Culinary Connections | Lamb Preparations

ICELAND ITALY MONTENEGRO MOROCCO NORWAY TURKEY WALES

Agnello all’acciuga

Only the Sicilians would conjure a liasion between fresh anchovies and young lamb. Each is delicate and that is the secret of this dish. Cook it low and slow.

  • 1 kg lamb, cut into 3 cm dice, floured
  • 350 g anchovies, fresh, deboned
  • 45 ml olive oil
  • 45 g wheat flour
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp wine vinegar
  • 10 g black pepper, cracked
  • Salt, large pinch
  • 1 sprig parsley

In olive oil flavoured with a parsley sprig over a medium heat fry the cloves of garlic. When the garlic is evenly brown remove from the oil, increase heat and fry the floured pieces of lamb. Season the lamb, cook covered over low heat for 40 minutes. Remove the lamb from the pan and and keep warm. Deglaze the pan with the vinegar, add the anchovies and allow them to melt into a sauce. Replace the lamb in the pan, leave to cook covered for a few minutes until the lamb has absorbed the anchovy flavour.


Brav u Mlijeku

The shimmering meadows of the Montenegrin mountains and the grassy pastures of the Welsh valleys are geographically separate in distance and time yet both are reknown for producing succulent lamb.

Hidden from view for an aeon, Montenegro has emerged out of the ashes of the old Yugoslavia with its south slav identity entact and its traditional food now regarded as among the best in Europe.

And if one dish epitomises that cultural and culinary identity it is lamb braised in milk.

  • 2 litres milk, full fat
  • 1.5 kg lamb shoulder / blade
  • 1 kg potato, whole
  • 6 carrots, whole, peeled
  • 5-25 peppercorns
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 25 g parsley
  • 2-5 bay / laurel leaves

The amount of milk needed for the lamb depends on the width of your cooking pot. The meat should be covered. Add the spices, as little or as much as your tastes require, and the carrots.

Slow cook for four to five hours depending on the size of the piece. A one and a half kilo piece needs no less than four hours over a very low heat. It is done when it falls apart.

The potatoes for this dish can be baked or boiled, preferably the latter. Time the cooking to have them ready with the lamb.

Mash the potatoes in a large warmed bowl. Cut up the meat and carrots, add to the potatoes. Mix together with some or all of the cooking milk, including the peppercorns. Discard the bay leaves.

Serve decorated with parsley.


Buhara Pilavı

  • 400 g lamb, cut into 3 cm dice
  • 400 ml meat stock / water, boiled
  • 300 g rice, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, drained
  • 200 g carrots, peeled, cut into small dice
  • 150 g onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp butter / oil
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper

Melt a tablespoon of butter or pour oil into a frying pan, begin to sauté the onions. Cover and fry gently for 15 minutes until the onions are soft and creamy. Place the fried onions in the bottom of a deep saucepan. Put the lid on, and keep warm.

Add a tablespoon of butter or oil to the frying pan, sauté carrots for 10 minutes. Add the carrots to the onions. Heat through.

Add two tablespoons of butter or oil to the frying pan, fry the lamb for 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Stir into the carrots and onions in the saucepan.

Spoon the rice on top of the carrot-onion-lamb mixture, season and pour in stock or water. Cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.

Once dimples form on the rice, place a paper towel between the pan and the lid. Turn the heat down to lowest setting. Cook for 5 minutes.

Take the pilaf off the heat, rest for 15 minutes with lid on. Before service, gently turn the rice over to a plate to place the lamb mixture on top.


Mrouzia

This sweet lamb tagine of Morocco is now popular throughout Europe.

  • 1.5 litres water
  • 1 kg lamb neck / shoulder, cut into 3 cm dice
  • 300 g almonds, blanched, skinned, dry-roasted in frying pan
  • 300 g dried apricots / raisins, soaked in 300 ml water overnight, drained
  • 300 g onion, chopped small
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 90 g sesame seeds, dry roasted
  • 60 g clarified butter / Smen (see below)
  • 60 g forest honey
  • 30 g Moroccan spice mixture / Ras-el-Hanout
  • 30 ml vegetable oil
  • 2 cm ginger root, grated / 10 g ginger powder
  • 5 g black pepper, pinches x 2
  • 5 g saffron threads, large pinches, crushed x 2
  • 5 g salt, pinches x 2
  • 5 g turmeric powder, large pinches

Place the lamb in a large bowl, add the ginger, saffron, turmeric, seasonings and spice mixture. Rub spices into the meat. Pour sufficient water to cover, refrigerate overnight.

Melt butter in oil in a saucepan over a low heat, add the onion and salt, sauté for ten minutes. Add the meat, increase heat and brown. Pour sufficient water to cover, add cinnamon, reduce heat, cover and simmer until the meat is cooked.

Remove cinnamon sticks and discard. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Add the honey and apricots or raisins to the remaining liquid, reduce to a sauce consistency. Put meat back in the sauce, heat through.

