bag. Add some vegetable oil to the bag or some water. Make sure there are no air pockets around the shank. Seal the ziplock bag. Cook for 72 hours at 55C. Dry the shank with paper towels. Deep-fry for a couple of minutes until golden brown. Remove from the deep fryer. Reserve.

The mysterious spinach coulis. As simple as putting all the ingredient in a blender and blending until mega smooth. It’s basically like making a blended chimichurri. I did eye-ball the measurements here, so proceed with caution. You might need more of this or less of that. Just try to keep the vinegar/oil ration about 50/50 just for connivence. Use your senses to adjust it to your liking.

Sous Vide Lamb Shank and Sour Spinach Coulis. 12h 72h 55C @ thatothercookingblog.com

The rest is history. Seriously. There was nothing left. And I got nothing more to say about this.  Good night guys!

Big Night : Cremini Mushroom and Mozzarella Arancini : Lamb Ragu Spaghetti

Say one evening you’re looking for recipes with one idea in mind… to blow somebody’s mind… in that case.. turning to Italy is the most effective¬†choice. Italy has to¬†mean “delicious” in some language I swear. ¬†I like cooking… I like cooking a lot, and I’ve tried many things in the kitchen over the last few years, but without a doubt, cooking anything italian-inspired has always been memorable, and the perfect time travel device. As a kid, I ate more pasta and pizza than anything else I can remember. Growing up in Venezuela exposed me to Italian food.. the legit kind I wanna say, no offence Pizza Hut.

 

During WWII, many Italians migrated to Venezuela looking for a brighter future away from the devastation of Europe at the time, and they brought with them the gift of their cuisine, their humour, their heritage and their hard working nature. Italian restaurants back home will forever be in my heart. ¬†Whenever I cook for somebody I care about, 9 out of 10, Italian food it’s what’s for dinner.. except for my girlfriend. She has to put up with all the other “weird” stuff¬†I want to cook as well. This evening, I cooked for my friend Raechel, and she brought the gifts of leftover risotto, arancini cravings, fresh basil and good wine. She made the arancini. Her first time. I’ve never seen her this excited before. I’ve rarely seen anyone this excited about cooking before.

 

 

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Ingredients (makes about 6 servings, freeze any leftover for later):

Lamb Ragu:

1 pound of fresh Pasta (4 servings)
2 pounds of ground lamb
2 Tbsp chopped Bacon or Pancetta.
2 medium carrots. Small dice
1/2 yellow onion. Small dice
2 celery stalks. Small dice
4 garlic cloves. Minced.
2/3 Cup of San Marzano Tomatoes. Blended.
1 Cup of a full bodied red wine like Cabernet.
1 or1/2 Tbsp Thai fish sauce. Depends on your taste, just like salt.
Kosher Salt and Freshly cracked pepper to taste

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Arancini:

(Inspired by my blogger friend stefan’s tutorial on how to make these!)

Leftover Cremini¬†Risotto. My friend raechel made it, and she has been too lazy to provide her magical recipe so I’ll point to a similar one I made a while back for now. Porcini Risotto and Scallops : Oregano

1 Cup of Panko bread crumbs. Milled in a food processor for finer coating.
1 Egg, beaten
Lots of mozzarella cheese ūüôā

I also made a roasted chicken and bell peppers stuffing with some leftover roasted chicken I had and roasted bell peppers leftovers as well. Chopped them and mixed them together, and seasoned them with pepper, salt and cabernet vinegar. For whatever reason it turned out sensational I’m not even joking.

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I’ll only cover the process of making the lamb ragu here. Who am I kiddin’, Stefan has quite the tutorial on arancini making and pretty much¬†any other amazing Italian recipe you can think of really.

