Category Archives: LAMB RECIPES

LAMB BOBOTIE WITH YELLOW RICE (SOUTH AFRICAN)

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Well I guess the first thing to do is apologize for not posting any new recipes for the last few weeks. But I have a very good excuse. (Don’t I always!) I was in SOUTH AFRICA! Yep – you read it right – South Africa. And I have to say, my time there was one of the best travel experiences of my life. We only visited the Eastern side of the country as far up as Richards Bay and environs – Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve for wild animals and St. Lucia for an afternoon boat ride spent cruising the river estuary amid the local hippo and crocodile population. (BTW – if you are interested in how you pronounce Hluhluwe, I will give you the same advice I was given by a nice older couple from Johannesburg. “Pretend you have had too much to drink, and then slur your words. If it sounds like schlu-shlouwee, you’ve got it right!”) Let’s see, where was I? Oh yes.

We only drove from Cape Town as far up as Richards Bay, touring mostly along the coast. On the way back to Cape Town, we stuck close to the Indian Ocean again for about half the distance, then turned inland to drive through glorious mountain passes and wine country. During the 24 days that we had our rental car, we drove a total of 7,016 kilometers or 4,360 miles. And even if the amount of kilometers we travelled seems like a lot, we actually only visited a very small part of this glorious country.

And of course along the way, we had many opportunities to enjoy South African cuisine. Along our route one day, we stopped for lunch at a quiet little café. Basically it was a place to buy gourmet condiments, fresh bread, and take-away food. But we were tired, so we asked the kind server if she would heat something up for us. She said, “pleasure” and we settled ourselves in their small outside dining area to await our meal.

I truly don’t recollect what Mr. C. ordered, but I decided to try a South African comfort food  called Bobotie. Bobotie is basically a savory meat loaf flavored with curry and other aromatic spices and topped with a simple egg custard. Well from bite one I was hooked. So I decided there and then that Bobotie had to be the first South African recipe to get posted when I returned.

So for the next few weeks, my cooking time is going to be mainly spent trying to duplicate some of the amazing dishes we experienced on our trip. And because I know you all love new and different recipes to fix for your family and friends, I have faith that as you try some of these amazing dishes, you will forgive me for being away from my blog for so long.

So give this recipe a try. It’s easy to prepare and just delicious. Comfort food, Cape Town style.

  • 1 T. vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. ground lamb or beef
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lg. carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 thick slice or 2 thin slices of white bread soaked in ¼ cup milk
  • 1/3 c. slivered or sliced almonds
  • 1/3 c. golden raisins
  • 1 c. buttermilk or plain milk (or combination)
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 bay leaves
  • chutney, opt.

Heat the oil in a large fry pan. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the ground lamb and cook until just cooked through, breaking up the meat as it cooks. (You don’t want any large lumps of meat.) Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the coriander, ginger, curry powder, cinnamon, turmeric, sugar, salt, pepper, grated carrot, and lemon juice. Remove from heat and add the soaked white bread, making sure you have mixed the milk and bread thoroughly. (You shouldn’t be able to see big chunks of bread). Add the almonds and golden raisins and mix through. Spoon the mixture into a lightly buttered casserole dish, press down and level the top.

Whisk together the buttermilk and eggs and pour over the meat mixture. Gently lay the bay leaves over the egg mixture for decoration.

Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for about 40 minutes. (The egg custard should be firm and set and the top a nice golden brown in color.)

Serve hot with Yellow Rice (see recipe below), Greek salad, and chutney.

YELLOW RICE

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  • 1½ c. long grain white rice
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • freshly ground black pepper (just a bit)
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ¼ c. golden raisins
  • 1 T. butter
  • 2½ c. chicken broth

Place all the ingredients in a rice cooker and set it on “go”. Serve with Bobotie or any other South African dish.

 

GRILLED LAMB PATTIES WITH TZATZIKI (GREEK CUCUMBER SAUCE)

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn my estimation lamb is under-utilized. And I believe one of the reasons is that a lot of parents with young children think their children won’t like the taste. Well, I beg to differ. When my children were growing up, a leg of lamb was one protein source I knew would be devoured right down to the bone. And I mean this literally. (I’m pretty sure they would have gnawed on the bone if I would have let them!) They truly loved it. And really, what’s not to love? A nice bone-in piece of meat with slits all over the surface stuffed with slivered garlic and fresh rosemary. Then liberally slathered with oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and baked to a medium rare. What person of any age could resist this delicacy?

