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You’ve got to read Catherine Ryan Hyde’s book –Take Me With You. What a story.  From Amazon’s description: August Shroeder, a burned-out teacher, has been sober since his nineteen-year-old son died. Every year he’s spent the summer on the road, but making it to Yellowstone this year means everything. The plan had been to travel there with his son, but now August is making the trip with Philip’s ashes instead. An unexpected twist of fate lands August with two extra passengers for his journey, two half-orphans with nowhere else to go. What none of them could have known was how transformative both the trip—and the bonds that develop between them—would prove, driving each to create a new destiny together. Have a tissue handy at the end. It’s such a charming, sweet story. You’ll fall in love with the young boys, and fall in love with them again 10 years later.

One of my book clubs occasionally reads a kind of edgy book. This is one of them. By Mohsin Hamid, Exit West: A Novel is a book set in an age not dissimilar to our own and in current time, but something bad has happened in the world. Something never divulged, although symptoms of a civil war are mentioned. A unmarried couple, Nadia and Saeed, are given the opportunity (as others are, as well) to go through a door (this is the exit part of the title) and to another place in the world – it takes but a second – to go through the special door. They go to England (London), to a palatial mansion. Sometimes the power grid is sketchy. Another door. And yet another. And finally to Marin County (north of San Francisco). You follow along with the ups and downs of the chaste relationship of the two, this couple from a house to living on the streets. And the eventual dissolution of the relationship too. I wasn’t enamored with the book, but after listening to the review of it and hearing others talk about it, I suppose there’s more to this story than it might appear. Hope is the word that comes to mind. The book is strange, but it won the Los Angeles Times book award in 2017. It’s received lots of press. It made for some very interesting discussion at our book club meeting.

The Last Letter from Your Lover: A Novel by JoJo Moyes. Story: Jennifer Stirling wakes up in hospital, having had a traumatic car accident. She’s introduced to her husband, of whom she has no recollection, and is sent home with him eventually, to a life she neither remembers or embraces readily. But this is the life she was raised to have, so surely it must be worth living, underneath the strange, muted tones of her daily existence. Jennifer goes through the motions, accepts what she is told is her life and all seems to bob along well enough, except when she finds a letter that isn’t her husband’s handwriting, and is clearly a link to someone she has been involved with, but whom? London, France, Africa and America all come into play in this story of a woman piecing back together her life in effort to understand what she has lost, and what she threw away. There is a bit of a time-hop from 1964 to 2003. . . from a reviewer on amazon.  I loved this book from page one to the end. There’s some bit of mystery and you so get into the head of Jennifer Stirling. I could hardly put it down. Great read.

Francine Rivers, an author relatively new to me, but much admired, is most known for this: Mark of the Lion : A Voice in the Wind, An Echo in the Darkness, As Sure As the Dawn (Vol 1-3) It’s a trilogy. The first 2 books are about Hadassah, a young woman in the time of the Roman Empire. When Jerusalem was overrun and destroyed, the Christians still alive were sent off and away, separated and derided and abused. Hadassah was one of them. She’s a slave to a wealthy family and it takes 2 of the books to read before the son of the family finally realizes that he’s in love with Hadassah. If  you’re a Christian, you’ll learn a whole lot more about the time following Christ’s crucifixion, about the lot of the struggling Christian community. The 3rd book in the trilogy is about a gladiator who is part of book 1 and 2, but not a main character. You’ll learn about his life too, after he regains his freedom from the fighting ring and the battle of his soul. These books are a fabulous read. Can’t say enough good things about them all. I’ve never been a huge fan of old-world Roman Empire reading, but this one was altogether different. Very worth reading.

Amy Belding Brown wrote this book: Flight of the Sparrow: A Novel of Early America, a true accounting in 1676, of Mary Rowlandson, a woman who was captured by Native Americans.  Even before she was captured on a winter day of violence and terror, she sometimes found herself in conflict with her rigid Puritan community. Now, her home destroyed, her children lost to her, she has been sold into the service of a powerful woman tribal leader, made a pawn in the ongoing bloody struggle between English settlers and native people. Battling cold, hunger, and exhaustion, Mary witnesses harrowing brutality but also unexpected kindness. To her confused surprise, she is drawn to her captors’ open and straightforward way of life, a feeling further complicated by her attraction to a generous, protective English-speaking native known as James Printer. The story is riveting, and perplexing once she is traded back to her home. You’ll see a different side to the Indian problem back then and find yourself conflicted. An excellent read.

Taylor Caldwell was a prolific writer, and one I read when I was younger. She died in 1980, and this book, her last, Answer As a Man certainly delivers as her others did. All his life, Jason Garrity has had to battle intolerance and injustice in his quest for power, money, and love. His new hotel will give him financial security, the means to support a loving family and become an upstanding citizen. When family secrets and financial greed combine to destroy his dreams, his rigid moral convictions are suddenly brought into question. . . from Goodreads. Caldwell believed the banking industry was way too powerful, and often took aim at it, as she did in this book. It chronicles the life of a very poor, impoverished Irish immigrant to the U.S. He was an upstanding citizen, God-fearing, but maybe naive in some respects. Good book if you enjoy very deep character study.

Another book by Diney Costeloe, Miss Mary’s Daughter. When a young women is suddenly left with no family and no job or income, she’s astounded to learn that she’s actually a granddaughter of a “grand” family in Ye Olde England. She’s very independent (at least I thought so, for the time period), but is willing to investigate this new family of hers. There are many twists and turns – is she going to inherit the family home – or is the man who has been caring for the home and his daughter the logical inheritors. There’s a villain who nearly sweeps her off her feet, much intrigue from many characters. Well developed plot with a happy ending. A good read.

Celeste Ng is a hot new author. I read another of her books (see below) but this time I read Little Fires Everywhere. There are so many various characters and plots in this book, as in her others. This book focuses on a Chinese baby abandoned at a fire station and the subsequent court battle when the single mother surfaces six months later to try to reclaim her daughter from the family in the process of adopting her. Emotions well up, waxing and waning on both sides of the issue. You may even find yourself changing your own mind about the right or wrong of a child raised with a natural-born mother (albeit late to the raising) or the mother the child has known since near birth. Ng likes to write books with lots of grit and thorny issues. Although a good read, I liked Everything I Never Told You better than this one.

The Rent Collector by Camron Wright. Oh my. This book has so many layers: (1) the young, impoverished couple and their infant son who live, literally, in a dump in Cambodia and about the precarious structure, if you can even call it that, that comprises their “house” in the midst and perched on top of trash; (2) the woman who collects the rent (hence the title and yes, people have to PAY to live there); (3) the young son’s chronic illness; (4) how they make a living out of collecting and selling trash; and (4) the life saving grace and wisdom imparted by characters in the book as the young mother begins to learn to read. If you decide to read this book, please don’t stop at about page 15-20, thinking you just don’t know if you want to read about this. Please continue. It’s so worth it. Have a highlighter pen in your hand because you’ll find so many quotes you will want to remember. Believe it or not, there is also quite a bit in this about literature.

Recently finished C.J. Box’s book The Disappeared (A Joe Pickett Novel). I just love Box’s novels. They take place in present day semi-wild west, and chronicle the fish and game warden, Joe Pickett, as he unravels another crime in his territory. A woman has disappeared, and the governor has asked him to figure it out. He does, but the tale meanders through multiple layers of intriguing story. His books are riveting. Men and women enjoy his books – so if you have a fellow in your life or family that would enjoy an intriguing book (this is not espionage) then gift him one of Box’s books.

Also finished Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. About a dysfunctional family, through and through. I picked this up from amazon from someone who read the book, named “McReader,” and she says: “Set in the 70s, the story follows a Chinese American blended family in Ohio. When Lydia [the daughter] is found floating in the lake, her family is forced to analyze what put her there. Was it pressure from her family to succeed? Was it pressure to fit in? Was it a crime of passion or convenience? I was spellbound reading the last half of this book. I loved each flawed family member, especially Hannah,. While the story went where I hoped it would go, I was not disappointed at all with the progression. It was also quite insightful on the prejudices that society had about Chinese Americans still during that timeframe and how careful parents have to be to put their dreams onto their children.” Such a good book and definitely worth reading. Would be a good book club read. You’ll be hearing more from this author. Am currently reading her next novel, Little Fires Everywhere.

The Boston Girl: A Novel by Anita Diamant. A very, very intriguing book. The book is written from the voice of a Jewish grandmother as she tells her granddaughter the saga of her life starting about 1910, who struggles with her own individuality, with her domineering mother who never says a kind word to her. It’s certainly a coming-of-age story as she grows up, finds a job, makes friends, joins a literary girls club, moves out, but still suffers under her mother’s thumb and tongue. She becomes a reporter on a local newspaper, which opens her eyes to more of the world than she ever knew. She finally meets the right man (of course!) and she shares the stories about her life, and her friends and family members as she grows up, giving some sage advice along the way. Part of the time she’s talking to herself – to her young self  (really wanting to tell young Addie to keep on, forgive herself for her perceived transgressions, to live life, and experience the world).

