makes 6 servings

Lamb roast:?
2 cups fresh basil leaves?
2 tablespoons olive oil?
1 3-pound boneless lamb shoulder roast, tied (a butcher can do this)?
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper?

4 sprigs thyme?
1 small shallot, finely chopped?
1 garlic clove, finely grated?
1 cup coarse polenta?
1 cup heavy cream?
3 cups (or more) low-sodium chicken broth?
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper?

Beans and assembly:?
1/3 cup sugar?
1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar?
1/2 teaspoon hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek)?
1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more?
2 leeks, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced crosswise 1/4″ thick, divided?
3 ounces thick-cut bacon, sliced crosswise 1/4″ thick?
1 14-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed?
freshly ground black pepper?
3/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves?
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems?

For lamb roast: Preheat oven to 325°F. Blend basil and oil in a food processor until smooth. Place lamb in a roasting pan. Season generously with salt and pepper and rub basil purée all over. Cover with foil, and cook until fork-tender, 3-3 1/2 hours. Increase oven temperature to 500°F. Remove foil and roast lamb until golden brown, 10-15 minutes. Let rest 30 minutes. Pour pan juices into a measuring cup and skim; set jus aside.?
For polenta: Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Mix thyme, shallot, garlic, polenta, cream, and 3 cups broth in a 13x9x2″ baking dish; season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake, without stirring, until polenta is softened and liquid is almost completely absorbed, 60-75 minutes. Thin polenta with more broth, if needed.?
For beans and assembly: Bring sugar, vinegar, chili paste, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/3 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add half of leeks, reduce heat, and simmer until soft, 8-10 minutes. Drain; set leeks aside. Wipe out saucepan. Cook bacon over medium heat until fat renders and bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes; transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Add remaining uncooked leeks to saucepan and cook, stirring often, until soft, 8-10 minutes. Add beans, bacon, and reserved boiled leeks and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Untie lamb and thinly slice. Divide polenta among bowls. Top with lamb, beans, and herbs; drizzle with jus.

bacon recipe courtesy of: Justus Drugstore, 106 W Main Street, Smithville, Missouri; Bon Appétit, September 2013

Originally posted 2013-09-05 01:13:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Lamb & Anchovy Sausage

There are perfect pairings – peas & carrots, chilis & mint, peanut butter & jelly, ham & everything – and then there is the combination of lamb and anchovy.  There is no Smuckers jar with alternating stripes of lamb and anchovy, but rest assured, there should be. The salty depth of the anchovy combined with the gaminess of the lamb work together to create an amazingly forward and deep savoriness (see lamb neck, as an example). When I was looking for a new sausage pairing, I saw a deli of salt-cured anchovies sitting next to a plate of lamb leg and it made me think “Why is there no standard lamb-anchovy sausage?”

As I was grinding the lamb, I looked down at the bowl where the anchovies were soaking and tossed the filets into the meat grinder. To add fat to the lamb leg and anchovy, I found some lamb bacon in the back of the freezer that would keep this sausage pork-free while increasing the fat content. In a pinch, bacon would work and, if back fat or pork belly are used, toss in a little more salt, but only a little. Then for balance, I added mint.

When the sausages were encased, I roasted them in the oven. The aroma from the sausages created quite a stir in our house (I did not expect the girls, ages 3 and 4, to be interested, but the 3 year old ate the gamey/funky sausage with glee). The flavors held true to the aroma as the sausages were exceedingly savory. The lamb and anchovy in tandem combine to be an absolute powerhouse. The mint adds a touch of brightness.

As I looked at my plate, the shredded carrot hash combined with the peas directly next to the lamb & anchovy sausage, it sparked the idea of food that goes so well together. Two mixed on a plate and, directly next to them, two more commingled inside a hog casing.

Lamb & Anchovy Sausage

1 pound lamb, shoulder or leg, ground
4 ounces lamb bacon, ground
4 filets from salt cured anchovies, ground
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons mint, minced
8 grams salt
Pinch of black pepper

Step one: Combine all ingredients and bind using a paddle attachment on a stand mixer, or if looking for adventure, by hand.

