Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cooking Italy-Pan Roasted Lamb with Juniper Berries

This was my first recipe from the new blogging group I joined, Cooking Italy. This recipe really took me out of my comfort zone. I have never cooked lamb and I've only eaten it once very recently. I had lamb chops at a Greek restaurant and was surprised at how much I liked it and how it really tasted much like steak. This recipe gave me another opportunity to use my new dutch oven and a jar of juniper berries I purchased awhile back. It really couldn't have been a simpler dish to make, throw all the ingredients in the pot and cook. I think I over cooked mine a bit. It was probably done closer to the three 2 1/2 to 3 hour mark. It was still delicious and tender although a little dry. This dish has rich depth of flavor and is definitely one I would make again. I couldn't find lamb shoulder but the butcher at Whole Foods helped me pick out bone-in lamb chops which he also cut into pieces as instructed by the recipe. Angela, the creator of Cooking Italy paired the lamb dish perfectly with Marcella's Sliced Potatoes Baked with Porcini and Fresh Cultivated Mushrooms, Riveria Style. A very rustic and earthy pairing and a perfect way to enjoy a fall dinner. Here is a link to my full dinner party menu.

Pan Roasted Lamb with Juniper Berries

2 1/2 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into 3-4 inch pieces, with the bone in.
1 tablespoon chopped carrot
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped celery
1 cup dry white wine
2 garlic cloves, mashed lightly with a knife handle, the skin removed
A sprig of fresh rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoons lightly crushed, juniper berries
Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill

1. Choose a heavy-bottomed or enameled cast-iron pot that will contain all the ingredients. Put all the ingredients in to it, cover the pot, and turn the heat on to medium low. Turn the lamb pieces over about twice an hour.

2. After 2 hours, the ingredients should have shed a considerable amount of juice. Set the pot's cover on slightly ajar, and continue cooking at slightly higher heat. Turn the meat from time to time. Ager an hour and a half more, the lamb should feel tender when prodded with a fork. If there is still too much liquid in the pot, uncover, raise the heat and reduce it to a less runny consistency. Taste the meat and correct for salt.

3. Tip the pot and spoon off as much of the liquified lamb fat as you can. Transfer the entire contents of the pot to a warm platter and serve at once.

Source: Marcella Hazan, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1992.


Maria Paray said...

Welcome to Cooking Italy!

You made this look so good I may try the lamb after all. I'm not a fan, but my husband loves lamb - I know he would really enjoy this.

angela@spinachtiger said...

You did a great job making this look good and sound good. I think the chops are a leaner than shoulder which may account for the dryness. The rusticness of this so appeals to me this time of year. I'm so glad you have joined us.

Melissa Clifford said...

That looks great! I haven't tried it yet, but am looking forward to it. Welcome to Cooking Italy!

Foodie with Little Thyme! said...

Looks great. I would like to try it. Great job pushing yourself outside of your box.

Velva said...

Your lamb looks delicious! Lamb is such under rated meat. Lamb is full of flavor and when prepared well, it is fabulous.

Thanks for sharing this great recipe.

Anonymous said...

Good for you! Stepping outside a comfort zone takes some doing! You did a great job, even if you didn't satisfy yourself. That's what makes us do it again...until we get it right! Welcome again!

Kayte said...

I love that you made something outside your comfort zone. I need to do that more often. I didn't do this one yet as it was outside my comfort zone food budget at the time, and probably still is, but thinking of saving it for a special occasion like Easter when I splurge a little. With two teenage boys eating us out of house and home, I have to budget in things like this as they vast quanities of anything I cook. LOL. Let's see, college is just 18 months away, perhaps when it is just the two of us. I like that you could substitute cuts that worked and that you would make it again, always a great recommendation!