One of the best books I’ve read in a long time – Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. Rivers is a prodigious writer of Christian fiction, and I’d never read anything by her until now. As I write this, I’ve already read this, another one (below) and just purchased the Kindle trilogy called Mark of the Lion (Vol 1-3) that I haven’t yet started. (Two of my friends have said the trilogy is her best.) Redeeming Love details the fictional story of a godly man, Michael Hosea, forging his way in the era of the Gold Rush. He’s “driven” to rescue a beautiful prostitute who lives and works her trade in a nearby town. The entire book is about the story, the rescue, and it parallels a bit of scripture about Hosea who rescues a prostitute names Gomer. You get into the heads of both Hosea and the prostitute, named Angel. We read this for one of my book groups. A great read.

As soon as I finished the above book I promptly visited my church library and found a whole shelf of Rivers’ books, and grabbed one called The Atonement Child. This book takes place in the 1980s or 90s, about a young college student who is raped. She was engaged to be married, was a stellar student. The book chronicles what happens to her when she discovers she is pregnant from the rape. Every possible thing goes wrong in her life. I don’t want to spoil the story if you’re interested in reading it, but I couldn’t put it down. I ended up spending a good part of a day plowing through it. You hear her inner voice (I’m guessing this is a common thread in Rivers’ books) from a Christian perspective. Lots of meaty issues to discuss in a book club if your group would be interested and willing to talk about rape, abortion, adoption and the thorny issues surrounding all of those things, but with a Christian bent, for sure.

The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen. It’s kind of amazing how many and varied plot lines can be created from events of WWII. This is another one, about a current day woman who finds papers in the attic, after her father’s death, with references to “the child.” She never knew her father could have had another child – could she have a step-sibling somewhere? Her father she knew, had been shot down over Italy, but he never talked much about it. But of course, she must go to Italy to find out about this “child.” The book flips back and forth from this daughter on the search, to her father during the war, all of it taking place in a very small town in Tuscany. It’s about the varied people she meets who want her to go away and not dredge up anything about the war years (are they hiding something, you question), about how much she loves the landscape, and some of the people. And about the intense love affair between the injured pilot and a caring woman of the village. Very charming story. I could almost smell the flowers, taste the olives, hear the bees flitting, and loved the prose about the simple meals that were described. I really enjoyed the book. Perhaps not enough meat for a book club read, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy reading it nonetheless.

Leaving Blythe River: A Novel by Catherine Ryan Hyde. Almost a page turner. When one uses the phrase “coming of age,” it usually means (I think) love and loss/boyfriend/girlfriend, and in this case it’s somewhat that way. When Ethan, a 17-year old boy and his mother come home unexpectedly to find dad and his young secretary in a compromising position, all hell breaks loose. Separation happens instantly and just as his father moves out, his mother has to go take care of her aging mother. Ethan’s too young to be left in the NYC apartment alone, so Mom sends son to the father who is escaping from the world in Wyoming, living in a primitive A-frame house, and continuing his daily 20+ mile running journeys. Ethan and his father are barely speaking. They live in the middle of nowhere. Ethan feels betrayed by his father in every possible way, and somewhat by his mother for forcing him to live with his father for a temporary period. Then his father doesn’t return one day from his run. The authorities do a cursory search, but they are under the impression the dad wants to “get lost” on purpose. Ethan, although he thinks he doesn’t care, really does. What happens next is best left to you reading this book. Very interesting people (kind of loners) enter the picture and off they go to search. So worth reading.

The Girl With No Name by Diney Costelhoe. What a good book. Perhaps you’ve read before about the huge numbers of German refugee children who were sent to England before Hitler closed down any exits. This is a novel about one particular young girl, who is devastated when her mother puts her on one of the boats. She ends up in London, in an orphanage kind of place, and is eventually placed with a childless couple. She speaks no English. They speak no German, but they manage soon enough. Lisa (who eventually becomes Charlotte) is so homesick. She’s bullied at school, because most people and children don’t want any Germans there. A boy steps up to protect her, and as she grows up, she’s attracted to him. She shouldn’t be – he’s also German and from her own home town. He’s not a good match for her. You live with her through the blitz during all those war years and during one attack, she’s badly injured and loses her memory (and no ID on her). Through a series of mishaps she ends up in a village far from London, with a spinster woman who does eventually come to love her very much – they name her Charlotte and Charlotte she becomes. She goes to school there, still longing, though, for her mother and brother and her London foster family too. Then when she’s 16 she returns to London to help at the orphanage where she was originally placed and tries to find her foster parents. The story goes on from there, with the boy/man who “wants” her, the bad boy, and a good boy/man she befriends in the village in the country. Eventually she regains her memory. SUCH a good read.

The Girl with Seven Names by Hyanseo Lee. If you, like me, know little about North Korea and how it came to be what it is today, you’ve got to read this book. It’s a memoir written by a young woman who escaped from North Korea about 9 years ago. Her journey – and I mean JOURNEY – is harrowing, frightening, amazing, heart-rendering all at the same time. She chronicles the lives of the Kims (Kim Il-Sung, Kim Jong-Il to current Kim Jong Un), shares the strict propaganda that surrounds every North Korean citizen, the poverty and hunger, as well as the underground black market for food and goods. It took her awhile to get from North Korea, to China and eventually to South Korea, where she currently lives. She’s well educated and speaks English quite well. She was invited to be a speaker at a TED talk – you know about those, right? TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a media organization which posts talks online for free distribution, under the slogan “ideas worth spreading.” I listen to them as  podcasts now and then. Always very educational, if sometimes over my head when it gets very technical. She works diligently for human rights now, doing her best to help other North Koreans escape. You owe it to yourself to read this book.

Also just finished reading The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian. Another WOW book. I’ve always liked the author – many years ago I read his book, Midwives and really liked it. Don’t confuse this book with the one I recently read, The Last Midwife: A Novel by Sandra Dallas that I reviewed recently. I think we read it in one of my book groups. He’s a brilliant writer, and this one has a lot of characters and twists. It’s a novel, but based on a lot of truth regarding the Armenian genocide. Most of the book takes place in Aleppo, Syria with some good Samaritan folk trying to help rescue people (mostly children) following the forced long marches the Turks made prodding the Turkish Armenians to exit their country. But it also jumps to near present day as a family member is trying to piece together obscure parts of her grandparents’ former lives there. She uncovers some hidden truths (many survivors of the genocide never-ever-ever wanted to talk about it) and a bit more about her Armenian heritage. A riveting book – I could hardly put it down. Lots to discuss for a book club read. I simply must read more of Bohjalian’s books (he’s written many).

The Good Widow: A Novel by Lisa Steinke. All I can say is “wow.” In a general sense, this book is based on the premise of The Pilot’s Wife. But this one has some totally different twists and turns. A young wife is met at the door by police, informing her that her husband has died in an auto accident. Then she finds out he died in Hawaii – not Kansas, where she thought he was, on business. Then she finds out there was a woman in the car. Then she meets the fiance of the woman passenger and the two of them embark on a fact-finding mission in Hawaii to discover the truth. Well, I’m just sayin’ . . . the plot thickens. And thickens. And thickens clear up to the last few pages. Hang onto your seat. A really, really good, suspenseful read.

The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelli Estes. What a WONDERFUL book. It opens up a shameful part of America’s past, but one you might not have heard about before this. In the late 1800s thousands of Chinese workers were brought to the West Coast to help with a variety of construction projects and a myriad of other things where laborers were needed. Many settled, married and made a new life for themselves. But suddenly the white population didn’t want them here anymore and they summarily ordered them ALL out of our country. This book chronicles a young Chinese girl, who was on a ship that was supposed to take her family to China, but the ship’s captain decided en route to dump them all overboard, to drown. The girl’s father knew it was going to happen and in order to save her, he threw his daughter off the ship as they were passing Orcas Island (in the San Juan Islands west of Seattle). She was saved. The book switches from that time to current time as a woman is rebuilding her family’s home on Orcas and finds a beautifully embroidered silk Chinese robe sleeve hidden under a stair step. The book is about that sordid past and the young girl’s descendents, and about the woman who is rebuilding. Stunner of a novel. Good for a book club read, I think. It has a reader’s guide at the back with good questions for book groups.