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The pressure cooking phase. I used to brown meat when¬†making ragu sauces. I gave up on that a while back. Question it all you want. I’m convinced it doesn’t add much to the result and probably just renders the meat dry and unpleasant to eat when overdone. Meat ragu sauces take time¬†to make, enough time that protein browning and sugar caramelization takes please at a very slow pace anyways. I like the end result of that process over searing the ground meat at the beginning. It’s a texture thing. So… the pressure cooking phase.. ¬†Brown the bacon/pancetta in it’s own fat in the pressure cooker vessel. Add the chopped vegetables (mirepoix) and cook on medium heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic. Add the blended tomatoes and cook them until they have reduced a bit and turned a deeper red color, about 5-8 minutes. Add the wine, and cook for a few minutes to make sure the alcohol is evaporated. Season to taste. I like using fish sauce to season meat sauces but you can disregard this and just use salt or soy sauce or anything salty you like really. Add a bit of water, and get ready to pressure cook. Cook for 45 min¬†at 15psi over low heat once the pressure cooker has sealed. Depressurize and reduce until you achieve the consistency of bolognese sauce. Degrease.

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The pasta. If you’re dealing with fresh pasta. It cooks quicker and it’s very relative, so I wanna say, 4 minutes in salted boiling water but it could be more. Just check for doneness after 4 minutes… until al dente. If using dry pasta, just follow the instructions on the box and… check until al dente no matter what the instructions say. Trust yourself.

 

The plating phase. Well, there’s nothing left to do other than get some pasta on those¬†plates and pour the meat sauce all over them. Garnish with basil or parsley or chervil or all of the above. I use a meat fork¬†for plating pasta. Grate parmesan cheese all over those¬†plates. The more the better. Enjoy it you concoction makers, food lovers, ingredient experimenters, flavour pairing demons..,? you know who you are.¬†¬†Until the next time! Have fun!

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Lamb: Boneless Leg 8h 130F Sous Vide : Pistachio Puree : Slow Roasted Onions and Shallots

Lamb: Boneless Leg 8h 130F Sous Vide

First post of 2015!  I figured I’d start this year with a lamb recipe. Lamb season is not nearly there yet but I couldn’t wait,  exciting times ahead! Anyways, I also wanted to make a dish that featured sous vide cooking for my friends at our dinner party 2 weeks ago. This recipe is inspired by the modernist cuisine folks. Its preparation takes about 24 hours including prep and curing time but with some organization and planning it’s actually quite simple and totally worth it! Please join me on Instagram btw!

Lamb: Boneless Leg 8h 130F Sous Vide

A roasted leg of lamb is in my opinion, the most delicious lamb cut. The meat is extremely tender, juicy with a delicate flavor that can be highlighted with herbs and garlic. A leg of lamb, bone in, might need 3-4 hours to roast until the core reaches 130F (in a conventional oven), for those of you who like rare lamb (like me!). What happens with oven roasting is that usually, the core will be rare, but the surface will be cooked to medium. Not the end of the world of course and extremely delicious regardless, but if looking for a perfect rare finish across the whole cut, sous vide is the way to go. Sous vide cooking times for this cut were all over the place when I searched online. I went with a short cooking time of 8 hours, that’s short for those familiar with sous vide cooking (I’ve experimented with longer cooking times and the meat tend to dry out), a leg of lamb should be treated like chicken breast, cooked long enough to get the core temperature where you want it, and a bit longer to pasteurize but then stop, otherwise, the meat will dry out. Ok, enough of this sous vide cooking stuff,  let’s get into it while I still have energy to type!

 

Ingredients (serves four):

1 boneless leg of lamb (approximately 3 kg)

Lamb Cure Mix:

2 Tbsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp chopped rosemary
2 Tbsp garlic paste

Pistachio Puree:

300g shelled pistachios
200g pistachio oil or (100g walnut oil + 100g almond oil)
100g water
1.2g Xanthan gum
salt to taste

Slow Roasted Onions and Shallots:

1 large white onion
4 large shallots or small Spanish onions
enough salt to cover the shallots
Vegetable oil

 

Lamb: Boneless Leg 8h 130F Sous Vide

 

The pistachio puree. Shell all the pistachios… yes, extremely annoying and plan on going nowhere for at least one hour. Discard the shells. Place the shelled pistachios in a pressure cooker or cooking pot. Add enough water to cover them, add a little salt (if the pistachios were already salted , don’t add any). If pressure cooking, cook for 20 min. If cooking in a pot, boil for about 1 hour, covered. Strain. Add the pistachios and oil to blender. While the blender is running, add the xanthan gum. The xanthan gum will stabilize the emulsion for a long time and give the puree a silky texture while also thickening it a bit. Blend for a good amount of time.