Step two: Stuff into sausage casings.

Step three: Roast or grill and consume

Originally posted 2013-12-19 00:05:20. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Lamb Heart Andouille

A fifteen minute walk through a small-town Wisconsin farmer’s market yielded some of the finest variety meats I have had in some time for prices so low I could not fathom how there was so much to buy. In a state where offal is less flashily portrayed and truly ends up on your grandma’s dinner table rather than on a contrived dish using her as a prop, I was surprised to see offal from seemingly pristinely raised animals being ignored. Even so, there was an old man in traditional Amish garb selling what appeared to be some great lamb. I asked about offal and he brought out what he had. For a couple dollars (literally), I bought every last lamb heart the guy had with him. Then some ground lamb as well to make it worth his while.

I love lamb heart. The dark color and deeply gamey flavor make this cut for me. For someone not interested in lamb or who likes their lamb to taste like a chicken breast, this would be terrible. I had set the heart next to the ground lamb as I unloaded the car and noticed the ground lamb was significantly lighter than the heart. My initial hope was to make a lamb terrine and use the heart as inlaid garnish, but with plans to smoke some chorizo, I settled on making some andouille and hand chopping the lamb heart (and some pork fat) to mix in with the ground lamb.

Realizing lamb is not interchangeable with pork, I thought a smoked, heavily spiced sausage would benefit from the gaminess from the lamb heart. These sausages are typically used to flavor a larger dish, so there need not be so much subtlety. The process is relatively straightforward with a few key steps. Namely, leave the sausages uncovered in the fridge for 2-3 days. This will allow the smoke to better adhere to the dry casings of the sausages as well as quickly cure the sausages.

After smoking the sausages for a few hours, I dunked them in an ice bath and let them  bloom for an afternoon in our kitchen. Once they chilled in the fridge for a few days, I sliced them and cooked the sausages with chicken, aromatics, spices, stock and farro in something vaguely jambalaya-like. These sausages brought spice and smoke, but the lamb flavors stood out as the main differentiator from the more standard and heartless andouille.

Maybe had the nice Amishly garbed man been selling beef or pork offal, things may have gone differently. After all, I do not remember eating lamb before leaving home. I am happy to luck into these prime nuggets of lamb, especially given the affordability. It makes experimenting in sausage-form more feasible.

Lamb Heart Andouille 

Adapted from Paul Fehribach’s fantastic recipe for Andouille

1 lb. Lamb Heart, chopped by hand
1/2 lb. pork fat, chopped by hand
1 1/2 lb. ground lamb
1.2 oz. salt
4 teaspoons each freshly ground black pepper, granulated onion and granulated garlic
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon curing salt
4 sprigs thyme
2 tablespoons non-fat milk powder
1/2 cup water

Method taken straight from the Big Jones’ recipe.

Lamb Liver Pudding


Going into July 4th, I was in a cooking rut. With time being more limited due to other obligations and a new commute combined with limited space and tools, I felt stifled. At first, I pressed. That did not work, so I backed off for a little while.

As cliche as it sounds, a trip to a new market, this one in the town where I grew up, gave me a spark. There was a friendly lamb raiser who seemed both surprised about an inquiry regarding lamb offal and especially eager to rid herself of it. While the kidneys appealed, I opted for the liver. I spent the next few hours in the car thinking about how I wanted to use it. The thoughts that rushed into my head went back to what I like to cook and eat best.

That answer is easy. As much as I like to try new stuff, I go back to the American South. The dish was liver pudding.

Liver pudding is basically dead-center on the boudin to scrapple continuum. Like scrapple, the pudding is set in a loaf pan, but like boudin, the binder is rice. If you would head North from South Carolina, you would find liver mush, which is virtually indistinguishable from scrapple (besides the elevated liver content). Liver pudding is made exclusively with pork, but since I had a lamb liver, lamb was the meat of the day. There was no fanciness, but rather utility in using what was on hand. Since we were setting the pudding in a loaf pan, I wanted gelatin, so I used bone-in shanks and with an entire cured leg waiting for use, I added a hunk of fatty lamb ham.