Now granted, lamb isn’t cheap. But because it’s so lean, it doesn’t shrink as much as beef either.

So attached is a recipe for ground lamb that has tons of flavor and is a good way to introduce your family to the joy that is lamb. (Of course, even if your family are already lamby pie lovers, you can fix this recipe. The flavor just won’t be as much of a pleasant surprise.) I take that back. Because of all the herbs and spices, the flavor is still going to be a pleasant surprise! So regardless of your families’ level of culinary acquaintance with baby sheep, fix this quick and easy recipe while it is still BBQing season. You won’t be sorry.

And for all you parents out there introducing your children to lamb for the first time, at least you won’t have to explain that the lamb on the table absolutely did not come from Shari Lewis’s puppet Lambchop! True story! Thanks for the memories kids. Love you mucho!

  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 T. finely chopped red onion
  • 1 T. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 T. dry sherry
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp. ground allspice
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb. ground lamb, room temperature

Combine the garlic, onion, cilantro, dry sherry, salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, allspice, and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Add the ground lamb and gently combine with the other ingredients. Don’t overwork the meat. Divide into 3 or 4 patties. While you are forming the patties don’t over press the meat together; just work enough so that the meat retains its shape and doesn’t fall through the grill while it is cooking. (Not good form and you will lose points if the patties fall apart on the grill!)

Place the patties on a medium hot grill and do not overcook. A little red in the middle is perfect. Let rest for 3-4 minutes before serving. Serve with Tzatziki (recipe below). Also great with Cucumbers with a Yogurt, Feta, and Dill Dressing.

TZATZIKI  

  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 c. plain Greek Yogurt
  • 3 small or 2 medium garlic cloves, finely minced
  • ½ tsp. dill weed
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt, or more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 English cucumber, partially peeled, seeded, and grated

Combine all ingredients. Adjust seasoning. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

PALÓCLEVES (HUNGARIAN LAMB SOUP WITH SOUR CREAM)

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Those who know us personally know that we love to travel. And what I’m sure our friends realize almost intrinsically about our whole “travel thing” is that not only do we love to see the world for the cultural heritage and the natural and manmade sites that appeal to us and every other tourist, we love to travel to experience the food! (Well of course we do.)

So we tend to choose countries based on what we know about the cuisine. I visited England, Scotland, and Wales in the late seventies, and have never returned. (Lesson learned.) I first visited Italy in the mid eighties, and have since been back three times. We also have loved the food in other European countries we have visited. But one of the countries we have yet to visit is Hungary. (We have traveled in the neighboring countries of Croatia and Slovenia and eaten like kings, so now it’s simply time to go to the land of sour cream, paprika, and caraway seeds.) And of course, while we are touring the country we absolutely must stay a few days in Budapest. We have several friends who have spent time there, and they consider Budapest to be one of the loveliest cities on earth.

So, until we can visit this amazing country in person, I am going to have to be content to research the many culinary offerings Hungary has to offer via the internet. (Actually, I have been making Chicken Paprika for years. And truly, it is one of Mr. Cs favorite dishes. But until I prepared this soup last evening (thank you Saveur Magazine), Chicken Paprika was the only Hungarian dish I had ever prepared, that I’m aware of that is.)

So hang on folks, in the next few weeks we are going to visit one of the oldest countries in Europe (founded 897) together.

So here’s to a fun new adventure learning about the birthplace of the Rubik’s Cube (inventor Erno Rubik), Béla Bartók and Franz Liszt. And to a country with a 99% literacy rate. And to the home of Europe’s largest natural grassland. (Complete with real life cowboys (csikos) I might add.) Wee ha!

  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil or more as needed
  • 16-20 oz. lamb shoulder, trimmed of all fat and sinew and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 bay leaves
  • ¼ c. Hungarian sweet paprika
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 6 c. water
  • 1 small russet potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 8 oz. yellow snap or green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1½ c. sour cream, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ c. flour
  • 4 T. roughly chopped dill, divided

Heat the oil in a 6-qt. covered saucepan over medium-high heat. Dry lamb off with paper towels and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Add lamb to the pan, and cook until browned all over, about 8 minutes. Add onions, garlic, and bay leaves to the pot. (If necessary, add a little more oil to the pot.) Cook until the onions are soft, about 15 minutes. Add paprika, cayenne, and water; bring to a boil, cover pot, reduce heat and cook until lamb is just tender, 40-60 minutes. Add the potato and beans, and cook until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the cup and a half sour cream and flour together until smooth. When the meat and veggies are tender, whisk the sour cream mixture into the soup, and stir until smooth and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Just before serving, add 2 tablespoons of the dill to the soup and adjust seasonings. To serve, ladle soup into bowls, dollop with additional sour cream, and garnish with remaining dill.

