Two of the reason why we bought our cottage on the edge of nowhere was that the house was in range of the Internet and that our neighbor had sheep. Later on we found out that he had just enough lambs each year to feed himself and his two daughters’ families! By that time it was too late as we had started our long renovation of the house. We kind of love the place for other reasons too. However, I can’t help thinking how great it would be if we could get lamb meat that was that ultra-local. My neighbor doesn’t help as he keeps telling me about all the treats he’s been cooking over the winter. For example he makes slow cooked roasts, tasty stews and he salts and dries the leg of lamb (lammfiol). Sigh! Anyway I have to say I like his stories, they are inspiring. So in the end I’m very happy and just up the road from us I can get fresh eggs and chicken. And in my garden I grow flowers and vegetables.
Read the rest of the post and get my Lamb Shoulder recipe at Honest Cooking.
This summer we went to a great barbecue in one of our friend’s lovely garden. We all (about 60 people) brought our favorites to have on the grill and the hosts served us with lots of joy and a great bean salad. The evening started with some drops of rain but that didn’t really bothered anyone. Everyone was busy making fires and preparing for their treats. Eventually the sun showed up, just in time for us to sit down in the grass and be able to really enjoy the evening.
for the patties
0.4 kg (almost 1 lb) minced lamb or beef
1-2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
¼ cup (50 ml) milk
salt and pepper
10 black olives
one or two shallots
2 gloves garlic
1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
Mix together the minced meat together with the egg yolk, breadcrumbs and milk. Slice the olives in small pieces and add them to the mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Let the mixture rest for at least an hour in the fridge. Chop the shallots fine. Sauté with butter on low heat until soft. Heat up a frying pan with some olive oil and sauté the mustard seeds with some chili flakes. When they start to pop, lower the heat and add squeezed garlic and rosemary. When they start to get color its done. Let the shallots and the mustard mixture cool before adding them to the patties batter. Cut up the feta cheese in pieces. Start to form the patties and place some feta in the middle. Wet your hands in between each pattie, that will make them easier to form!
Now they are ready for a barbecue with a fine mesh. Please don’t grill them over too high a heat, that will only make them dry and boring instead of juicy and tasty.
These patties also work with brown rice and sautéed bok choy (Chinese cabbage).
In the middle of cooking I realized that white wine wouldn’t be the best for this meal. I turned off the heat and ran down to the wine shop asking for an earthy and hearty red for my lamb stew with anchovies. We started to discuss different options when the wine guy suddenly asked me if I had already started cooking. Until then I hadn’t realized that my clothes had a very strong smell of cooking!
for the stew
1 lb lamb (shoulder or any other piece with bone)
2-4 gloves of garlic
red chilies, fresh or dried
1 big onion
rosemary (dried or fresh)
some warm stock (I used my own stock made from lamb bones )
for the stock
bones and the parts you don’t want to be in the stew
2-3 garlic, chopped
chili, fresh or dried, chopped
herbs (rosemary,thyme or sage)
half an onion
whole pepper corns
Trim any excess fat and bones from the meat. Cut the rest of the meat into mouth size cubes. You will only use the bones and the fat for the stock. Keep the rest of the meat cool for later.
It’s a little hard for me to describe how I make a stock as it always end up different. Its really depends on what I have at home. Sometimes I add carrots, parsnips, dried and soaked shiitake mushrooms, dill or wine, etc etc. So what I will describe here is my basic recipe…
To make the stock, start by heating up a pan with olive oil. On high heat sauté the bones with chili, chopped garlic and onion. Sprinkle herbs before covering with water. Add salt, pepper and bay leaves. Bring to boil on high heat, then reduce heat and cover partially. Let it simmer for about an hour until the stock is reduced and flavorful. Strain stock into a bowl. Keep warm for use in the stew, otherwise cool and store in a refrigerator.
Now its time to make the stew. Heat up a sauté pan with some butter and sauté the lamb cubes on high heat on all sides for about 3-5 minutes. Lower the heat and start feeding the meat with chopped garlic, chili, anchovies and rosemary. The anchovies will melt completely in the pan and give the meat and sauce an excellent taste. Spoon over some warm stock now and again. The meat should not be bathing in stock, just make sure it never gets too dry.
Chop the onion into rings. In a separate pan, sauté the onions in butter (I use a lot) on very low heat until soft. Put aside.
When the lamb is ready (between1-2 hours) feed with more garlic and rosemary and add the onions and the rest of the stock. If necessary season with salt and pepper. (This is also a good time to let the stew rest while you go get the wine.) Before serving, let it cook for about 5 minutes. I normally serve the stew together with sautéed collard greens, baked potatoes and parsnips (and of course with a matching red wine).