The remainder was keeping things basic and paying attention to the details. The meat needed to be cooked, but if it was overcooked, the pudding would be dry. Once the meat was cooked, I peeled the shanks from the bone and ran the cooked ham, shanks, and liver along with the onion through the meat grinder.


I added the ground meat and onions back to the new thick, fatty, and intensely lamb-y stock along with cooked Carolina Gold rice, sage and black and red pepper. I cooked the mixture, stirring frequently until, as Edna Lewis wrote, resembled peanut butter. The mixture went into a pan lined with cling wrap. Into the fridge it went with two pounds of miso to weigh the mixture down.



The next day, the mixture came out cleanly and sliced relatively well. The texture was not brick solid, but similar to hard frozen ice cream (perhaps pudding is an appropriate name after all). After heating a slice in a hot pan, I ate it for breakfast with grits, an egg and a few shakes of hot sauce.


Even though I had tasted the pudding before it went in the mold for seasoning, I was still surprised at the flavors. There was liver in the dish, it was clear by the minerality, but it was not a forward flavor. The gaminess of the lamb came through beautifully. It was starkly savory and with the sage and black pepper flavors in each bite was clearly kin to breakfast sausage, in addition to scrapple and boudin.


My hope is that this return to my comfort zone, my sweet spot, is a kick start to a new day in the kitchen. A new day in a new kitchen that should be ready in a few weeks.


Lamb Liver Pudding

300 grams lamb liver
625 grams bone-in lamb shank
75 grams lamb ham
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
1/4 cup Carolina Gold rice
3 large sage leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Black pepper, freshly cracked

Step one: Add liver, shanks, ham, onions, and salt in a pot. Cover with water and boil for 2-3 hours.

Step two: Remove all solids, reserving stock. Run solids through a meat grinder.

Step three: Cook rice and add with ground mixture back to the stock. Add sage leaves, red pepper flakes and black pepper.

Step five: Cook entire pot until texture resembles that of peanut butter.

Step six: Taste. Season aggressively.

Step seven: Pour into a prepared pan and chilled overnight while weighed down.

Originally posted 2013-07-14 23:32:18. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Cassia Bud Lambcetta

Sitting at dinner with great company on a frigidly cold winter night, a dish came out with lamb pancetta. A few of the guests were surprised by the substitution of lamb for pig in the pancetta. After discussing the intricacies of how to make lambcetta, I offered to make some for a friend with a fantastic sense of taste. I asked what he wanted flavor-wise and he suggest to go off-script with cinnamon. When looking through a spice shop, I noticed cassia buds which are simply dried buds of the cinnamon tree and carry similar, but more floral flavors than more traditional cinnamon.

Given the baking spice flavors from the cassia buds, I wanted to make sure the pancetta did not take the evil turn into sweet territory. I thought outside of pouring French Onion soup mix or straight MSG over the cassia buds, the flavors which would make the cure decidedly savory was piment d’Espelette and I had just cold smoked a bunch of it. Finally I added bay because bay is delicious. At this point, the cure smelled like a fancied up and punch version of Old Bay spice.

After ten days in the cure and 75 days hanging, I had not gotten the weight loss I usually look for and over the past 3 weeks the weight had stayed essentially level, so I pulled the rolled lamb bellies from the garage and trimmed them. The proportion of fat to lean was far higher than I expected. This may account for the stalled loss of water weight.

I rendered some of the trimmed ends to kill some of the young red mustard greens from our garden. There are few cooking smells which rival pancetta. Add lamb, the cassia buds and chilis and you have a tremendous lure to the kitchen. Freshly picked young mustard greens are delicious and need very little of anything. The wilting power combined with the aroma from the cassia/chili infused hot lamb lard made a delicious two ingredient dish. And while I am not a real proponent for easy/quick, if you discount the 85 days of curing and hanging, this was about as quick as it gets.