RACK OF LAMB WITH KALAMATA-ROSEMARY CRUST

There are few words that light up Mr. Cs eyes like the word “lamb”. He loves lamb just about any old way. But this recipe for rack of lamb that I adapted from an R.S.V.P. request in Bon Appétit a few years ago is one of his favorites. Mine too! In fact, I have never served it to anyone who hasn’t been absolutely charmed. Truly, what’s not to like? Rosemary, I’m convinced, was considered just a weed until someone paired it with lamb. And hearty red wine, you have a better use for it? And Dijon mustard, who ever invented it must have had lamb in mind. So you combine these three wonderful items with a few others simpatico ingredients and you are about to experience the real reason God gave us all those sheep to count!

So, if you are looking for something different and wonderful to serve on Christmas or for any other special occasion, this is the recipe for you. Just keep your side dishes fairly plain. Although a lovely rich cheesy potato gratin is very festive, it would not be as good with the rack of lamb as plain roasted potatoes. And a simply prepared dish of green beans or peas would be my choice for a veggie. Believe me the lamb is rich enough to carry the whole meal. Plan on 2-3 rib chops (we call them lamb lollypops) per person. Two racks of lamb are perfect for 4 people with maybe a couple left over if you’re lucky. (I personally have never been that lucky, but I’m sure the day will come. Probably the same day donkeys fly to the North Pole to visit Santa!)

  • 1 c. Demi-Glace (under This & That) or 4 c. low sodium beef broth reduced to 1 cup
  • ¼ c. dry red wine (like a hearty merlot)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ½  tsp. chopped fresh rosemary, divided
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 lg. shallot, minced
  • 3/4 c. dried breadcrumbs
  • ½ c. finely chopped kalamata olives (about 4-oz.)
  • 2 racks of lamb, room temperature (remove from refrigerator about 2 hours before needed)
  • 2-3 tsp. Dijon mustard (depending on size or the racks)

Sauce: Combine the demi-glace (or reduced beef broth), red wine, garlic, bay leaf, and ½ teaspoon chopped rosemary together in a small heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, partially cover, and simmer on low for about an hour or until reduced and thickened. (Watch carefully during this time.) Season the sauce lightly with salt and pepper. Set aside until the lamb is ready to serve. Can be made ahead of time.

Breadcrumb Mixture: Meanwhile heat 1 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy fry pan. Add shallot and remaining teaspoon of rosemary; sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Add breadcrumbs and sauté until well blended. Stir in kalamata olives and lightly salt and pepper to taste. (Don’t over salt because other ingredients, like the olives themselves and the Dijon mustard also contain salt.) Remove mixture from pan and set aside.

Lamb preparation: Add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan. Fry racks of lamb rounded side down until evenly brown, about 5-6 minutes. Transfer to a large rimmed baking dish or pan, seared side up. Spread with Dijon mustard. Press reserved bread crumb mixture onto lamb. Roast lamb in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 125 degrees for rare or 135 for medium rare. Remove from oven and loosely tent with aluminum foil for 6-8 minutes. Cut lamb between bones and serve with reserved sauce.

Great served with simple oven roasted potatoes, a green vegetable, fresh fruit salad, chewy bread, and the rest of the bottle of merlot. (If it’s still around that is!)

 

 

STUFFED BONELESS LEG OF LAMB

Once upon a time (I have always wanted to start a preface to a recipe or story with this ever so rarely used story opener) there was a really good Italian restaurant in Redmond, Washington that offered cooking classes. For the life of me I can’t remember the name of the restaurant and in my defense, I did take the class along with my dear friend Jim 16 or 17 years ago. Anyway, the restaurant is long gone! What remains is this fabulous recipe. Now I am a lamb lover. I love grilled ground lamb patties served with Tzatziki, lamb curry, rack of lamb, marinated and grilled lamb chops; basically all things lamb. But my favorite all time way to cook lamb is this stuffed leg recipe.