Lamb: Boneless Leg 8h 130F Sous Vide

The longer, the finer the result will be. I probably blended for a good 10 min. You will need a spatula since the puree is too viscous to blend fluidly (it’s not a smoothie). Stop the blender, stir the puree around and blend some more until everything is pureed. Adjust seasoning while blending. Once ready. Strain the puree through a fine sieve or chinoise and reserve in a jar. This puree can be made a couple of weeks in advance if kept in the refrigerator which is very convenient.

 

Cooking the lamb. Let’s tie up this roast first. To give it shape and ensure even cooking. In a large ziplock bag, add the cure mix. Place the lamb leg inside the bag, and distribute the cure mix evenly over the surface of the meat. Store in the fridge overnight and let the cure mix work its magic. The next day,  rinse the mix off the lamb before cooking. Also rinse the bag to reuse it. Once you’re ready to sous-vide the lamb (I don’t even know if sous-vide  is a verb) Vacuum seal (water displacement method is fine) and cook in a water bath at 130F for 5-8 hours. Another approach is to cure and cook at the same time. I like this approach when I’m running short on time and have to get things reading within the same day. Any jus released in the bag will be throw away though because the curing mix will make it extremely salty.

 

 

Lamb: Boneless Leg 8h 130F Sous Vide

Remove the meat from the bag, rinse and dry with paper towels. Reserve any lamb jus contained in the bag for another use. Sear on a cast iron skillet or stainless steel one. If you chose to cook the lamb with the curing mix in the bag, brush some of the excess salt away and pat dry with paper towels before searing. I don’t bother picking out the rosemary leafs. Those sear well, they’re very resilient and actually develop a nice flavor and crispiness which adds texture contrast. Keep in a warm oven until ready to serve.

Slow roasting the shallots and the onions.  Preheat the oven at 240F (the modernist cuisine guys go for 220F, but I can’t sit by my oven for 12 hours, 240F makes it about 8 hours, a little less enslaving). Place the shallots in a deep tray, I used a metal coffee mug, the shallots aren’t that big. Mix the water and salt, the salt should have the consistency of damp sand. Make a layer of salt at the bottom of the container, place the shallots over it, and then cover the shallots with the rest of the salt. Like I mentioned, cook for 8 hours, oven door cracked. The onions go in there as well. Quarter the onion, remove the outer layer of dry skin. On a flat tray, add some vegetable oil, place the onion quarters over it. Place this tray in the oven along with the shallots. They too will cook for 8 hours. After 8 hours, remove the shallots and the onions from the oven. Reserve the salt for any use, it’s been infused with shallot flavor, don’t throw away that! Peel the outer skin layers from the onions and the shallots and reserve until ready to serve. You can place them in a warm oven along with the roasted lamb.

Lamb: Boneless Leg 8h 130F Sous Vide

Plating. Using your sharpest slicing knife, fillet the roast against the grain, in the shape of medallions. Place an onion quarter per plate, along with a shallot. Add a couple of tablespoons of pistachio puree and garnish the medallion with a mint leaf. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil and serve right away! Enjoy!

Lamb: Boneless Leg 8h 130F Sous Vide

Braised Lamb Shank : Chimayó Chile Spice Blend : Cauliflower Puree : Thank you, Shanna!