Cassia Bud Lambcetta

Based on a kilo of lamb belly

3 garlic cloves
5 grams pink salt
27 grams kosher salt
10 grams sugar
8 grams pepper
5 grams cassia buds
5 bay leaves
10 grams smoked piment d’Espelette (smoking not needed) or pimenton (if you wish) or Calabrian chili powder (you understand)

Post cure rub

Equal parts cassia buds, peppercorns or bay.

Step one: Combine ingredients and dredge lamb belly in cure. Let sit in fridge for 10 days, flipping daily.

Step two: Rise the belly and let sit over night uncovered in fridge.

Step three: Apply desired amounts of crushed cassia buds, crushed peppercorns and crushed bay leaves . Roll, tie, and hang. Weighting roll before hanging.

Step four: Once roll is 70% of original weight. Remove from hanging chamber and slice as needed. If the belly is more fatty, you may never reach 70%. Please don’t cry. It isn’t your fault. Things will be delicious.


serves 6-8

1 large cabbage
salt and pepper
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 lb. bacon, diced
1/2 lb. each: boneless veal, pork, lamb, and beef, cubed
2 large onions, chopped
2 large tart apples, peeled and chopped
2 cups beef broth
1/2 Polish sausage

Shred the cabbage and sprinkle lightly with salt. Let stand for 1 hour. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a heavy pot with lid and fry the bacon cubes. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Brown cubed meat well and add onions and apples to brown. Season with salt and pepper. Press out the water from the cabbage. Add to the meat along with remaining butter and fry lightly, turning mixture over with a fork. Add broth to stew. Put the lid on the pot, leaving a small vent, and simmer slowly fro 2 1/2 hours. Slice sausage and add to stew. Add reserved bacon and simmer for 1/2 hour longer.

bacon recipe courtesy of: The Horizon Cookbook: An Illustrated History of Eating and Drinking through the Ages, by the Editors of Horizon Magazine. American Heritage Publishing Co., Inc., 1968


yields four servings

Lamb Chops:
2 Colorado lamb racks
5 cloves garlic, chopped
4 shallots, chopped
4 sprigs parsley, chopped
¼ cup vegetable oil
salt and pepper, to taste

English Pea Puree:
2 lb. English peas
½ cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
1 gallon water?
salt, to taste

Smoked Bacon:
1 lb. slab smoked bacon
1 cup English peas

Parmesan Foam:
1 lb. parmigiano-reggiano, grated
1 cup milk
¼ lb butter

For the Lamb Chops: Using a sharp knife, remove fat cap from lamb racks. Scrape the bone down to the end of the eye. Make sure bone has no meat and perfectly clean. Combine with remaining ingredients and let marinate overnight. Remove meat from marinade and wrap bones with wet paper towel then foil so they don’t burn. Season lamb with salt and pepper. Sear in a hot pan and finish in 350-degree F oven until desired doneness. Let rest in oil before slicing.

For the English Pea Puree: Shuck peas from their husks. Bring salted water to boil and blanch peas for three minutes, or until cooked through but still toothsome. Shock in ice bath to chill quickly and keep bright green color. Put in vita prep with mint and slowly incorporate chicken stock until puree consistency. Pass through metal tami using a rubber spatula. Season with salt and white pepper.

For the Smoked Bacon: Remove skin off bacon and cut into small dice. Sauté until cooked through. Keep warm and toss with English peas.

For the Parmesan Foam: Melt parmesan in milk. Using an immersion blender, add butter and froth the top.

To Serve: Spread pea puree and parmesan sauce on plate. Top with bacon and peas. Slice lamb and arrange on top. Garnish with parmesan foam.

bacon recipe courtesy of: Alex Reznik, Top Chef, Season 7, Episode 9, Elimination Challenge, Bravo TV