The first time I made it for guests was for a cooking club that has been going, more off than on unfortunately, for over a decade. The thing that stands out most about serving this dish was the reaction I received from my 2 cooking buddies Ken and Paul. (And yes it does seem like all my best cooking pals are male. My mom never raised no dummy!) But back to my story. The leg of lamb was happily resting under its aluminum foil blanket and it was time to make the sauce. The first thing you need to know about this lamb preparation is that it produces just about the best sauce you will ever taste. And this evening’s sauce was no exception. I actually invited the guys to try the sauce/gravy as it was reducing. I wanted to demonstrate the difference a touch of lemon juice could make to the overall flavor of the sauce when it was added just before serving. Well, that was one of the worst mistakes I ever made! The guys were eating spoonfuls of the sauce before it ever got to the table. They even asked if I had any straws! They wanted to suck it up right out of the pan!

Now I have to be honest with you. This recipe is easy once you build the demi-glace. But making demi-glace is a pain in the bucket. It’s not hard to make, it’s just time consuming. So when I make it, I make about 4 cups and that usually lasts me for an entire year, if not longer. But making your own demi-glace beats the heck out of buying it. You want to experience sticker shock, go on line and figure out what a cup of demi-glace costs.  Of course, if you’re super rich, no problem. But if you are ordinary folk like Mr. C. and me, well suffice it to say, I build my own. I usually make it when I know I am going to be futzing around the kitchen for several hours anyway. That way I can periodically give it a check while I perform whatever other cooking projects happen to be in the works. (It also helps that I have an outdoor kitchen. I can put my pot of bones, meat, veggies and water on to boil outside and not have to worry about messing up my kitchen.) So next time you want to prepare a dish that will knock the socks off your guests, give this baby a try. You will not be disappointed. Well maybe just a little. Leftovers for next evening’s meal are simply not going to happen.

  • 1 medium sized boneless leg of lamb
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T. finely chopped fresh sage
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 7-8 slices prosciutto
  • 2 T. vegetable oil
  • 1 c. Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris, your choice (Both come from the same grape, but are made differently.  Italian style Pinot Grigio is typically lighter-bodied, crisp, fresh tasting, with a vibrant stone fruit flavor, floral aroma, and a touch of spice. Pinot Gris, from the Alsace region in France, is more full-bodied, richer, spicier, and has a higher viscosity.)
  • 1 c. demi-glace (see recipe under This & That Recipes)
  • ½ c. heavy cream
  • additional wine, if necessary (so don’t drink the rest of the bottle while the lamb is cooking)
  • ¼ tsp. fresh lemon juice

If the leg of lamb came in a sweet little mesh blanket bag, carefully slide the lamb out of the netting and set aside. Open lamb out on a cutting board and taking a sharp meat knife carefully slice the boned side of the meat here and there to achieve an even thickness. (I used to pound the meat with a mallet, but I have found slicing the meat here and there works better. Doesn’t leave the meat kind of mushy.) Rub the meat with a moderate amount of salt and pepper and sprinkle with the garlic, sage, and rosemary. Lay prosciutto on top. Roll the meat to approximately the same shape it was before you started messing with it. Tie with string so it keeps its shape while braising, or carefully stuff it back into the wire mesh bag. Heat oil in a heavy lidded roasting pan or Dutch oven. Brown the meat on all sides in the hot oil. Remove from heat and add the wine and demi-glace. Cover and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes. Remove lid, reduce heat to 325 degrees, insert instant read thermometer and continue roasting until meat reaches an internal temperature of 140-145 for medium rare. Remove meat from oven, transfer to a cutting board, remove string or mesh bag, and tent gently with aluminum foil. Let rest for at least 20 minutes before slicing into ½-inch pieces. Meanwhile, add an additional fourth to half cup of wine to roasting pan if there is less than a half cup of liquid remaining after the roast was removed. Add the heavy cream and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer a few minutes or until the sauce has reduced to a medium thick consistency. Adjust seasoning and add lemon juice. Remove from heat. Arrange 1 or 2 slices of meat on each plate. Spoon a small amount of sauce over each slice. (Don’t be too generous. The sauce is really, really rich. I usually serve whatever sauce is left in a small gravy boat and place it on the dining table for guests to help themselves.)