This finally happened last week. First I got an email form the hotel I was staying that I had received some mail‚Ķ yeah, really nice. I ran to the hotel which is a block away from my current address and picked up a letter with addresses and names written by hand‚Ķ, like in the old days. The sender, some Dr Greg Ward. I don’t know any Doctors by that name.. there was a second name right under it but I didn’t bother reading on, I was leaving for work and I was already late. At first I thought spam but how many¬†spam/junk mails are¬†written by hand. I got to work.¬†I remembered that about 2 months ago, my blogger friend Shanna ¬†(have you seen her blog?¬†click here!)¬†¬†and Greg, her husband,¬†had emailed me about sending me samples from their Co-Op which features a¬†wonderful array of locally grown ingredients. Amongst those. Chile. But not any chile, oh no.

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Chimay√≥ chiles, of which I knew nothing about. Check out this link if you are interested in the history of this chile, it’s quite amazing actually. I had no clue that what was in that envelope was a bag of dried ground Chimay√≥ chile, all the way from the originating geographic location. Thank you Shannah for the lovely gift. Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend. Anyone who’s lived in Canada probably knows how meticulous their border customs office can be. They probably held the package for about a month‚Ķ it either sat there totally unnoticed or they ran some serious lab tests on it to figure out why it smelled so freaking awesome. The baggie was slightly opened, so must have been the latter. When I opened the envelope, there was chile powder everywhere, but do not worry, Shanna, I was able to save all of it!¬†

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Now on to the recipe. Lamb. Nothing to do with the fact that is easter weekend for those who celebrate this holiday. But I’ve been craving it. Lamb from New Zealand, the land of the lambs. If you haven’t been. There are lots of lambs there, lots. And they are cute. And delicious too. Terrific combination. Here in Vancouver, they can be found easily at groceries stores. Given the size of the one I cooked, must have been the hind shank, lot’s of connective tissue, collagen, some marbling and a lovely bone. All points to a long and slow braise.

I tested the chile for heat. Which meant placing about a tsp of it my mouth. It was mildly spicy, perfect actually. I decided I would do a 24 hour dry rub (meanly featuring Shanna’s gift) on the shank and then braise it over vegetables and serve it with a side of cauliflower puree. Some mint leaves for garnishing. And here’s how it went:

Ingredients:

Shank dry rub:

1 lamb shank
1 Tbsp chile blend
1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp onion powder
1/2 Tbsp ground coriander seeds
1/4 Tbsp cinnamon powder
2/3 Tbsp kosher salt
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 Tbsp sweet paprika

Braising Bed:

mirepoix, 1 onion, 2 celery stalks, 2 carrots, coarse dice
6-8 prunes
2 tsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp olive oil
12-16 capers
a drizzle honey

Cauliflower Puree:

1 cauliflower
2/3 C whole milk
salt to taste

Garnish:

Toasted sesame seeds
Fresh mint leaves
Freshly ground black pepper

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For the lamb shank dry rub. Prepare the dry rub. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl big enough to fit the shank. Don’t use any olive oil. These ingredients are soluble in water for the most part. If you add oil, the ingredients¬†will get coated with it and will not permeate the shank as efficiently. I actually added a little bit of water, so it wasn’t exactly a dry rub‚Ķ maybe a slightly wet rub. Get in there with your hands and rub the mix all over the shank, including the bone. It might seem like a lot of salt, but kosher salt isn’t as salty and some of it will evenly salt the shank (like a brine).¬†Some of it will be left behind in the bowl and the rest will drip away when the shank is braising, salting the vegetables. It will be ok. Place uncovered in the fridge for 24 hours.