Serve with the dry-roasted almonds and roasted sesame seeds.

Smen (clarified butter)

  • 250 g unsalted butter
  • 5 g salt

Melt butter, then simmer for 30 minutes. Strain through muslin several times until the liquid is clear, add salt, pour into a sterlised jar.


Ofnbakað Lambalæri

In Iceland a leg of lamb is smeared with seasoned melted butter, slow-roasted on a rack with stoch, then served with carmelised potatoes, vegetables and a sweet sauce made with the juices of the roasting tray. Modern versions will include garlic and herbs.

  • 2.25 kg leg of lamb
  • 750 ml broth
  • 30 g butter, melted
  • 5 garlic cloves, quartered (optional)
  • 4 rosemary sprigs (optional)
  • 4 thyme sprigs (optional)
  • 10 g black peppercorns, coarse ground
  • 5 g salt

Sauce

  • 300 ml cream
  • 100 ml lamb juices
  • 30 g butter
  • 30 g flour
  • 30 g redcurrant jelly
  • Seasonings

Accompaniments

  • 1 kg small potatoes, boiled, skinned, cooled
  • 100 g sugar
  • 30 g butter

Preheat oven to 180°C. Place the lamb on a rack in a baking tray. Mix the melted butter with the black pepper and salt, smear over all sides of the lamb. If using the garlic make cuts in the flesh of the lamb, insert the garlic pieces and, if using the herbs, some spears of rosemary. Pour the stock into the tray and, is using, the thyme. Roast lamb for 50 minutes at 180°C. Decrease to 140°C . Roast for two hours. Baste occasionally. Increase heat to 200°C top and bottom heat. Roast for 20 minutes, turning once, until a crust forms on the skin of each side.

Make a roux, add the cream and jelly, strain in some of the lamb juices and heat gently.

Season the sauce.

Gently heat the sugar in a frying pan until it begins to brown, add the butter. Stir and heat through for a minute or two. Add the potatoes, stir into the mixture, heat gently.

Serve the lamb sliced withj the sauce and carmelised potatoes.


Sodd

Traditionally made with lamb or mutton, sodd is sometimes made with beef. More of a soup than a stew, sodd is characterised by the gentle flavour of the stock and the separately coooked vegetables. The carrots should not be overcooked. One of Norway’s most popular traditional dishes.

Lamb / Mutton

  • 5 litres water
  • 1.5 kg lamb or mutton leg / neck / shoulder, 250 g lean and a little fat removed, fine minced
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp nutmeg, grated
  • 1 tsp salt

Cut 250 g lean meat and a little fat from the chosen piece of meat, add salt, mince. Tradition calls for a dozen runs through the mincer, and one more for luck!

Braise the meat in salted water, remove the foamy scum that forms on the surface, reduce heat to slow, simmer for three hours, until meat is tender, strain liquid and keep warm.

The meat should fall off the bone, cut into large cubes.

Vegetables

  • 1.5 kg water
  • 1 kg potatoes, cut large
  • 500 g carrots, chopped small
  • 10 g salt

Cook the potatoes in the same volume of water until almost ready
Cook the carrots in just enough water to cover them until they are al dente.

Broth Balls

  • 500 ml lamb stock
  • 250 g lamb mince
  • 75 ml cream
  • 2 tsp cornflour / potato flour
  • 2 tsp ginger, ground
  • 1 tsp nutmeg, grated
  • Black pepper, freshly ground, large pinch
  • Salt, pinch

Stir cornflour or potato flour, spices and cream into the minced lamb, shape with wet hands into walnut-sized balls, around 25 grams each.
Poach in lamb stock for 10 minutes. When they rise to the surface they are ready.

Finish

  • Broth balls
  • Lamb meat
  • Lamb stock
  • Cooked carrots
  • Cooked potatoes
  • Crispbread

Pour the stock into bowls, add the carrots, broth balls and braised lamb.
Serve with crispbread and potatoes on the side.


Welsh Lamb

In Wales they do it in a slightly different way.

  • 1.5 kg lamb leg, neck or shoulder, chilled
  • 300 cl dry white wine / cider
  • 60 g honey
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 6 rosemary sprigs
  • Black pepper, pinch
  • Salt, pinch

Score the fat deep into the meat.

Mix garlic, honey, rosemary, seasoning and wine or cider in a bowl large enough to hold the lamb. Marinade for an hour.

Preheat oven to 220°C.

Place lamb on a wire rack above a deep tray. Baste with all the marinade. A one and a half kilogram piece needs 40-45 minutes for pink meat, 90 minutes for dark meat. Turn heat down to 200°C after 30 minutes.

Baste several times after 30 minutes. Reduce heat further if the top of the meat is looking burnt.

Cut into pieces or slices and use the cooking juices as a sauce.

Mashed or puréed potatoes with butter and a parsley garnish are a good accompaniment, as are sautéd sliced carrots.


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