How It All Began: A Novel by Penelope Lively. I find it hard to describe this book – it’s wonderful. I loved it. But describing it is perplexing. The title relates to one of the characters, a woman of a certain age, who is mugged, and has to go live with her daughter and son in law for awhile since she’s stuck with crutches and has mobility problems. That starts the cavalcade of events that spread around her, with the characters. And she knows nothing whatsoever about them, hardly. They’re all somewhat inter-related (not much family, but mostly by circumstance) and they all get into some rather logical and some peculiar relationships. You engage  with each and every one of them; at least I sure did; and was trying to tell some of them to back away from what they were about to do. Or “be careful;” or “don’t go there.” That kind of thing. There is nothing insidious, no mystery involved – it’s all about these people and what happens to them. I was sad when the book was finished. The author, Lively, does add a chapter at the end – I wonder if it wasn’t part of the master plan – that kind of tidies up everything, and you get to see all of the characters move on with their lives, happy or not, but mostly happy. Really enjoyed the book. Am not sure it would be a good book club read, as the only thing to discuss are the characters themselves. Lively paints these characters well; you can just picture them as they get themselves in and out of relationship mischief.

 

Tasting Spoons

My blog's namesake - small, old and some very dented engraved silver plated tea spoons that belonged to my mother-in-law, and I use them to taste my food as I'm cooking.

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Posted in Lamb, on March 28th, 2018.

rolled_leg_lamb_herb_garlic_sauce

Uhmmm, mouth watering going on here as I look at this photo. This would make a great Easter dinner entrée if you are inclined to have lamb.

A few weeks ago I was at a cooking class with Tarla Fallgatter. I’ll be posting most, if not all, of her recipes from the class. Can’t wait to make some of the dishes myself. Including this one. I love lamb. I just don’t love the calorie count when I do have it. Obviously the wool-covered critters store up lots of fat amidst their meat, hence lamb, although it doesn’t look like it’s full of fat, it is! Darn.

Anyway, this recipe uses a boneless leg of lamb, butterflied. That means rolling it out and cutting butterfly slices all over the meat to make it a bit more flat. There’s a big hunk of the lamb leg that always sticks up high – – it needs to be butterflied and pounded some. If you’ve never done this before, you’ll see what I mean when you unroll that nice big boneless leg (Costco’s are a great price). Make some butterfly slices, then pound it some.

You make a lovely, big batch of herbs (Italian parsley, fresh mint leaves and fresh cilantro) and mix it with garlic, smoked paprika, salt and cayenne. Some oil is added to this mixture, then you pour off 1/4 cup of it to which you add sherry vinegar and more olive oil. That part is slathered all over the outside of the rolled and tied roast – but later. Meanwhile, you use the bulk of the herb stuff to rub all over the interior part of the roast, the part that will get rolled inwards. The roast is tied well with kitchen twine, then you slather on that saved bit of herb stuff.

rolled_leg_lamb_wholeTHEN, you put it in a plastic bag and chill it for at least 8 hours, or preferably 24 hours, so those herbs just permeate everywhere. Let it sit out for an hour before roasting, though. Into a 375°F oven it goes (in a roasting pan) and bake/roast for about 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until the interior temp reaches 125°F (rare to med-rare) or up to 135°F for medium to med-well. Personally I want it pink in the middle everywhere, so I’d be removing it at 125°F. So do start checking the temp after an hour to make sure you don’t cook it beyond your desired point. Remove from the oven and it gets tented for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, you put the roasting pan (roast has gone onto a cutting board and tented) and add wine and chicken broth to boil down a little bit. That little bit of stuff, with the pan juices gets added to the sauce that’s been kept aside. The lamb is carved into 1/2” thick slices (and then you’ll see all those beautiful swirly herbs rolled up inside). See photo. And then serve some of the herb sauce on the side, or spoon it right on top of the slice.

What’s GOOD: everything about this is good. Delicious. Fantastic in my view, but then I love lamb. I love cilantro and mint too. An altogether beautiful dish, excellent for a lovely spring dinner for guests (Easter). I’d serve it with some spring vegetables (asparagus?) and a casserole full of mashed potatoes, or au gratin potatoes, or sweet potatoes. But I prefer white potatoes with this.

What’s NOT: only that you need to plan ahead with this one – the roast needs to marinate for about 24 hours.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook 15/16 file (click link to open recipe)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Rolled Leg of Lamb with Herb Garlic Sauce

Recipe By: From a cooking class with Tarla Fallgatter, 2018
Serving Size: 12

4 pounds boneless leg of lamb — butterflied
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
HERB GARLIC SAUCE:
1 tablespoon cumin seed — roasted and ground (or use ground cumin)
1 1/2 cups Italian parsley
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 large garlic cloves — peeled
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1. SAUCE: This must be made ahead as it is inserted into the raw roast and rolled, then refrigerated for 8-24 hours. Place all the sauce ingredients into a food processor (EXCEPT oil) and process until a coarse paste forms. With the machine running, add 4 T of the oil. Transfer 1/4 cup of the sauce to a bowl, add vinegar and remaining 2 T oil. Set that aside.
2. 1-2 DAYS AHEAD: Lay meat flat and pat dry with paper towels. Trim any excess fat. If there are portions that are much thicker than others, butterfly even those small sections so the whole piece if more evenly flat.
3. Lightly pound the lamb with a meat mallet (flat side), if necessary so the meat is more evenly thick. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the lamb with 3/4 of the sauce (the larger portion). Starting at the short end, roll lamb up tightly. Tie the roast well, then rub on the remaining sauce set aside earlier. Wrap roast well in plastic wrap and chill at least 8 and up to 24 hours. Let stand at room temperature for one hour before roasting.
4. Preheat oven to 375°F. Unwrap lamb and transfer to a roasting pan. Roast the lamb until an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat reads 125° to 135°F depending on your choice of medium-rare to medium. This will take approximately 1 1/4 hours, but begin checking the temp earlier than that. Transfer meat to cutting board and tent with foil for about 20 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, add wine and chicken broth to the roasting pan and simmer until slightly reduced. Add the sauce that was set aside and mix. Slice lamb into 1/2″ thick slices, snipping away the twine as you go and transfer the meat to a heated platter. Add any juice from the cutting board to sauce. Serve lamb with the sauce.
Per Serving: 300 Calories; 19g Fat (59.4% calories from fat); 27g Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 73mg Cholesterol; 889mg Sodium.

Posted in Lamb, on June 9th, 2016.

quick_easy_lamb_moussaka

Do you happen to have a package of ground lamb in the freezer? Here’s a quick and easy dinner if you’ve also got some zucchini and cottage cheese. Oh, did I lose you there at cottage cheese? You’ll never know, hardly, that there’s cottage cheese in the topping. I promise.

If you’ve ever had moussaka, made the long, laborious way (making a sauce and with a lamb stew kind of thing, plus eggplant), then you know the deliciousness of it (and it’s a lot of work). It’s kind of like Moussaka is to Greece as lasagna is to Italy. They’re similar, although lasagna has pasta in it. This dish has almost no carbs, just meat, vegetables and cheese and dairy.  The limited carbs come from the cottage cheese (some), the yogurt or sour cream (some) and the tomato sauce (which is pure carbs because tomatoes are a fruit), though there’s only an 8-ounce can of the sauce in the whole casserole.

The other day I was looking up a recipe I did for my blog when it was brand-spanking new in 2007. And I started off the first paragraph talking about the dish being a casserole. And then (9 years ago) I swear the word casserole, in food circles, was an anathema. As if it was something bad that only your ancient great grandmother would make. I’m glad to see that casseroles are making a comeback – in fact I bought a cookbook a few years ago all about new-fangled casseroles.

zucchini_layer_moussakaThis casserole is a revision of a recipe I posted here, years ago also – Easy Ground Beef Moussaka. It’s a winner of a quick recipe, and one that I’ve made dozens of times over the years. You briefly cook the zucchini and put it in the bottom of a 9×9 baking dish, then you cook meat with onion, garlic and spices, then add in some canned tomato sauce. That goes on top of the zucchini. Then you make the super-easy topping (cottage cheese, yogurt or sour cream, egg, Feta, and Parmesan) and it’s spread on top with another sprinkling of Parm on the very top.

meat_cheesy_layer_moussakaSo THIS RECIPE, I just revised it a bit by using ground LAMB. The zucchini is the same (see picture above), the filling is the same (although I added in some different herbs and spices – I added some dried mint to the meat mixture which is different) and the topping is identical (see the uncooked dish at right). I should have invited somebody to come for dinner, because it made plenty for about 5 people, I think. A salad on the side and maybe some bread is all you’d need for a complete meal. I didn’t make a salad or have bread – the serving of this dish was ample for my dinner.

easy_moussaka_bakedThere at left is the dish just out of the oven. I actually turned on the broiler element for about 3 minutes to get those nice crusty bits on top. But the topping is all composed of dairy and a little bit of cheese, so you don’t want to overdo the broiling.

The dish comes together in about 30 minutes, I guess, maybe a little bit more, and it bakes for 30 minutes, so you could have it on the table in about an hour.

