Wednesday, 8 April 2015

The Lamb of God - lamb shoulder braised in red wine and black currants

In a bid to offer inspiration for Easter, the blog's been full of lamb recipes for weeks now. But if you think all that feasting meant we were done with lamb come Easter, think again. Now, however, I think we just might have had enough. I personally couldn't care less if next Easter was a whole year away!

This turned out to be my personal favourite and made it to The Boy Next Door's Top 2, too. Inspiration for this came from that lamb we had at Ragù; the one that brought tears into The Boy Next Door's eyes. While we welcome any additional days off with open arms, we don't actually celebrate Easter. But let's get giddy (and only slightly blasphemic!): let's call this recipe The Lamb Of God. How about it?

We did not have the patience to wait around for 18 hours which is what theirs was stewed for (with that divine scent wafting out of the oven I doubt neither would you!) but don't you worry - just 5 hours will do. 

The gentle, comforting result is nothing short of heavenly and will have you begging for more. And what's more - I dare say it's so unlamby even those who'd normally turn their noses up to a lamb will come asking for seconds! Just try!

Serves 4-6

Shoulder of lamb braised in red wine and black currant gelée:

1,3 kg boneless shoulder of lamb, tied
4 sprigs of rosemary
salt, pepper
oil for frying

1 large red onion, quartered
4 large cloves of garlic, gently bruised
4 bay leaves
20 cloves
10 allspice peppers
5 dl red wine
200 g black currant gelée

Season the lamb. Place the rosemary sprigs under the twine and sear the lamb in a bit of oil on a hot pan.  Brown the onion and garlic, too, add the spices and finally red wine and black currant gelée. Bring to boil and place in a  pre-heated oven (150°, 130° in fan-assisted one). Cook, covered, for 5 hours.

Carefully transfer the lamb out of the pot and set aside, covered with foil .Strain the cooking liquid and spoon out the fat (the translucent layer floating on top). This is easiest if you quickly chill the liquid allowing the fat to solidify.

Remove the twine and pull the lamb apart. Pour the liquid into a large pan/ pot, check the taste and season as needed (salt, pepper and/or more black currant gelée for more sweetness). Pour over the lamb and serve.

With risotto, polenta, Jerusalem artichoke purée or yellow lentil mash.

Not too long ago we had a similar mash at a restaurant (right next door to Ragù, actually!) and fell for it. The creamy texture and mellow taste are very much like mashed potatos, but lentils are packed with all sorts of goodies. They're rich in protein (a whopping 26%), fiber and minerals.

For a dairy-free or kosher diet, use oil (or cooking liquid from the lentils) instead of butter.

Yellow lenti mash:

8 dl yellow lentils (about 320 g)
water or vegetable stock for cooking
75 gr butter, cubed and at room temperature
1/2-1 tsp granulated garlic
1/2-1 tsp ground coriander seeds
salt, white pepper

Soak the lentils in plenty of cold water for about half an hour (this makes them cook faster). Drain and cook, using either water or vegetable stock (1,5 times the amount of lentils), over low heat until done (about 20 minutes). Drain, place in a food processor with the butter, and blizz to a smooth puré.

Season and serve. Don't worry of initially the mash looks a bit runny, it will soon set.

At this point of the Easter weekend we didn't have a perfect wine pairing for this (Alko, the shop with the state-run monopoly over wine was closed all weekend...) so you'll have to make do with these two previously sampled and liked specimen. 




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