I think this is the second time I’ve ever made lamb. This was really good!
4 lbs lamb breast, separated into two pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried Italian herbs (oregano, thyme, basil)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1/2 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley, minced
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
- Whisk olive oil, salt, cumin, black pepper, dried Italian herbs, cinnamon, coriander, and paprika in a large bowl until combined.
- Coat each lamb breasts in the olive oil and spice mixture and transfer to a roasting pan, fat side up.
- Tightly cover roasting pan with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven until the meat is tender when pierced with a fork, about 2 hours.
- Remove lamb from oven and cut into four pieces.
- Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place lamb pieces on it. Brush the tops of each piece with fat drippings from the roasting pan.
- Bake lamb until meat is browned and edges are crispy, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine chopped parsley, vinegar, fresh lemon juice, garlic, honey, red pepper flakes, and salt in a large bowl. Mix well and set aside.
- Increase the oven’s broiler to high and brown lamb for 4 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Serve lamb topped with parsley and vinegar sauce.
Mushroom Mashed Potatoes
6 yukon or red potatoes, quartered
3 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, diced
6 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sour cream
Boil potatoes until soft, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, saute onions and mushrooms until tender.
Mash with a potato masher (or bottom of a drinking glass).
Add onions, mushrooms and remaining ingredients and stir into mashed potatoes.
Garlic Green Beans
Good, but was missing something. Next time I think I’ll add sliced almonds or something.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb green beans, trimmed
2 cloves garlic, sliced salt, to taste
Blanch the green beans: Bring water to a boil in a medium-sized pot. Add green beans. Cook green beans in boiling water for 5 minutes, or until tender. Drain and run cold water over the beans.
Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add garlic. Once garlic is fragrant, add the beans and salt and saute.
My good friend and old roommate shared many scrumptious, rich and hearty dinners with me while we lived together. I remember meeting my potential new apartment and roommate for the first time and being offered the most wonderful slice of cheese while I was there. Maggie really knew the way to my heart and we became great friends after that. Possibly one of the best stranger-to-roommate living situations ever to exist! 🙂
She came over for dinner and naturally, I was inspired to make something hearty and satisfying. Along with the chili and jambalaya, this may be my favorite slow cooker recipe yet! Maggie brought over a yummy tomato-cucumber salad, bursting with the perfect touch of a lemon-olive oil dressing, and I also threw in a spiced pine-nut-couscous.
Slow Cooked Braised Lamb Shanks
- 1 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 6 heaping tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 5 to 6 pounds lamb shanks (preferably not trimmed of fat)
- 15 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
- 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 3 large carrots, peeled and cut in 1/4-inch slices
- Finely grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
- 2 heaping tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
In a small bowl mix the red wine, broth, mustard, salt, and pepper and place in slow cooker. Brown lamb in pan and then layer the shanks in the slow cooker so they fit. Scatter the remaining ingredients around and on the shanks. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours. Use tongs to reverse the position of the shanks, top to bottom. Reduce the setting to LOW and cook for an additional 4 hours.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the shanks to a serving platter. Skim the fat from the cooking juices, taste, and add salt and pepper, if needed. Pour the juices, carrots and onions over the shanks, and serve.
Spiced Couscous with Toasted Pine Nuts
1 cup couscous
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
3 tbsp white wine
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp cardamom
1 tsp ground cloves
1 cup toasted pine nuts
salt and pepper, to taste
Bring chicken broth, white wine and olive oil to boil. Stir in couscous and remove from heat. Cover promptly for 10 minutes.
Fluff couscous with fork and add spices and pine nuts. Stir to combine.
I invited a few ladies over for lunch and then proceeded to rack my brain for a week and a half on what to cook, until I came across this recipe for a chickpea salad, which then provided the catalyst for the rest of our Mediterranean lunch with lamb-raisin-pine-nut pies.
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
3/4 cup Italian parsley, leaves only
Small handful fresh mint leaves
1 lemon, zested and juiced
3/4 pound English cucumber
Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet (cast iron is nice) over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and crushed red pepper and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about one minute or until the seeds are toasted. The cumin will turn slightly darker in color, and smell toasty.
Turn the heat to medium low and add the garlic. Cook, stirringly frequently, for about three minutes or until the garlic is turning golden. Do not let it scorch or turn brown.
