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Feb 23, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘lamb’

By the Book: “The Islands of Greece” by Rebecca Seal

Friday, September 30th, 2016



The Islands of Greece: Recipes from Across the Greek Seas is a travelogue of recipes collected by Rebecca Seal. The book offers a wide range of dishes with varying degrees of difficulty and indulgence. Torn between frying cheese in philo dough and making a salad, I opted for Volcanic Lamb with Egg and Lemon Sauce – solely because of the name.

The recipe was incredibly simple and clear, but lacked a few necessary details and had some practical problems. It instructed me to soften onions gently in a wide pan (Over what heat? Until translucent?), then increase the heat (to what?) and brown the lamb. I ended up removing the onions mid-lamb searing so the onions wouldn’t burn. I also used a lot more than five tablespoons water to deglaze the pan. Otherwise, the recipe went off without a hitch. Don’t be afraid to place a Dutch oven full of lamb in the oven without even a little wine to bask in; the shanks produced their own braising liquid of pure savory, fatty goodness. This hands-off recipe produced the richest dish I’ve ever made with a show-stopping silky egg sauce, a pop of fresh thyme and extremely little effort.

Skill level: Intermediate. The recipes are simple, but require some cooking common sense.
This book is for: Cooks who want a culinary tour of Greece from their home kitchens.
Other recipes to try: Cheese pies from Alonissos, chickpea fritters, chicken baked in yoghurt
The Verdict: The Kokkari steak was a tender treat, but it couldn’t beat the miles-deep richness of these roasted lamb shanks.




Volcanic Lamb with Egg & Lemon Sauce
4 servings

1 sliced onion
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 lamb shanks, weighing 300 g. to 400 g. (10.5 to 14 oz. each)
6 sprigs thyme, plus more to serve
salt and freshly ground black pepper
400 g. (14 oz.) baby new potatoes, in their skins
A little butter

1 egg
Juices from the lamb
1 Tbsp. lemon juice, or to taste

• Preheat oven to 140 degrees Celsius (275 degrees Fahrenheit, Gas 1).
• For the lamb, soften the onion gently in a wide pan with the olive oil. Increase the heat and add the lamb, browning the shanks thoroughly on all sides. Deglaze the pan with 4 to 5 tablespoons water, scraping up any bits that have stuck. Tip the whole lot into an ovenproof dish with a tight-fitting lid and add the thyme, salt and pepper. Place the lid on the dish and put into the oven. Cook 3 hours, or until the meat is falling from the bone.
• Just before the lamb comes out of the oven, boil the new potatoes in salted water until just tender. Drain and dry on paper towels then saute gently in the butter over a medium-low heat, until lightly browned all over.
• When the lamb is cooked, spoon off most of the juices from the dish, leaving just enough so the meat doesn’t dry out. Keep it somewhere warm, with the lid on.
• Make the sauce. Beat the egg until creamy. Very slowly drizzle in the hot pan juices, whisking constantly to ensure the egg doesn’t cook and make the sauce lumpy, then add the lemon juice. Pour it all into a clean pan and warm over a very, very gentle heat, but do not bring anywhere close to boiling. If you feel there isn’t enough sauce, add a little stock or even water. You can also add more lemon juice, to taste. Remove from the heat and serve with the lamb, onions and potatoes, scattered with a few thyme leaves.


Reprinted with permission from Hardie Grand Books

Grilled: Stuffed Greek Burgers

Friday, September 9th, 2016



Contributor (and Nightlife critic) Matt Berkley knows that grilling season is a year-round event in St. Louis. In his new column, he’s breaking away from the backyard basics and sharing fresh recipes perfect for open fire cooking.


Cheeseburgers are nothing to scoff at. A properly grilled burger is a sublime feast that begs for deep glass of red wine. Such is the case with this burger recipe, which leans on simple, fresh ingredients to do the heavy lifting.

Essentially a gyro in burger form, savory grilled lamb is accentuated by a soft inner layer of feta and a bright juicy fresh tomato-cucumber dressing in this Mediterranean spin on a traditional burger. If you’re leery of using all lamb, which is quite rich and very distinct, feel free to swap half the meat in for more familiar beef. However, don’t dare omit the tomato-cucumber dressing or the yogurt sauce. These burgers are not friendly to ketchup and mustard. They are best enjoyed on top of hot pita bread or served with a heaping side of couscous. And a big glass of red wine certainly wouldn’t hurt either.


Stuffed Greek Burgers
8 servings

2 lbs. ground lamb
½ cup minced red onion
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
6 oz. traditional feta cheese (crumbled or whole)
Olive oil, for greasing
Tomato-Cucumber Dressing (recipe follows)
Garlic-Lemon Yogurt Sauce (recipe follows)

• Preheat a charcoal or gas grill for medium-high, direct heat.
• In a large bowl, thoroughly combine the lamb, onion, salt and pepper. Divide into 16 thin patties. Create a small well in the center of 8 patties and place a small amount of feta in each well. Cover the cheese with the remaining 8 patties and press around the edges to seal.
• Brush grates with olive oil and grill the burgers 5 minutes. Flip and grill another 5 to 6 minutes. Remove, tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes. Serve topped with the Tomato-Cucumber Dressing and Garlic-Lemon Yogurt Sauce.


