Are you looking to switch up your holiday recipes?
Check out my Mediterranean Lamb and Carrots Cooked in Hay dishes. They might become your new special occasion recipes in your home like they are in mine.
Serves at least six
- 1 lamb shoulder (1.8kg / 4lb) butterflied. Ask your butcher to help.
- 400ml / 1¾ cup chicken stock
- 2 tbsp of tomato puree
- 7 cloves of smoked garlic (can be found at a specialized deli or farmers market)
- 3 small brown onions
- 4 sprigs of rosemary
- 1 large bunch of fresh thyme
- 1 large bunch of fresh oregano
- Paprika (3 tbsp)
- Salt / Pepper
- Coriander and cumin powder (1 tbsp of each)
- Olive oil
- Large roasting dish. I prefer cast iron, because it holds the heat and is (mostly) non-stick.
- Tin foil
- If possible, turn your gas barbecue on for some extra smokiness. If not, a big saucepan will suffice.
- Take the meat out of your fridge and let sit for 30 minutes.
- During that time, mix all the spices together, including salt and pepper. Spread it on both sides of your butterflied lamb shoulder. Add some oil and spread it all again.
- Let the lamb sit for about 20 minutes. Start firing your barbecue. Gas barbecues heat up quickly and are efficient enough to get some smoke in the meat. (If you use a fry pan, heat it up at a high temperature so that when the meat is placed in the pan, it is seared.)
- During this process, mix together tomato puree, chicken stock and a couple tablespoons of olive oil.
- Spread half of the herbs in the roasting dish, along with all the peeled garlic and the halved onions.
- Once the meat is charred, place it skin-up on top of the herbs.
- Cover with the rest of the herbs then pour the liquid on top.
- Cover tightly with tin foil to keep all the juices together. All the moisture will rise and then drop back into the dish, which is perfect for this type of cooking.
- Preheat oven to 130°C / 266°F and place in the oven for five hours.
- Check the lamb every hour to ensure the liquid is not spilling. At this stage, spoon some of the liquid on the top to keep the top of the meat moist. If you’re losing liquid, add a small glass of water and cover again.
- Once you’re happy with your braised dish, remove from heat and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
- Pull chunks apart and serve.
- You can also add a minted yogurt sauce. Simply blend some mint, cucumber and plain yogurt in a blender until smooth. Add a little lemon juice and olive oil and keep blending. Add salt and pepper and finish with some chopped parsley.
CARROTS COOKED IN HAY
Serves 4-6 (side dish)
- 1.5 kg / 3.5 lbs carrots for juicing
- 8-12 medium-sized carrots (preferably organic) with skin still on.
- 100g / 3 ½ oz. butter (real butter only)
- 80g / 3 oz. goat cheese (fresh curd)
- 100 ml / ½ cup thickened cream
- A few handfuls of pea straw or alfalfa hay
- Herbs, pea straw leaves, and leaf chicory to garnish
- Large roasting dish
- Tin foil
- Preheat oven to 200°C / 380°F
- In a large roasting dish, lay down a good layer of hay so that the base of the dish is fully covered.
- Toss medium-sized carrots in bowl with salt, pepper and olive oil.
- Place carrots side by side on the bed of hay. Top with hay.
- Cover and seal the dish tightly by using a few layers of foil. You need to fold the sides tight to keep the steam inside.
- Place the dish in the middle of the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
- Take the juicing carrots, blend and extract the juice into a medium saucepan using a fine sieve.
- Over medium-low heat, reduce the carrot juice to ¼. The juice will start to thicken and intensify in flavor and color, concentrating the natural sweetness to a natural carrot syrup. Remove from heat when it starts to resemble syrup.
- In another small saucepan, add your butter and cook it over high heat until it turns brown. When the bubbles stop “singing,” look closely and you will smell a fragrant nutty flavor (we call this “noisette”). That’s when you stop the cooking process. Put the saucepan to the side.
- In a bowl, whisk the goat curds and cream together with a dash of lemon juice (optional) and salt/pepper until the mixture forms a peak. Set in the fridge until ready to serve.
- Remove your carrots from the oven and put aside (keep them covered).
- Add the noisette butter to the hot carrot reduction while whisking really fast.
- Taste and adjust your seasoning.
- Uncover your carrots, being careful not to burn yourself with the steam.
- Wipe the carrots just a little to remove the hay, slice as thick as you want and place on a serving dish.
- Add a few spoon drops of goat curd mixture, then generously add the carrot reduction sauce on the top of carrots. Garnish it like a pro.