Thursday, March 25, 2010

Poitrine d'Agneau

I was attracted to this totally bizarre cut of lamb by a sign on the superbutcher's window advertising it for 1 euro/kilo. It turned out that that price was only if you bought 3 kilos or more, but it was still incredibly cheap. It's lamb ribs, but with the breast attached. I asked them how to cook it and they were vague-- on the barbecue, maybe, or in the oven. They cut it in half lengthwise, wrapped it up, and I was on my way. I spent quite a while researching recipes but didn't find anything too compelling-- a lot of people seem to ask their butchers to bone the meat, so that they can stuff it, but I hadn't done that, and now my meat was in two long pieces anyway. Most of the recipes called for a slow braise, after which you discard the liquid that's now full of accumulated lamb fat, and then a dry roast-- I decided to follow this basic process.

You'll need:
1kg poitrine d'agneau
1 onion, peeled and cut into eighths
8 cloves garlic, unpeeled but crushed
1 dried red chili
1t coriander seeds
1t cumin seeds
1t fennel seeds
3 bay leaves
1 preserved lemon
1T harissa or other chili paste

Cut as much fat off of the lamb as you can. Place onion, garlic, chili, coriander, cumin, fennel, and bay leaves in a large pot. Place ribs on top of vegetables and add salt and pepper. Add water to cover lamb and place in a low oven (145C/300F) for three hours.

Let lamb cool in liquid, then drain, discard liquid, and refrigerate lamb overnight. The next day, make a paste of chopped preserved lemon and harissa and spread over lamb. Place lamb in a baking dish and roast at 450 degrees until well browned, about 1 hour.

You can serve this as ribs, but I pulled off the meat and made a sandwich with some more harissa, some chopped preserved lemon and mint, and some of the tasty roasting grease to moisten things up. The resulting meat is delicious-- a perfect textural combination of soft braised insides and crispy incredibly flavorful outside.

No comments:

Blog Widget by LinkWithin