Add the drained chickpeas and the chopped tomatoes and turn the heat up to medium high. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chickpeas are warmed through and are shiny with oil. Turn off the heat.
Strip any remaining stems away from the Italian parsley. Finely mince the parsley and the mint and toss this with the chickpeas. Stir the lemon juice and zest into the chickpeas.
Peel the cucumber and cut it in half lengthwise. Scrape out (and discard) the seeds with the tip of a teaspoon or grapefruit spoon. Dice the cucumber into small, 1/2-inch square cubes. Toss the cucumber with the chickpeas. Taste for salt. If necessary, add flaky sea salt to taste.
Refrigerate for at least an hour before eating. This salad is best after it has had a chance to sit overnight in the fridge, letting its spices and juices soak together into more than the sum of its parts. Serve slightly warm or room temperature. Really good at any temperature, actually.
- 1lb ground lamb
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 14 1/2-ounce cans diced peeled tomatoes, drained
- 3/4 cup golden raisins
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 1 17 1/4-ounce package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
- 1 egg, beaten to blend
Sauté lamb in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, breaking up meat with fork, about 7 minutes. Transfer lamb to plate using a slotted spoon. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon drippings from skillet. Add onion and garlic; sauté until; tender and golden, about 5 minutes. Return lamb to skillet. Add tomatoes, raisins and allspice and simmer until juices evaporate, about 5 minutes. Stir in pine nuts and mint. Season with salt and pepper. Cool.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Roll out 1 puff pastry sheet on floured work surface to 14-inch square. Cut into four 7 inch squares. Repeat with second puff pastry sheet. Beginning at 1 corner of each pastry square , place 1/8 of lamb mixture on the half of square, forming triangle. Brush pastry edges with egg. Fold pastry over filling, forming triangle. Press edges to seal. Brush pastries with egg. Place pies on 2 ungreased baking sheets. Bake until pies are puffed and golden, about 20 minutes. Serve warm.
When it comes to deciding what to cook, lately I have been absolutely out of ideas. So, last Friday, I decided to make what I thought the husband would enjoy, and shepherd’s pie came to mind. When Noah saw all the potatoes, he got his hopes up that I was going to make latkes, but in the end, both of us were pleasantly surprised at how soothing and perfect the shepherd’s pie turned out. I also added mushrooms to the mashed potatoes, which I wholeheartedly recommend!
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 large celery, chopped
- 1 pound ground lamb (or substitute half with another ground meat)
- 1 cup beef or chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh or dry rosemary
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 2 pounds yukon potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 3/4 cup mushrooms, quartered
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil, then add the onion, carrot, celery and meat. Cook until browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Drain the fat and add the broth, tomato paste, and herbs. Simmer until the juices thicken, about 10 minutes.
4. Pour the mixture into a pie pan or other dish; set aside.
5. Meanwhile, bring the potatoes to a boil in salted water. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes; drain.
6. Mash the potatoes with the butter, mushrooms, milk, sour cream and salt.
7. Spread them over the meat mixture.
8. Bake until golden, 30 to 35 minutes.
For spring break, Noah and I are in Paris (and in a few days will be cycling through Provence)! I made sure that we spent our first morning at le marché de la Bastille (the best and biggest Farmers market in Paris). Paris markets are so much fun – each vendor enthusiastically sells his or her produce, cheese, seafood, meat, wine, etc., shouting at passersby with the utmost cheerfulness. We brought “home” to our teeny Parisian apartment our Farmers market bounty.
And that evening prepared a meal of lemon-thyme lamb chops (to which Noah added a bit of red wine and butter), sauteed eggplant and white squash, and a salad with mushrooms and tomatoes topped with a lemon vinaigrette.
The lamb and its accompanying sauce was most excellent. We even used bread to soak it up. Both of us found the tomatoes a bit mushy, and Noah agrees that eggplant in France is better than the states. For some reason, here it’s just so much more flavorful! The best part of our meal was a thirty-year old bottle of Bordeaux red wine which we found in the 3 euro bin at the farmers market. We were wary of drinking such a cheap 30 yr old bottle, but in the end, found it was a rich, earthy and excellent wine.