The lamb I had was not very lamb-y tasting. Why is that? I think it was Colorado lamb, not New Zealand. I don’t know if there is a difference. But the casserole was just wonderful anyway. Maybe it’s because I grew up on casseroles. My mother used to make them frequently. The original recipe for this came from one of my mother and dad’s friends, so it’s a old-old recipe.

What’s GOOD: well, I like casseroles to begin with. This is an easy one-baking-pan dish, though you will dirty up a couple of pans doing the prep for this. I love the combo of the ground meat layer, the zucchini and then the Feta-salty-creamy topping with the melted Parmesan on top. It’s comfort food, I’m sure. And I liked this one made with lamb rather than ground beef.

What’s NOT: if you don’t like lamb, well, you won’t like this. Most people like Feta. And I promise, even if you’re a cottage cheese hater, I doubt  you’d notice. You can barely see the curds of cottage cheese in the topping, but it’s blended in with crumbles of Feta and you could easily think that’s what you were eating.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook 15/16 file (click link to open recipe)

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Easy Ground Lamb Moussaka

Recipe By: one of my own, old recipes, revised
Serving Size: 8

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large zucchini — cut into 1/4″ coins
LAMB LAYER:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion — finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic — minced
1 pound ground lamb
1 tablespoon oregano — Greek if available (don’t use Mexican)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon dried mint flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt — or to taste
8 ounces tomato sauce
2 tablespoons red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
CHEESE LAYER:
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese — use full fat
1/2 cup Greek yogurt, full-fat — or sour cream
1 large egg
1/4 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese — grated
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese — for sprinkling on top of casserole

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a large skillet heat the olive oil, then add the finely chopped onion. Simmer for 4-6 minutes until the onion is wilted. Add the garlic and stir for about a minute. Scoop the onion mixture out and set aside.
3. To the same skillet add the ground lamb (usually there is sufficient fat – add a jot of oil if it’s particularly lean) and break up as it cooks through. Spoon out any fat and discard. When all the pink is gone, add the onion mixture back in, then the seasonings, tomato sauce and red wine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper to taste.
4. Meanwhile, in another skillet, heat olive oil. If the zucchini is really large, cut each one in half lengthwise and then slice. Add to skillet and cook over medium heat until the zucchini has taken on some golden color, stirring occasionally. Do not cook the zucchini through as it will cook further during the baking. When it’s cooked enough, pour the zucchini into 9×9 square baking dish (ceramic or glass).
5. Pour the lamb mixture over the top of the zucchini and spread out, completely covering the zucchini.
6. In a medium bowl combine the cottage cheese, yogurt, Feta, egg and one portion of the grated cheese. Stir vigorously until the egg has completely disappeared in the mixture. Carefully pour this mixture over the meat mixture, trying to get it all the way to the edges – but without picking up any of the meat. Use an offset spatula if you have one.
7. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake for 30 minutes, or until the top of the dish is golden brown. You may use a broiler at the last if you’d prefer, but watch it carefully as it will burn quickly.
8. Allow to cool at least 5 minutes, then serve portions, trying to keep the square portion intact. Serve with a green salad and bread on the side.
9. As it sits, the zucchini lets loose of some of its water, so If you have leftovers, try to drain off that liquid so the casserole isn’t water-logged. Reheat in a low oven for about 20 minutes, or heat individual servings in the microwave, but cover it as it will spatter.
Per Serving: 314 Calories; 23g Fat (65.8% calories from fat); 18g Protein; 9g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 77mg Cholesterol; 533mg Sodium.

Posted in Lamb, on May 24th, 2015.

braised_lamb_shanks_carrots

My daughter in law, Karen, is a wonderful cook. More than once my DH and I have been at their home and she served these delicious lamb shanks. Last time she made it was a few weeks ago and I just couldn’t eat it because of my food poisoning (sorry to keep bringing that up, but it really did disrupt my eating style, big time, though I’m fully recovered now), but I did eat some of the gravy and rice she’d served alongside. It tasted wonderful, and she mentioned where the recipe had come from, so I made this myself.

Whenever I go researching for a recipe, I rarely, if ever go to the Joy of Cooking. In years past, I used to, because that was kind of the cookbook bible I had in my younger years, when I owned 10 cookbooks total. But now, I’ve got umpteen hundred cookbooks and I either search online, or I go to my recipe program and look at what recipes I’ve stored in my to-try file (it’s called Internet Recipes there). So, for whatever reason, as I was beginning to eat regular food again, this lamb recipe kept coming up in my head. I figured that it meant I really should make it (the dr. said don’t eat something unless you actually crave it). And I know that a lamb and rice diet is something lots of veterinarians say is easily digestible. So, I bought the ingredients and I made it.

Karen calls this Moroccan Lamb Shanks, but that’s not what the recipe is called in the cookbook, Joy of Cooking. It’s called Braised Lamb Shanks, but it contains a variety of mild Moroccan spices (cinnamon, allspice, cumin, coriander and harissa). And the recipe calls for carrots and winter squash. I decided not to add the winter squash to it, just because, but I used rainbow carrots, and I added celery, which wasn’t in the recipe. And it made a marvelous gravy – according to the recipe, the collagen in the bones helps thicken the braising liquid (chicken stock and white wine), and it does. Not a lot, but it makes a slightly thickened sauce that’s perfect over rice or mashed potatoes, which is what sounded good to me.

In the Joy cookbook, Rombauer has you bake the lamb shanks for 1 1/2 hours at 300°. I took the lazy woman’s approach and did the whole thing in my small slow cooker (actually it’s my risotto cooker that has a slow cooker function). It was perfect for making 2 lamb shanks, which was more than enough for me for 2-3 meals. So, in the recipe below, I’ve included a paragraph at the bottom with the instructions for making it in the slow cooker.

The prep work really took very little time – I browned the lamb shanks for awhile, removed them, sautéed the thinly sliced onions, added in the garlic at the last (I used ample) and the spices. Then you add the liquids, some tomato paste, heat that up, then add back in the lamb shanks. I set it to cook on the slow setting for about 6 hours. Twice I picked up the lid and turned the lamb shanks over, because they weren’t submerged in liquid, only up about halfway. Then I added the carrots and celery, and let that cook for about 45 minutes to an hour and it was ready to serve. At the very last you add in some fresh lemon juice, some harissa and the final dish is sprinkled with freshly chopped mint. Done. And it was every bit as good as I remembered. The gravy is a lovely medium-brown color and drizzles well over whatever carbs you might want to serve with this.

As for the lamb shanks, I happened to go to Sprouts to buy my ingredients (I don’t often shop there, but I figured they’d have lamb shanks) and sure-enough, they had some grass fed lamb shanks. They were on the smaller side, but perfect for me. Lamb shanks aren’t cheap food anymore – each small one was about $4.00. If you’re feeding hungry teenagers they’d have wanted 2 of these smaller ones. But with lots of veggies and carbs to go with it, you might be able to get away with just one per hungry person.

What’s GOOD: several things: (1) the flavoring/gravy is divine; (2) I did it in a slow cooker, so it was super-easy; (3) it’s good enough to serve to guests, even. Good enough reasons to try it? I’ll be making this again.

What’s NOT: really nothing at all – if you don’t want to use a slow cooker, just bake in the oven for 1 1/2 hours; otherwise, set this for 6 hours and then add the veggies and plan for another hour and it’s ready to serve.

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Braised Lamb Shanks with Carrots

Recipe By: Adapted slightly from Joy of Cooking
Serving Size: 4

1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil — to brown the lamb shanks
2 tablespoons olive oil — to brown the onions (and you may not need it)
2 large onions — halved and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 Pinch ground cinnamon
1 Pinch ground allspice
2 cups chicken stock — or lamb stock or broth or water
1 cup dry white wine
1/8 cup tomato puree
2 cups carrots — sliced
2 cups winter squash — such as butternut or Hubbard, peeled and diced [I didn’t use this]
2 cups celery — chopped [not in original recipe]
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint — or 2 tablespoons dried mint
1 teaspoon harissa — [original calls for double this amount]

1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Trim most of the external fat from: lamb shanks. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Heat olive oil in large Dutch oven over high heat. Add shanks and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove the shanks and keep warm. Pour off the fat, then add additional olive oil, onions and garlic (at the last, so it doesn’t burn).
3. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook, stirring often, until the onions are quite soft, then sprinkle with all the spices. Stir to coat the onions, then add stock, white wine and tomato puree.
4. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Return lamb shanks to the pan, cover and bake until the meat is almost falling off the bone, 1-1 1/2 hours.
5. Add carrots and winter squash. Cover and bake until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes more.
6. Remove the meat and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Skim off the fat from the surface of the sauce. Add lemon juice, mint and harissa. (The collagen in the bones should produce a velvety slightly thick sauce. If it’s not thick enough, you can reduce it further, but don’t season any further until you’ve done that.) Taste and adjust seasonings. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables. Serve with orzo, rice pilaf, braised lentils or white beans. [I served it with mashed potatoes in order to enjoy more of the flavorful sauce.] SLOW COOKER: Brown lamb shanks, remove, then add onions. Cook for 4-5 minutes until softened, then add garlic for about a minute. Add seasonings, then chicken broth and all the spices and tomato paste. Stir well. Bring mixture to a boil, add lamb shanks and place in slow cooker for about 6 hours on low. Add carrots (and celery, if using) and cook another hour or so until carrots are just fork tender. Add lemon juice, harissa and sprinkle with mint when serving.
Per Serving: 268 Calories; 14g Fat (54.2% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 23g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 1722mg Sodium.

