Hi I'm Jaci

Welcome friend to my food and travel blog. I love sitting by the fire with a book and a cup of coffee. I love big porches at the beach with a breeze and rocking chairs, and spices and salts  that pop in my mouth. I love sharing a good story with friends. Looking forward to our shared moments together. 

What to Cook with a Dutch Oven? Lamb!

What to Cook with a Dutch Oven? Lamb!

What do you mean you don’t eat no meat? ….. That’s OK, I’ll make lamb
— Andrea Martin as Aunt Voula in the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Lamb with  an Herb Salad

Patience is a quality that I have over time been learning to develop.  Maybe it's my age, yes I am getting older...😉😉...maybe it's the ups and downs of life, but the more I discover about this quality the more I have learned that putting it into practice makemy life  better. 

Think about it... you're stuck at the airport🛩 for 8 hours and want to get home but the weather or something else has made it impossible. 

Option 1 : I could become impatient and get angry😡 at the people working, or be furious😡 inside myself that I have to sit around, tired and exhausted, and wanting to go home. 

Option 2: I sit and have a glass of wine🍷 and some snacks and be thankful that I have time to work if that's what I want to do, or, read a book📚 (me time) or sit around surfing pinterest. My options are limitless.   After all, how often would I take 8 hours and do any of those things for that long and not feel like I had been wasting time.  Never, until now! I have the excuse I can give to my brain.  Hmm...Option 2 is looking pretty darn good.

I am beginning to think getting stuck at the airport isn't so bad. What about you?

 See what I mean,  patience has turned my thoughts around.  

Will I be tired tomorrow at work? Yeah....  But wouldn't I have probably been tired anyway? Yeah, for sure. Just being honest.   I probably would have stayed up late goofing around on Pinterest or reading that mystery novel into the wee hours, right?  You and I both know it's true...😉

The saying that "patience is a virtue" I haven't always understood, but I am starting to "get it".

 I usually relate these little aah haa moments in life to cooking and that's what making this Lamb is all about.  I have spoken to many about the fact that they don't like cooking and I keep hearing "I don't have time."  I get that. No one has the time. In fact those 24 hours in a day go so fast that they seem to vanish before we get started.  

But that's what we all have, right?

 24 hours.

Everyday.

 Patience is what we do with that time.

 It's what we make of it...

 It's the laughter from that hilarious SNL skit that you watched in the morning.

 It's the little hummingbirds that you saw flit around drinking nectar that made you smile.

 It's the lamb you cooked, filling the house with smells of spices of the mediterranean.

Patience my friends builds character, builds strength and makes you some darn good Lamb.

Be Happy. Start Cooking. 

Lamb and Herbs getting ready to carve

Adapted Slightly from Food and Wine

 Lamb INGREDIENTS  

  • 1/2 quart chicken stock
  • 1 cups dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 tablespoons thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves sliced
  • 1 jalapeños, seeded and quartered
  • One 2-pound boneless leg of lamb, tied
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Herb Salad Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup packed parsley leaves chopped (1/2 bunch)
  • 3/4 cup packed cilantro leaves chopped (1/2 bunch)
  • 1/2 cup packed tarragon leaves chopped 
  • 1/2 cup snipped chives
  • 1 jalapeño—halved, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup very thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Lemon Juice for Lamb

Step 1

Preheat oven to 425  degrees F. In a Dutch Oven* the size of your lamb  place chicken stock,wine, lemon juice, honey, allspice, cloves, coriander,paprika, thyme, oregano, and peppercorns. Next add onions,jalapeno and garlic. Season Lamb with Salt and Pepper and place on top of onions etc fattier side facing up. Making sure the liquid does not completely cover the lamb. If it does remove some liquid. You want to have about 2 inches not covered. More is okay as long as pot is not completely dry.

Braising Preparation for Lamb

Step 2

Braise* the lamb uncovered for 45 minutes until it starts to brown on top. After browning drop oven temperature to 325 degrees F and put a lid on the dutch oven and continue braising about 2 more hours until lamb meat starts to pull apart easily, if you stick a fork in it and tug a little. Not much tugging should be needed that will help you know it is done.  You can check it after an hour to see how tough the meat is at that time so you know what falling apart means.  Also make sure that the liquid is not completely gone from the pot.  If so add more broth and wine if you have it.Once braised remove from oven and allow to cool on a cutting board for 10 minutes before slicing.

Lamb and Herbs

Step 3

While letting the meat rest you can strain out the large pieces of the braising liquid and put the liquid back in the pot and taste.  Add salt and pepper to your taste and slowly cook the liquid until reduced about 10 minutes to a thicker sauce consistency. It will not be thick like gravy more like an au jus with lots of flavor.  If you don't have much liquid don't cook it all down to nothing just briefly heat and add salt and pepper to taste.

Step 4

Make herb salad to go on top of meat. Mix chopped parsley, cilantro, chives,tarragon and jalapeno.  Cover onions with Lemon juice and leave for a few minutes to decrease the bite in the red onions.  Then add olive oil and mix in a jar and shake.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Pour dressing over salad and allow to rest for about 10 minutes for flavors to blend.

Step 5

Slice lamb and serve with herb salad on top and some store-bought or homemade tzatziki. You can also serve lamb over rice or couscous or with Delicious Pita Bread!

 

Tips

  • *Braising Definition: to cook slowly in fat and little moisture in a closed pot- A WEEKEND ESSENTIAL WAY TO COOK! 
  • *Dutch Ovens are great because you can use them on the stovetop and then place them in the oven and they keep the heat! A 5 1/2 quart is a good size for family of 4 or for two people and then leftovers.
  • Any dry white wine will do for the lamb braising sauce. Even better if you like the taste so you can have some with the lamb later.
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