Saturday, 26 April 2014

Pulled lamb sliders

With everything that's been going on, especially the recipe contest Pernod Ricard is hosting I have even more respect for wine. I'm still light years away from the expertize Wine Authority, that friend of mine, but I've had some fairly bright light bulb moments of my own, too. Let's take Pinot Noir, for instance. I've been sampling a couple of them recently and found it delightful how well it works with good Iberico ham, how it mellows the acidity of the cornichons I served with paté and experimented how it fights back the kick of the chillis.

The wine for the next leg of OivaPari- recipe contest is one of the most often-seen reds in my kitchen: Cabernet Sauvignon. And today's entry is a fine specimen at that: Chilean San Pedro 1865 Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon has won numerous prizes.

We paired it with pulled lamb sliders that we had initially planned to serve with the wine that opened the contest, Castillo Molina Pinot Noir, but the test audience unanimously felt this was The One. 

For the recipe for the burger brioches, please see here.

Dressing made of caramelized red onions:

750 g red onions
2 generous tbsp olive oil
1/4 dl brown sugar
2 dl red wine
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 dl balsamico
2 tsp salt, black pepper
pinch of ground cloves (or allspice)

Finely slice the onions. Heat oil in a pan, add onions and sugar and let caramelize for a moment. Then add rest of the ingredients apart from balsamico, salt, pepper and cloves. Cook over moderate heat for 40-60 minutes until you're left with jelly-like mixture. Remove cinnamon stick and star anise and add balsamico. Blizz in the blender, pour back into pan and season. The sauce will thicken as it cools down but if it feels too runny, keep cooking over high heat until it reduces. Keeps well int he fridge. 

Pulled lamb:

3 lamb shanks or 1 large piece of meat with bone still attached (total weight a little over 1 kg)
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp Chinese fivespice
1 large carrot
1 celery stalk
1 large onion
2 large garlic clove
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 bay leaves
10 allspice peppers
1 star anise
1/2 l water

Pat the meat dry. Rub salt and Chinese fivespice on it. This you can do in the morning and leave the meat to season, covered in the fridge. Peel carrot, onion and, along with celery, roughly chop into pieces. Peel garlic and bruise it gently with the back of the knife.

Brown the meat in a hot pan. Add the veggies and spices. Toss them around for a while and make them work too and release their flavours. Then pour in water. Bring to boil and transfer to a pre-heated oven at 130° . Keep it there for at least 5 hours. Or 8. We kept ours stewing overnight.

If, like me, you're neurotic, you'll probably keep waking up in the middle of the night to check up on the meat. and turn it around, too. But really, there's no need. They'll be just fine!

Lift the mat out of the pot and let come to room temperature wrapped in foil. At this point you'll see already how temptingly tender the meat is - it will fall off the bone on its own. Once it's time to assemble to burgers, shred the meat using a fork (one of the most satisfying jobs in the kitchen I'll tell you!) and admire your handiwork. There you are, bang on trend, shredding pulled lamb like nobody's business! Check the taste and season good salt and/or pepper if needed.

Pulled lamb sliders:

12 small burger brioches (or any small buns)
1 -2 red onions (depending on the size)
12 cornichons
caramelized red onion dressing
salad leaves

Toast the brioches in the oven. Top with salad leaves, finely shredded red onion, generous pile of pulled lamb, a cornichons split in two and a handsome dollop of dressing. Spear with a tooth pick to make sure it all stays put and enjoy. I have a sneaky feeling you'll end up going for seconds... and thirds...!