Posted in Beef, Lamb, on September 12th, 2014.

mini_greek_style_meat_loaves

Dinner needed in a hurry? This is a great make-ahead meal that requires very little time in the oven. The salad with cucumber provides some vegetables and the Greek tzasiki-type sauce on the meat just makes it perfect.

A couple of weeks ago I spent the weekend with daughter Sara and her family. And Sara wanted to spend part of Sunday doing some make-ahead meals for her family. Both of the kids are in sports, so weeknight mealtimes have to be jammed into what little time Sara can carve out of the late afternoon or evening. Sabrina drives herself mostly, but John the younger sibling is just 13, so he must be delivered and picked up and often John Sr. stays and watches his practices. Anyway, this is one of the meals we put together and Sara was kind enough to give me a portion so I could make it meat_loaves_ramekinsonce I got home. I baked mine in 2 ramekins (just easier for my single portion).

The recipe came from Cooking Light. Since making this Sara and I both agreed on a couple of things: (1) we would switch the amount of lamb and beef – we both wanted a more lamb flavor; (2) the baking time was not enough. So the recipe below has been changed. We also used full fat yogurt, but you don’t have to. We also thought that if the meat loaf was just slightly bigger, we could have eaten just one, so if I did this again, I’d do just that – I’d mound the meat loaves in the muffin tin or ramekin. You’d need to up the baking time if you did that. Lamb is rich, so halving the 2-meat loaf portion would cut down the calories significantly. The original recipe called for 10 ounces of beef and 5 ounces of lamb. That’s been switched, just so you know.

The other problem I had was that the meat loaf wasn’t really done well enough at 7 minutes baking and 3 minutes broiling. I did another 3 minutes of broil, and still the meat was really rare when I ate it (note blood-rare juice coming out of the left meat loaf in the photo). So I’ve upped the baking time to 9 minutes and 3+ minutes broiling. Do check the internal temp if you can – it should be about 160-165°F. The other things could be that pressing the meat into the muffin tin allows contact on the sides with the meat – maybe done that way it cooks in the shorter time. Just use a meat thermometer and gauge accordingly. In ramekins they didn’t quite touch the sides, so that may be why they weren’t quite so “done.”

The sauce was easy enough to make – it’s the standard kinds of ingredients for tzasiki sauce and was made ahead. On the recipe below I’ve also included instructions for freezing the meat – make them into mounds that will fit in a muffin tin or ramekin, place on a parchment or plastic wrap lined baking sheet and freeze, then package them for longer freezer storage.

If you added vegetables to the salad (it already has cucumber in it, but you could add bell pepper, for instance) you’d have a complete meal with the meat loaves, sauce and the salad.

What’s GOOD: these were tasty. Not necessarily off the charts, but not every meal can be that way, anyway. I would like them better next time with more lamb, hence the change in the recipe below. They were certainly easy to make and very quick for a weeknight dinner – providing the meat loaves were defrosted. The sauce is really good – don’t skimp on that part as I think it makes the dish.
What’s NOT: nothing, really. Altogether a good dish and easy.

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Mini Greek-Style Meat Loaves with Arugula Salad

Recipe By: Adapted slightly from Cooking Light, May 2013
Serving Size: 4

5 ounces ground sirloin
10 ounces ground lamb
1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/3 cup red onion — grated or VERY finely minced
4 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
3/8 teaspoon salt — divided
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 garlic cloves — minced
1 large egg — lightly beaten Cooking spray
YOGURT-FETA SAUCE:
1/2 cup Greek yogurt, full-fat — or use nonfat if preferred
2 ounces feta cheese — crumbled
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice — divided
SALAD & DRESSING:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups arugula leaves — [or combo with spinach]
3/4 cup cucumber — (1/4-inch-thick) diagonally sliced, seeded, peeled

NOTES: If you want to make these ahead to freeze, form into shapes that will fit into a muffin tin or ramekins, place on a plastic-wrap lined baking sheet & freeze solid. Then package and seal for longer-term storage. Sauce cannot be frozen. Each serving is 2 of these patties.
1. Preheat oven to 450°.
2. MEAT: Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon mint, 1 tablespoon thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, allspice, and next 3 ingredients (through egg). Press meat mixture into 8 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. (if you have more empty muffin cups, fill that half full with water during the baking.) Bake at 450° for 8-9 minutes. Turn broiler to high; broil 3 minutes. If top isn’t starting to brown, continue on broil for another minute. If using an instant-read thermometer, bake until the center of the meat loaf is about 160°-165°F which will still be just past pink in the middle. Cook longer if you prefer it more well done.
3. SAUCE: Combine yogurt, feta, 1 tablespoon juice, 1 teaspoon mint, and 1 teaspoon thyme in a mini food processor; pulse 10 times to combine.
4. SALAD: Combine 1 tablespoon juice, olive oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a bowl; stir. Add arugula and cucumber; toss.
Per Serving: 463 Calories; 34g Fat (66.4% calories from fat); 26g Protein; 12g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 147mg Cholesterol; 534mg Sodium.

Posted in Lamb, Soups, on October 23rd, 2013.

moroccan_lamb_chickpea_lentil_soup

After roasting, grilling or braising a leg of lamb, I never seem to know what to do with the leftovers. One night we had the lamb shawarma in a sandwich (flatbread) as we’d prepared it for the dinner for 8 we did. But I still had about a pound of meat remaining. What to do. Aha! Soup.

Going to Eat Your Books, I quickly found a recipe in my copy of James Peterson’s soup book, Splendid Soups: Recipes and Master Techniques for Making the World’s Best Soups. Peterson, indeed, makes some splendid soups in this book. None of them 2-3 ingredients, however. But I like that. I used his recipe as my inspiration. A few ingredients I didn’t have, so I just punted. I changed a bit the way it was made because I believe that the vegetables you put into the beginning of a soup give out and off all the flavor and texture they have to the broth. And rather than starting with fresh meat (like shanks or stew meat) I wanted to use the leg of lamb bones (that did have a bit of meat attached, but I’d cut off most of the meat – it was added in at the end of the soup making, since it was all cooked). And I prefer soups with more than just beans or lentils – I want more veggies.

So I threw out all those soft and mushy veggies used to flavor the broth and added new ones (onions, carrots and celery). It called for fresh ginger in the beginning too. And some saffron, cinnamon and turmeric. I added curry powder also. I’d saved the broth and drippings from the roasting pan when I made the lamb shawarma, so that went into the pot as well. The shawarma seasonings were somewhat similar to this soup, so I thought they added just a bit more oomph to the flavor.

What I had were tiny yellow lentils, so they went in after the broth was created, but after I’d strained out everything from the broth itself (the bones, ginger chunks, onions, celery, etc.) so it was just flavorful broth at that point. I added beef broth (using my Penzey’s soup base. Then after the lentils were done I added a CAN of chickpeas (drained and rinsed) and new vegetables. I also added a can of chopped tomatoes including the juices. That simmered for a short time, then I added the lamb, all cut up into cubes and some parsley. Full-fat (Greek) yogurt was added. My pot was simmering a bit too vigorously if you examine the photo carefully – so it separated some. It didn’t look very pretty, so I added 1/4 cup of heavy cream to it. Hardly made much of a difference in the consistency, actually. It probably needed more, but that’s all I was willing to add. And it was done. All I did was garnish it and serve in wide bowls along with some home made no-knead wheat/rye bread I’d made, nicely slathered with unsalted butter. Yum.

What’s GOOD: first, it was a good way to use up all that leftover leg of lamb meat. I was happy to have a good use for it. AND, I’m glad I now have a great recipe I can return to in the future! I don’t much like just pieces of leftover lamb heated up as a dinner entrée. The soup freezes well too. I now have 2 ziploc bags (2 servings each) in the freezer for some night when I don’t feel like cooking!
What’s NOT: only the time you have to commit to the long, slow cooking – at least a couple of hours, but it happily simmered away while I did other things in between times.