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For the cauliflower puree. Cut off the florets and discard the tough end portion of the stem. In a shallow saucepan, place the florets and add about 1/2 inch of water, bring to a boil and shallow steam with the lid on until cauliflower is soft but not mushy. Season with a little salt. When¬†done, reduce the water until there’s only a little left. Allow to cool. Place the contents of the saucepan in a blender. Add a little milk. Cover the blender and place a dry kitchen towel over it, pressing down firmly. Blend, stop. Press the cauliflower chunks with a spatula deeper into the blender jar. Cover, kitchen towel, more milk, blend‚Ķ, adjust seasoning, repeat. I do it this way because I don’t want to ue¬†too much milk and end up with a runny cream. You can always reduce it in a saucepan if this ever happens and get it back to the right consistency, but I rather avoid that step and prefer to get it right straight inside the blender. And immersion blender is a nicer alternative to this, but mine still bubble wrapped from moving to Canada.

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Braising the Lamb Shank. ¬†Preheat your oven to 500F for about an hour. Add a drizzle of olive oil to an oven safe pot, like an all stainless steel pot or cast iron dutch oven which is my favorite. Place the shank and brown the widest end (the knee end I guess) on medium high heat for a few minutes. ¬†The first stage is browning the meat, to develop flavor. You can do it all in the same pot either over the stove or in the oven. I prefer the oven, is less work and browns more evenly. I give the shank a bit of a head start by browning the side in which it will stand (sit on) for the rest of the cooking process. Place the pot in the oven and let it brown for about 10-12 minutes. ¬†(or the stock of your liking, chicken, beef, lamb, vegetable, probably not fish but who knows!) carefully remove the pot from the oven. Add the vegetable, ¬†prunes, and tomato paste with about 1/2 C of water. Reduce the oven temperature to 200F -250F and cook for as long as 4 hours. Remove from the oven, place shank over serving plate. On the stove over medium heat, place the that same pot with the vegetables, add the honey. Don’t let it burn, ¬†but let it become a bit darker. Stir. ¬†Deglaze with a splash of water, stir until water is reduced completely and remove form the heat.

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Plating. Spoon the braised vegetables around the lamb shank. Add as much cauliflower puree as you want. I would have drowned the plate, that puree is so good! but I plated for the photo so I kept it a bit classier. Garnish with some toasted sesame seeds and Fresh mint leaves. Pepper to taste.

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leg o’ lamb!

Extremely easy recipe, ¬†oh yeah, the photo… these couple of young sheep smiling on top of a New Zealand hill in the south Island, that’s the only photo I was able to find in my pbase site… hint… hint… have a look ūüôā Ok, back to this dish of which no photo exists, because it was 2am when I was done roasting, and after letting it rest and having portioned it and stored it, and realizing I hadn’t taken out my SLR that evening, getting the tripod out, setting up…. YAWN. Iphone…. click… fail. I was half asleep and the iphone snapshot just didnt do it justice, so…delete… insert a less crappy photo of related topic, done. BTW, my LOL came from New Zealand anyways, so this pic made perfect sense, Lamb in the US mostly comes from there or Australia, maybe one of the guys in the pic is like the grandpa of what I just ate. It was delicious ¬†in the extreme!

Tools:

4 1/2″ utility knife or anything similar.
Roasting rack.
Roasting pan to catch drippings.
Cutting board.
Preheated oven to 400f

Ingredients:

Leg of Lamb (frenched, ask the butcher or DIY)
~10 garlic cloves
Kosher Salt (didnt measure, just keep enough handy)
1 tbsp dry thyme

Method:

Prep the leg. French it, or not.
Peel garlic cloves, mash them a bit with the hill of the hand or the knife.
Pierce the meat with the knife, about inch and a half or 2 deep.
Insert a garlic clove per cut, use tip of index finger to drive garlic in.
Add salt in the cut, use tip of index finger to drive salt in.
Add thyme in the cut, use tip of index finger to drive thyme in.
Rub the outside of the leg with salt and thyme.
Place meat over roasting rack, place rack over roasting pan.
400f to brown outside 30 mins
240f to cook inside 3 hours, check internal temperature.
140f is rare at the core, with medium rare to medium throughout. Which is great.
Let meat rest for about an hour before slicing.
Reserve shank bone, I’m sure there will be a good opportunity in the stock making department soon.

done.