Side Dish Suggestions: Oven Roasted Fingerling Potatoes (recipe below), a steamed veggie like green beans or broccoli, a salad such as Winter Fruit Salad or Coleslaw, and a nice homemade Beer Bread. And for dessert – how about Cherries Jubilee or French vanilla ice cream with Spiced Rum Sauce (recipe found under Bread Pudding with Spiced Rum Sauce)

Wine Suggestion: Let’s see, how about starting with the left over Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris that has been happily waiting for you in the refrigerator? Or if that’s already gone, open another of the same!

Oven Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

  • 2 lbs. fingerling potatoes
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • seasoned or kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced

Place potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour on just enough olive oil to coat the potatoes lightly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add rosemary, and garlic. Mix with your hands. Bake in a pre-heated 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. (Your potatoes can be roasting while your leg of lamb is resting.)

 

 

 

 

 

IRISH LAMB STEW WITH ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES

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Boy howdy, if you are looking for a recipe for really rich stew bursting with flavor, have I got a deal for you! I could not believe how delicious this stew was when I took my first “official” bite last evening. When I say “official bite”, I’m talking about my first bite from my serving bowl at the dinner table. Of course I had made several “quality control” bites during the cooking process (actually more than were absolutely necessary) so I had an idea of the pleasure that lay ahead. But when paired with a chunk of crusty bread and a lovely glass of Cabernet Sauvignon to compliment the richness of the stew, even I was impressed with my version of the lamb stew recipe I found posted courtesy of the Food Network Kitchens. You know, there are just times when you have to pat yourself on the back. And in all modesty (or at least as much modesty as I can muster on this one), you too are undoubtedly going to be pretty darned impressed with me. But be forewarned, this stew is rich! Not just a little rich, or kinda sorta rich, but full blown “Puttin’ on the Ritz” rich. (For those of you unfamiliar with the expression/song “Puttin’ on the Ritz”, please refer to the quintessential version of the song performed by Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle in the movie Young Frankenstein. www.youtube.com/watch?v=co6-tYS9k1U  Ya just gotta love those boys!) You’re also going to fall in love with this fancily dressed up stew, especially when you learn how easy it is to prepare. It’s not a terribly economical dish to make, because lamb isn’t cheap, but a small serving is quite sufficient. For a more formal dinner, along with the chunks of crusty bread, I would serve a fairly simply dressed green salad. Nothing too elaborate. No goat cheese for example. There is more than enough richness happening in the stew itself. To my thinking there’s only one way in which too much richness is desirable, and that’s in an abundance of good friends. In that regard, I’m as rich as Rockefeller!

  • 2 T. olive oil + more for roasted veggies
  • 2 lbs. lamb cut into bite size chunks (I use boneless leg of lamb and cut off as much fat and silver skin as possible)
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lg. onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • ½ c. unsalted butter
  • 1 bottle amber or black ale
  • 3 c. beef stock
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 3 small parsnips, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3/8-inch rounds
  • 2 medium unpeeled potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 8 (4-inch) sprigs fresh rosemary, plus 1 tsp. chopped

In a heavy covered pan, heat the 2 tablespoos olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the lamb which has been seasoned with salt and pepper and fry until dark brown. (You will probably have to fry the meat in 2-3 batches.) Remove the meat as it browns and set aside. When all the meat is brown the bottom of your pan should be really dark too. That’s what you want! Add the onions and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the butter and allow it to melt. Whisk in the flour, reduce the heat to low, and cook the roux until it is brown, about 4 minutes. Whisk in the beer and stock. Add the canned tomatoes and the reserved lamb; bring to a simmer, reduce heat slightly and cover. Simmer for 90 minutes, stirring periodically. Meanwhile, place the parsnips, carrots, potatoes, and rosemary sprigs on a shallow roasting pan. Toss with just enough olive oil to lightly coat veggies. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the vegetables in a pre-heated 400 degree oven. Roast for 30-45 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and starting to brown. Remove the vegetables from the oven and strip the rosemary sprigs. Discard the stems. When the meat is tender and the gravy is good and thick, add the roasted vegetables to the lamb mixture. Cook for 10 minutes to blend flavors and textures. Add the chopped rosemary and adjust the seasoning. Serve with crusty baguette pieces, a simple green salad with a piquant dressing, and a full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon or other hearty red wine of choice.