Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Fall Has Fell: Braised Lamb

My writer friend Michel and I used to walk together before she got a real job. One day I went over to pick her up for our regular constitutional and, on opening her front door, was bowled over by the amazingly sensuous aroma coming from her kitchen. Now, this woman was a professional cook in a previous life and has major chops with a Viking. (Amazingly, her husband doesn't seem to mind!)

I begged her to give me the recipe, and the other night I made it using a lamb shoulder from our lamb share. Again, the aroma was a knockout and it killed with its huge flavor and richness, especially because it was made with homegrown tomatoes and peppers. All that's required to make it a dinner party staple is a simple green salad and a side of polenta. I guarantee your friends and family will be fighting over who gets the last bits.

Michel's Braised Lamb Shoulder

1 lamb shoulder roast
1 med. onion, coarsely chopped
1 med. red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 pasilla, ancho or poblano pepper, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tsp. whole cardamom seeds
2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 c. prunes
1 c. chicken stock
15 oz. can diced tomatoes
Zest of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In medium hot braising pot, brown shoulder in olive ol; salt and pepper each side. After first side of lamb is browned, add cumin and cardamom seeds to the oil around the lamb and stir to toast. Add garlic and onion, stir until golden. Add peppers and stir until softened. Add canned tomatoes, stock and prunes and stir. Cover braising pot and place in middle of preheated oven. Simmer in oven at least 3 hours.

Remove lamb from pot. Cover and hold on heated platter. Skim fat from liquid in pan and bring to boil to reduce. Season to taste and pour over lamb.

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