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Spicy Moroccan Soup of Lamb, Lentils and Chickpeas

Recipe By: Inspired by a recipe in Splendid Soups by James Peterson
Serving Size: 6

About 2 pounds leg of lamb bones (left over from cooking a leg of lamb)
3 tablespoons butter — or more if needed
1 medium onion — finely chopped
1 whole celery rib — finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
A 1-inch knob of fresh ginger, sliced in about 5-7 pieces
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch saffron threads
1 teaspoon curry powder
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth — or beef broth, or lamb broth
14 ounces garbanzo beans, canned — drained, rinsed
3/4 cup dried lentils
3 cups canned tomatoes — chopped
3 cups leg of lamb — (left over lamb meat cut from the leg)
VEGETABLES (added toward the end)
1 large onion — chopped
4 ribs celery — chopped
2 whole carrots — chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 cup cilantro — packed, finely chopped
1 cup Greek yogurt, full-fat
1/4 cup heavy cream — (optional)
Salt to taste Pepper to taste

Note: this soup can be made in a slow cooker; it just will take longer. Add the lentils about an hour before the soup is done along with the new vegetables.
1. In a 6-quart pot, lightly brown the lamb bones in butter. Remove lamb from pot. If the butter has burned, pour it out and replace it with fresh butter. Add the onions, carrots and celery. Stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes and then add turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, curry powder and saffron. Stir for 5 minutes more.
2. Add broth. Cover the pot and simmer gently for an hour. Remove the lamb bones and strain mixture to remove all vegetables, debris and foam. Wash the pot and pour the strained mixture back into the soup pot. Add the new vegetables (onions, celery and carrots), lentils and tomatoes and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils and vegetables are just cooked through.
3. Add the canned garbanzo beans and the left over lamb meat. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir parsley, cilantro and yogurt into soup. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into soup bowls, sprinkle with more cilantro.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Per Serving: 600 Calories; 33g Fat (45.8% calories from fat); 41g Protein; 46g Carbohydrate; 14g Dietary Fiber; 100mg Cholesterol; 583mg Sodium.

Posted in Lamb, on October 19th, 2013.

leg_of_lamb_schwarma

That’s a huge leg of lamb (8 1/2 pounds to be exact) we made for our Israeli dinner recently. The darkened patches are the spices that were used in the marinade. It’s oven baked. Since it’s not roasted on one of those unique vertical spits, it’s not an authentic Shawarma, but it’s close enough for government work, as they say. I suppose I should call it Shawarma for the home kitchen.

As I just mentioned a few days ago, my DH loves-loves lamb, and would happily eat it about once a week if I’d prepare it. But lamb is a very saturated fat – and I don’t just mean because it’s a red meat – I mean that lamb in and of itself is a very fatty meat, comparing it with beef or pork. It’s hard to realize it unless you read the nutrition info on lamb recipes, or even when you look at those cute little lamb chops in the grocery store, or at the slices of lamb cut from the above leg. Even when I cut up the meat from this meal later (as leftovers) I could hardly SEE any fat in it. But it’s there. Hence I buy leg of lamb very rarely. And not only because of the high fat, but also because I never seem to be very happy using up the leftovers. But oh, this time, I’ve got a winner of a recipe to share – in a day or two – a soup I made with the bones and lamb meat.

The recipe for this came from Jerusalem: A Cookbook. The authors provide lots of details about the origins of the spice mixture ((Lebanese) and about ways to serve the lamb.schwarma_spices

Aren’t the colors beautiful? Seeing this plate reminds me of our trip some years ago to Turkey (in 1997). We visited an underground ancient city in Cappadocia that provided a safe haven for Christians when the Romans were trying to arrest and kill them all. The Christians lived and hid there for months, some for years. There was even a morgue that could be sealed up with a stone (because of the smell, I suppose) because no one could go above ground during that time. Considering this was about 2000 years ago, they had a very sophisticated ventilation system too, so they wouldn’t be found from any little twists of smoke emanating through the rocks hiding the entrance at ground level. In one of the subterranean rooms was a kitchen and a big stone sat right in the middle of this room – the top was flat with a myriad of little 2-4 inch round indentations.  It was their kitchen spice cabinet, so to speak. When the underground caverns were discovered centuries later, there were still remnants of the herbs and spices in the little cups. At left you can see an example of one (from tryanythingonce blog). Those cups would have held all of the spices you see on the plate above. At right is a photo from the underground caverns (from the vagablond.com). The cavern we visited went down something like 8 stories below ground. It was an ever-winding spiral, down, down, down. Only the top 3 “floors” closest to the surface were open to the public and some of the connecting tunnels were very narrow and low. My DH, who is tall, got stuck in one of them as he bent over trying to move forward, and had to be pushed slightly from behind to get through the passage. Scary for him, as he gets claustrophobic. The picture here shows very wide and tall tunnels. Not so in the one we visited!

Anyway, back to this lamb. . . all those spices were toasted and ground up in my spice grinder. If you happen to look at the plate and wonder about the cinnamon – it’s from Penzey’s. They sell it in chunks like that – you can easily use a cinnamon stick – I just happened to have the chunks in my pantry. So the spices were combined with some peanut oil, salt, fresh ginger, garlic, cilantro and lemon juice. I spread it all over the outside of the lamb, puncturing numerous slits in the meat and pushing the mixture into them as well. Into a large plastic bag it went and refrigeratedlamb_shawarma_wet_rub

overnight. Most of the marinade stuck well to the lamb, so once it went into a baking pan (on a rack, my turkey roaster actually) it was easy to go right into the oven. The lamb was roasted at a low temp for about 5 hours (part of the time covered with foil). I allowed a little extra time because the lamb leg was bigger than the recipe indicated. The meat wasn’t falling off the bone, really, as some commenters mentioned on other sites where I found the recipe online, but it was quite tender.

shawarma_condimentsTraditionally this dish is served in either pita bread or some kind of soft foldable flatbread with condiments like chopped tomato, chopped cucumber, onions and definitely some sumac to sprinkle on top. I did the same.

We had fresh sangak bread on hand and I tore it up into hand-sized portions and placed the slices of lamb on the bread. The tray was passed at the table for people to add condiments of their choice. The recipe also mentioned a spread to put on the bread or pita – a mixture of canned tomatoes, harissa, tomato paste, olive oil, salt and pepper. So I spread some of that on each piece of sangak bread as it was served. The harissa added some heat – everyone noticed that. I liked it, actually. The only thing missing in my book was some fresh Greek yogurt to dab on the hand-sandwich. The recipe didn’t indicate it, so I didn’t put it out, but I think it would have been a nice addition.

What’s GOOD: loved the spices in this – warm and cozy. The lamb was not difficult, but was a bit time consuming and I needed to be near the oven periodically over the 5 hours to keep water in the pan below the meat (so it wouldn’t dry out). It made a gorgeous presentation. Meat was well done, obviously. Not dry, though and was still relatively tender. Made a very spectacular centerpiece of a meal.
What’s NOT: it’s a fair amount of work, as I mentioned above. If you have an Alligator 11-1/4-Inch Dicer with Collector, it’s quick work to make the condiments you see above. If you don’t own all the spices already, it could be a bit expensive to buy them all.

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Lamb Shawarma

Recipe By: From Jerusalem: A Cookbook, by Ottolenghi & Tamimi
Serving Size: 8

2 teaspoons black peppercorns
5 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon cardamom pods
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 whole star anise
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/2 whole nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon sumac
2 1/2 teaspoons Maldon salt — or regular salt
1 ounce fresh ginger — grated
3 cloves garlic — crushed
2/3 cup cilantro — chopped stems and leaves
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup peanut oil
5 1/2 pounds leg of lamb — bone-in (5.5 to 6.5)
1-2 cups of water added to the roasting pan to keep the lamb moist
CONDIMENTS:
2/3 cup chopped tomatoes
2/3 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup sliced onions
1 1/2 tablespoons sumac
Lemon wedges to squeeze over the sandwiches
PASTE FOR THE FLATBREAD:
2/3 cup canned tomatoes — drained, chopped
2 teaspoons harissa
4 teaspoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Pita pockets or thin soft flatbread for serving

1. Put the first 8 ingredients in a cast-iron pan and dry-roast on medium-high heat for a minute or two, until the spices begin to pop and release their aromas. Take care not to burn them. Add the nutmeg, ginger, and paprika, toss for a few more seconds, just to heat them, then transfer to a spice grinder. Process the spices to a uniform powder. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in all the remaining ingredients, apart from the lamb.
2. Use a small sharp knife to score the leg of lamb in a few places, making 2/3-inch-deep slits through the fat and meat to allow the marinade to seep in. Place in a large roasting tin and rub the marinade all over the lamb; use your hands to massage the meat well. Cover the tin with foil and leave aside for at least a couple of hours or, preferably, chill overnight.
3. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Put the lamb in the oven with its fatty side facing up and roast for a total of about 41/2 hours, until the meat is completely tender. After 30 minutes of roasting add about a cup of boiling water to the pan and use this liquid to baste the meat every hour or so. Add more water, as needed, making sure there is always a little in the bottom of the pan. For the last 3 hours, cover the lamb with foil to prevent the spices from burning.
4. Once done, remove the lamb from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Per Serving: 756 Calories; 59g Fat (69.9% calories from fat); 46g Protein; 11g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 170mg Cholesterol; 856mg Sodium.

