I am very happy today. I have spent a sweet sunny warm day, chocolate shopping with my friend Laurence. If you have been following my blog, then you know she is visiting us from Paris this week-end.
Last night, I made us “the” lamb for dinner.
Let me back up to when “the” lamb first appeared… We were stuck in the remote village of Calascio, were we often go, and the markets, due to the heavy snow and closed roads, were nearly empty. I had to fight little old ladies to get a few carrots, broccoli rabe and other bare necessities to feed for a week and at the butcher I had found 2 sausages and a lamb shoulder with chops.
I planned and posted a recipe for “Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe”.
The next day, I made the lamb but since I had so few ingredients in the house and did not expect it to be very special, I did not take picture and did not set my self up for the post… Not to mention that good friends were over and we had much vino…
To make up for the lack of ingredients I decided to cook it slowly for 5 hours. I had never done that and really was not sure of the result. It turned out to be one of the best lambs I had ever made. My friend Laura who is back in Brooklyn, is a big lamb fan. Her husband Chris makes it often so I had promised to share my recipe.
But last night was another wined and dined night and today we were out all day.
At this point Laura who is reading this is panicking… pictures of chocolate, no recipe, WHERE IS MY LAMB? As we were chocolate shopping, I received a really funny email from Laura where she sends me much love but hints to the fact that still no lamb on my blog…
So here it goes. I will from now on call it Laura’s Lamb and if you share this recipe, please do the same. This time I changed 1 ingredient because of availability, but the result was again the most succulent lamb I have had. It is worth every minute spent on it. Now you think 5 hours is insane but really the prep time is minimal and once in the oven you need to baste it every hour or so and that’s it!
1 Lamb Shoulder + 4 ribs
2 lbs of shallots
6 cloves of garlic (unpeeled)
1 Preserved Lemon (or when in season, 1 pint of cherry tomatoes)
4 Sprigs of rosemary
Fleur de Sel or Coarse Sea Salt
Freshly ground Black pepper
1/2 cup Olive oil
Peel the shallots and empty out the preserved lemon leaving only the rind which you will cut in strips. (If using cherry or grape tomatoes, leave them whole)
sprinkle the lamb with the paprika, salt, fresh pepper and the rest of the rosemary which you will have chopped. Rub the meat with all the spices for the flavor to evenly coat it.
Heat your oven to 125℃ (about 250℉) and place the pan on the middle rack of your oven. Baste the meat with the juices from the bottom of the pan every hour or more and halfway through the cooking time, turn the meat upside-down. Cook for about 4 to 5 hours until the meat tears off without effort.
Seriously, it is so tender, you almost don’t need to set knifes down.
The first time around (tomato version) I had served it with lentils which was a perfect marriage. This time around because of the preserved lemon, I decided to make persian rice with a perfect “Tah-dig” crust.
Laura this one is for you!
NEW NOTE ON THE SIDE DISH: Michele is right (see comments below), making perfect Persian rice is difficult and requires much practice and wasted rice… But since Vicky wanted to learn, I am sharing a recipe by my favorite Persian cookbook author: Najmieh Batmanglij (click on her name to access her website).
I have learned how to make this rice many years ago and in the beginning, it is never a sure thing (though the gorgeous color is not my skill but rather the saffron)! Najmieh’s recipe below however, is well written and easy to follow and I have tried it verbatum and it works well. (I use a light olive oil not ghee or butter). The key is not to burn the rice and many stoves are different, on mine, medium heat is too high and burns my favorite part, the tah-dig golden crustso I do med-low for 10 minutes then super low for 50-60.
Recipe: Saffron Steamed Rice
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