Friday, March 25, 2005
My Easter Lamb
Today is Good Friday (why is it called that? Jesus spent all the on the cross - what was good about that? The Swedish name is much more apt - Long Friday.) and I have spent the afternoon sniffing the most wonderful aroma, coming from my oven. I decided to try my hand at cooking a leg of lamb - not particularly exciting for many of you, but the first time for me. I wanted to use my new Anthony Bourdain Les Halles cookbook, in which he has a wonderful recipe for seven-hour lamb - that's right, seven hours. I ended up cooking mine for about five - it was a bit smaller, and five hours was plenty. The meat is absolutely incredible - moist, flavorful, incredibly soft. You can carve it with a spoon, it just falls apart. (Um, so presentation is not great. No nice slices here.)
I served this with a very good salad that my friend Helmy made for me this summer. It has parsley, cherry tomatoes, grilled red peppers (from a jar is fine), flat leaf parsley, red onions and a splash of balsamic vinegar. I added some rocket and feta cheese. Helmy served this on thick slices of home-grown squash, yum! The salad worked really well with the lamb, too - the tanginess cut through the pungent richness in a divine way.
We also had some simple boiled potatoes. I'll make a garlicky potato gratin to go with the leftovers, mmm! Now - go make your own lamb! It's easy! It just takes a little bit of time. Accidentally, this turned out a fairly low-carb meal - if you skip the potatoes. It's fairly low-fat, too - just don't use much olive oil. I threw out the pan drippings, as they were a little too oily for my likings.
You need: a leg of lamb - mine weighed about 3 pounds. (Bourdain suggested 5-6 pounds.) Akso: garlic, at least 20 cloves, 2 small onions, 2 medium carrots, 2,5 dl (1 cup) of dry white wine, some flat leaf parsley, some thyme, a bay leaf or two, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees. Peel the garlic cloves. Chop the carrots into 2-3 pieces each, thinly slice the onions. Bash 3 or 4 garlic cloves with the back of your knife and slice them roughly. Make incisions all over the lamb, and stuff the garlic slivers in the pockets. Rub the lamb all over with olive oil, and season well with salt and pepper. Put in a large pot with a tight fitting lid. Add the garlic cloves, the carrots, the onions, the parsley, bay leaf and thyme. Pour over the wine. Put on the lid, and place in oven. Let it be for as long as you can stand it - watch every now and then so it doesn't go too dry. (Didn't happen for me - but I worried, since Bourdain said to seal the lid with a mixture of flour and water. Seemed a little over-pretentious to me, so I skipped it.) The garlic and onion slices will caramelize beautifully.