Posted in Lamb, on October 13th, 2013.

rack_lamb_ancho_blackb_port_sauce

The cooking class I went to recently was all about SAUCES. We had 4 sauces altogether: two on meats (pork tenderloin and this lamb), one on a chicken breast, another on salmon, plus a chocolate caramel sauce on a dessert. And none of them was ordinary. They all started from some basic sauce, but each had something unique or different about them. That’s why I took the class!

Do you ever eyeball those lovely lamb racks at Costco? Or the frozen ones at Trader Joe’s? They’re pricey, no question, but for a special occasion, I’ll splurge and get one. My DH really loves rack of lamb and I don’t fix it anywhere near often enough for him! Maybe twice a year. I think the ones from TJ’s already have a rub or herbs on them – you won’t want to buy that as this recipe has a light flavoring to put on it as well. But this recipe is all about the sauce.

Ancho chiles are a favorite of mine because they are mild. They impart lots of flavor, but not much heat. Now occasionally you may find one with some heat, but usually not. Anchos are dried poblano chiles, same thing. At left you can see the dried anchos (thanks to photo at Freida’s Produce). At right is a photo of a fresh poblano. We can buy them fresh at almost any grocery store here in California.

The lamb is rubbed with a mixture and allowed to sit out at room temp for about 45 minutes; otherwise, make it several hours ahead and just put it in the refrigerator until 30 minutes or so before you’re ready to bake. The lamb is browned well on as many sides as you can manage (they’re a bit awkward to brown, I admit), then place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast for about 15-20 minutes. They also need to rest for 5-8 minutes afterwards to let all the juices re-absorb before you cut them into little ribs and serve.

Meanwhile, you make the sauce. Have everything all ready to go – once you start the lamb browning and baking, you’ll want to be on a time line. Have your meal all ready (except plating) and do serve this with some kind of carb so you can soak up any errant sauce. You’ll want to get every bit of it! Anyway, the ancho chiles need to be soaked (do this ahead), then they’re whizzed up in the food processor with some of the soaking liquid. It makes a puree that gets added to the sauce later on.

The  usual flavor mixture starts with celery, carrots and onion, then peppercorns, port wine, red wine, cranberry juice concentrate (great flavor), the ancho puree, some brown sugar and chicken broth. You boil it until it’s reduced by half, then you season it and add fresh blackberries. At the very last minute you add a couple T. of unsalted butter and season it if needed. Serve with that carb, and garnish with at least one pretty blackberry. This makes a fairly thin sauce – if you want something thicker, remove a bit of the liquid, cool and add some flour. Do this after you’ve reduced the liquid by half.

What’s GOOD: Well, the sauce first and foremost. It has wonderful flavor. If you enjoy lamb, this will be a fabulous meal.
What’s NOT: the sauce does take a bit of time to make – this would be a special occasion kind of meal.

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Rack of Lamb with Ancho Chile Blackberry Port Sauce

Recipe By: Phillis Carey cooking class, 9/2013
Serving Size: 8

LAMB:
3 pounds racks of lamb — (two 1 1/2 lb racks)
4 cloves garlic — minced
2 tablespoons cilantro — chopped
1/4 cup grapeseed oil — (or vegetable oil)
ANCHO PUREE:
3 whole ancho chiles — (dried pasilla)
3 cups boiling water
1 teaspoon minced garlic
PORT SAUCE:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter — divided use
2 celery stalks — finely diced
1 medium carrot — finely diced
2 small yellow onions — finely diced
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 cup Port wine — (use Ruby port)
1 cup red wine
1 cup cranberry juice concentrate
1/2 cup ancho chile puree (recipe included here)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup blackberries — fresh (remove 6-8 of them for garnish)
Salt

1. LAMB PREP: Unwrap lamb and pat dry with paper towels. Combine the garlic, cilantro and oil, mixing to form a paste. Rub all over the lamb and let stand at room temp for 45 minutes, or cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
2. ANCHO SAUCE: Combine the ancho chiles and water in a small bowl and let stand 1 hour. Drain well, reserving the soaking liquid. Remove the seeds and stems and puree in a food processor with the garlic and about 1/2 cup of the liquid, or more if needed.
3. PORT SAUCE: Melt HALF the butter in a medium non-reactive saucepan over medium heat. Cook the celery, carrot, and onions until soft. Add the peppercorns, port, red wine, cranberry juice concentrate, ancho puree, brown sugar, and stock and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half. Strain into a clean pot, add the blackberries, and cook over medium heat until the blackberries are warmed through. You may crush them with the back of a fork if preferred. Season with salt, to taste. Add the remaining butter in little pieces and allow it to melt without bringing it to a boil. The sauce is on the thin side – if you prefer a thicker sauce, remove a little bit of the sauce after you’ve reduced it by half, allow it to cool and shake it up in a sealed jar with about a T. of flour. Add into the sauce and cook for 3-5 minutes before finishing with the butter.
4. LAMB ROASTING: Preheat oven to 425°F on convection/bake if it’s available. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the lamb racks with salt and pepper and brown them on all sides, fatty side first. Transfer lamb to a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 120°F. If you prefer it medium, cook it until it reaches 125°-130°. Remove pan from oven and tent with foil, allowing it to rest for 5-8 minutes before cutting the chops individually and serving onto hot plates with a fresh blackberry for each serving. Do serve with a carb (rice, mashed potatoes, polenta or pasta) to soak up the sauce.
Per Serving: 735 Calories; 55g Fat (72.9% calories from fat); 23g Protein; 23g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 116mg Cholesterol; 1197mg Sodium.

Posted in Lamb, Pasta, on May 27th, 2013.

greek_lamb_ragu

I’ve re-named this dish slightly from the original recipe over at Food52. I didn’t have orzo pasta for one thing, and I thought describing it as a Ragu might give you a better idea of what it is. And you just need to know that this is fabulous. Absolutely drop-dead fantastic. If you enjoy lamb (ground), and pasta, with Feta, lemon and Kalamata olives, well this is right up your alley.

You’ve heard it here before, that when I see other bloggers use superlatives when they describe a dish, I pay attention. Not only did the originator, Emily at fiveandspice wax glorious about it, but Amanda & Merrill at Food52 did too. That was enough for me to decide to make it. What clinched it was seeing a package of ground lamb at the market and that was that. The original called for fresh spinach. Well, I had arugula instead, but I doubt that would have made much of a taste difference. And, as I mentioned above, I used different pasta (farfalline instead of orzo). The original title is “Greek” Lamb with Orzo. The Greek part is all the Greek-style additions: Feta, olives, lemon juice, oregano, but otherwise it’s an Italian style ragu. The back story of the recipe is just the kind of history I love. The recipe came from Emily’s mother, from a magazine, and it was a family favorite. Here’s what she said: It was also the recipe she sent to each of us [kids], successively, when we needed something easy but impressive to cook for friends in college. It’s still one of my favorite meals, and a wonderful way to easily serve a crowd. Of course, as I’ve evolved, my lamb with orzo has evolved as well, gathering additional ingredients and spices like a glacier gathering stones. . . . I loved that last phrase Emily wrote – gathering ingredients and spices like a glacier gathering stones. I think Emily needs to be a writer . . .

The sauce is relatively easy to make – lamb browned, most of the fat drained, onions and garlic added, then tomatoes, seasonings (including some cinnamon and ground coriander, which are different). The pasta is made and tossed with some oil and lemon juice. When you spoon the ragu on top of the pasta you garnish with Feta cheese crumbles and Kalamata olives. Done. Serve.

What’s GOOD: I refused to put down my spoon until every single morsel was slicked off the plate. Does that tell you how good it was? The other great thing? One pound of lamb makes enough sauce to serve 8, supposedly. Hungry eaters? Well, maybe 6 then, but it’s very filling and comforting food. A definite make-again dish. My DH thought it was fabulous too. It’s going onto my Carolyn’s Favs list, in case that is any additional motivation for you to make this!
What’s NOT: nothing, other than you will dirty up a fair number of dishes, pots and pans in the making of it. Worth it, but then I don’t wash the dishes, my darling DH does. He did complain a bit.

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“Greek” Lamb Ragu on Pasta

Recipe By: Food52
Serving Size: 8

1 pound ground lamb
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion — finely chopped
6 cloves garlic — sliced thinly
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
28 ounces whole tomatoes — drained and smooshed with your hands
14 ounces canned tomatoes — chopped/diced
5 ounces fresh spinach — chopped [I used arugula]
1 pound pasta — orzo suggested [I used farfalline, and I used 3/4 pound]
2 cups chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup lemon juice — freshly squeezed
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper — to taste
1/4 cup kalamata olives — pitted and finely chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese — crumbled [I used more]

Note: If you have hungry young people, maybe you’ll use all the pasta – I think 3/4 pound of pasta is sufficient for the volume of sauce. I also used more Feta than indicated.

1. In a good sized Dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pan, heat the one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat until it is shimmering. Add the lamb and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a good grinding of black pepper. Cook, stirring to break it apart, until it is nicely browned. Remove the lamb with a slotted spoon and drain all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.
2. Return the pot to the stove top and add the onion and garlic (still over medium-high). Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are softened and golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the spices (cinnamon, oregano, cumin, coriander, and red pepper) and cook until they start smelling extremely toasty and fragrant (1-2 minutes). Then, stir in the smooshed tomatoes.
3. Cook the smooshed tomatoes in the spices, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Then, add the can of diced tomatoes and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
4. Add the cooked lamb back to the pot, give a good stir, then cover the pot and leave it to cook, stirring from time to time, for 20 minutes. At this point, stir in the fresh spinach and cook just a couple more minutes until the spinach is wilted. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste (keeping in mind you’ll be sprinkling just a touch of feta and olives on, which will add to the saltiness).
5. While the lamb and tomatoes are simmering together and marrying their flavors, bring a large pot of well-salted water (it should taste like sea water, basically) to a boil. Add the orzo and cook until al dente, about 7 or 8 minutes, usually. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.
6. Drain the orzo. Toss the orzo with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the lemon juice, and all of the parsley, adding a bit of pasta water at a time, if you feel it needs additional liquid.
7. Spread the orzo out on an enormous serving platter. Spoon the lamb and sauce all over the top, then sprinkle with the feta and chopped olives. Pass the dish around the table and relax. A good red wine, on the dry side, is a highly recommended companion here.
Per Serving (you do pour off excess fat, so this is a bit high): 513 Calories; 24g Fat (41.7% calories from fat); 21g Protein; 55g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 50mg Cholesterol; 366mg Sodium.

Posted in Grilling, Lamb, on January 7th, 2013.

lamb_chops_cherry_marsala_sauce

What a special treat – loin lamb chops grilled and served with a sauce (dried tart cherries, rosemary, dry Marsala wine, shallots and butter). All of it delish.

Visiting Costco recently I noticed a gorgeous package of 7 lamb chops. Little things, beautifully trimmed, ready for the grill. The recipe came from the New York Times, but I’d read about it in my favorite cookbook, The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century, by Amanda Hesser. This is her recipe that was published in 2001. A winner.

It took a few minutes to make the sauce, and my DH did the chops on the outdoor grill. The sauce has a bunch of ingredients, but it wasn’t difficult – chopped shallot, garlic, fresh rosemary, some chicken broth, the dry Marsala, salt and pepper, plus some unsalted butter and oil. Have all the remainder of your dinner all ready to go so when the chops are done and the sauce is thickened just so, you’re all ready to serve it!

What’s good: the meat was delicious – tender and juicy – and the sauce was unusual (from the tart cherries) but complemented the meat perfectly. It would make a lovely company meal.
What’s not: nothing at all.

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Lamb Chops with Cherry Marsala Sauce

Recipe By: Adapted slightly from New York Times, 2001 (Amanda Hesser)
Serving Size: 4

2/3 cup dried tart cherries
8 lamb loin chops — about 1 inch thick (about 1 pound)
salt and freshly ground pepper — to taste
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup shallot — finely chopped
2 cloves garlic — minced
4 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2/3 cup Marsala wine — dry if you can find it

1. Place dried cherries in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let rest for 15 minutes, then drain. Pat lamb chops dry with paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high flame. Add oil and sauté chops for 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium rare, swirling pan occasionally to make sure chops stay in contact with oil. Transfer chops to plate and tent with foil.
2. Turn off flame under skillet. Wipe with paper towel (lightly and carefully, so you don’t burn yourself—it doesn’t need to be oil-free) and return to medium heat. Melt butter in pan and sauté shallots until just tender, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning. Add garlic and rosemary to skillet and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add broth and Marsala to skillet. Stir in cherries and scrape up any browned bits. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until sauce is slightly reduced and thickened.
3. Divide lamb chops between two plates. Spoon sauce and cherries over and around chops. Serve.
Per Serving: 832 Calories; 64g Fat (70.7% calories from fat); 35g Protein; 25g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 156mg Cholesterol; 125mg Sodium.

Posted in Lamb, on November 18th, 2012.

lamb_shanks_garlic_madeira_gravy

It seems like lamb shanks are a real treat. You don’t see them at Costco, and rarely at a traditional grocery store, either. I never seem to think of making them, although my DH will order them at a restaurant any time he sees them on a menu. The day I made these it was rainy and almost stormy, certainly a fall-like day, so these just sounded so “right.”

Sometimes when lamb is cooking, it isn’t very appealing to me. The smell. I suppose that’s the part that’s almost like mutton. It must be the fat, which has a distinct taste. So I decided I’d make this in the pressure cooker. That way I wouldn’t have to hover over it so much or smell it all that long, either. I’d found a recipe over at www.food.com, and it was really quite easy.

The lamb shanks were well-browned in a skillet first (at least that’s how I did it) in a bit of grapeseed oil. A whole bunch of whole garlic cloves were added later and sizzled just until they were light golden brown. Into the pot went chicken broth, Madeira (the original recipe called for Port, but I didn’t have any), dried rosemary, a bit of tomato paste, salt and pepper. Then the lamb shanks. That’s it. It rattled away for 35 minutes while I did other things. I made a green salad and some steamed broccoli and cauliflower too.

Once the meat was cooked, and the pressure released, I removed the shanks and to the small amount of liquid in the pot (which contained a lot of fat, I’m certain) I added a bit of fig balsamic vinegar. Probably plain balsamic would work too, but I thought a fruity balsamic would enhance the flavor a bit more. With the left overs I poured the sauce into a container, expecting I’d be able to remove the fat. There wasn’t any. I suppose that means the sauce was kind of homogenized, so it didn’t separate. Serve this on heated plates and drizzle the gravy on top and let it pool around the shank. You might want some bread too, to soak up any of that very tasty, garlicky, boozy gravy. Just sayin’.

What’s good: how easy it was to make – the pressure cooker just got dinner on the table in a bit less than an hour. The meat was tasty and meltingly tender. The gravy made itself, really – I didn’t have to reduce it at all – I merely added the balsamic vinegar and it was done. Easy meal beginning to end.

What’s not: if you watch calories and fat, well, you may want to give this one a miss. I was astounded at the statistics in this dish, although I’ll say in my own defense, there probably isn’t more than about a heaping 1/4 cup of meat on a lamb shank. Well, at least the ones we had were quite stingy with the meat. But that made each bite worth savoring.

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Lamb Shanks With Garlicky Madeira Gravy – Pressure Cooker

Recipe By: Adapted from a recipe on food.com
Serving Size: 2
NOTES: You could easily cook this on the stove top – for about 2 1/2 hours, covered, adding more liquid as needed. Don’t allow pan to dry out. The fat didn’t separate when I made this – perhaps the mashed garlic and tomato paste allowed it to homogenize.

2 pounds lamb shanks
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
10 whole garlic cloves — peeled and left whole
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup Madeira — or Port
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar — fruit type (like fig or orange)

1. Trim excess fat from the lamb shanks and season with salt and pepper.
2. Heat the oil in the pressure cooker. Add the shanks and brown on all sides. (I did this in a wide nonstick skillet).
3. When the shanks are completely browned, remove to a plate and set aside. Add the garlic cloves and stir quickly until they are lightly browned but not burned.
4. To the pressure cooker add the stock, Madeira, tomato paste, and rosemary, stirring so the tomato paste dissolves. Add lamb shanks.
5. Close the pressure cooker and bring up to full pressure (15 pounds).
6. Reduce heat to stabilize pressure and cook for 35 minutes.
7. Remove from heat and let pressure release naturally.
8. Remove the lamb shanks, set aside and cover loosely with foil.
9. If you have a gravy separator (and have the time) allow gravy to sit for 10 minutes so you can drain off the tasty gravy without all the fat. If liquid is more than about 1/2 cup, simmer at a low boil until the mixture has reduced and slightly thickens.
10. Add balsamic vinegar, stir, then mash the garlic cloves with a spoon.
11. Serve the sauce over the lamb. If desired, sprinkle the top with some grated orange peel.
Per Serving (these numbers astound me – it must assume there was a lot more meat on the shanks than we had – or maybe there is something wrong with the numbers – I’m glad I only ate a few bites of it!): 1071 Calories; 68g Fat (62.0% calories from fat); 86g Protein; 8g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 299mg Cholesterol; 947mg Sodium.

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