Tomato Cucumber Dressing

2 to 3 medium tomatoes, diced
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt

• In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients.


Garlic-Lemon Yogurt Sauce

1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 minced garlic cloves

• In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients.


Make This: Dukka-Crusted Lamb Chops

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016



Dukka (pronounced DOO’-kah) is a blend of nuts, seeds and spices found in Egyptian cuisine that makes a rich, crunchy crust for cooked meat or fish. Place ½ cup salted and roasted pistachios, 1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds, 2 tablespoons coriander, 2 teaspoons cumin and 1 teaspoon black pepper in a food processor and grind until fine. Season 8 trimmed 3-ounce lamb chops with kosher salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add half the lamb chops to the pan. Cook 3 minutes per side, until medium-rare. Transfer chops to a plate and tent with foil, then cook the remaining chops. Dredge the cooked lamb chops in dukka to coat both sides, place on a plate and drizzle each with 1 to 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses.

-photo by Greg Rannells

By the Book: Suzanne Husseini’s Herb- and Pistachio-Crusted Rack of Lamb and Arugula and Tomato Salad

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013



Suzanne Husseini’s cookbook Modern Flavors of Arabia: Recipes and Memories From My Middle Eastern Kitchen is so fun to page through. From the cover to the photos of the dishes to even the distinct plates and glassware, each page is exotic and beautiful. Unfortunately, the recipes I chose did not turn out so pretty.




I’m not an expert cook. I wouldn’t even go as far as to say advanced. Normally, if a dish doesn’t work, I, without question, blame myself for doing something stupid. But for this recipe, I painstakingly followed every step. No shortcuts. No substitutions. No inserting my own “creative flair.” The lamb was pricey, and the picture of the dish looked delicious. I didn’t want to risk messing it up.




I questioned the amount of butter the recipe called for. A whole stick for a crust applied to just two racks of lamb seemed like an awful lot. But after triple-checking that a ½ cup really did equal one stick, I went ahead.




I only applied half the herb and nut mixture on the lamb (freezing the rest), and it still came out soggy. So I kept the lamb in the oven a little longer, hoping it would firm up. But I didn’t want to overcook the meat and truly ruin the dish, so I ended up eating it with a goopy, not crusty crust. Although it tasted delicious (reminding me of an Arabian take on chimichurri), the dish looked fairly unappetizing, and the texture was way off.




As recommended by Husseini, I paired the lamb with a very simple arugula salad. I was certain nothing could go wrong.




But somehow the salad was bad, too! The culprit? Sumac. In the past, I made a tomato salad with sumac, and it was awesome. But that recipe, which served six, only called for two teaspoons of sumac. This recipe, which was supposed to serve four, called for two tablespoons. I knew this amount sounded suspect, so once again, I triple-checked the recipe, but I went ahead, trusting Husseini over my amateur self. The recipe also didn’t specify how much olive oil to use, which I assumed was just enough to pour over four servings of the salad. As I suspected, instead of adding a nice touch of tart, the sumac made the dressing sour, grainy, and well, gross.




Although both my recipes seemed pretty off as far as proportions, I’m not ready to throw this book out the window quite yet. It’s just too pretty. However, I guess the lesson learned here is even if you aren’t the best cook, sometimes your instincts really are best.


Herb- and Pistachio-Crusted Rack of Lamb
4 servings

2 racks of lamb (cleaned, French-trimmed and patted dry)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 cup fresh parsley
½ cup fresh cilantro
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. paprika
6 cloves garlic, mashed
Zest 1 lemon
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (white bread, crusts removed)
1 cup pistachios, ground but not too fine

• Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
• Rub the lamb all over with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
• Put the racks on a baking pan with the meat side up and roast for 15 minutes.
• Remove to cool, but leave the oven on and lower the temperature to 350 degrees.
• In a food processor, place the butter, parsley, cilantro, allspice, paprika, garlic and lemon zest and pulse a couple of times. Then add the breadcrumbs and pistachios and continue to pulse to incorporate, ensuring that it remains coarse.
• Spoon the herb and nut mixture on top of the lamb, meat side up, and, using your hands, pat down to stick.
• Return the lamb racks to the oven and finish roasting for another 15 minutes. Remove and cover loosely with foil and leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Arugula and Tomato Salad
4 servings

Juice 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. sumac
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 handfuls arugula leaves, washed and drained
20 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 Lebanese or Japanese cucumbers, seeds removed, sliced
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Pomegranate molasses

• Make the dressing by combining the lemon juice, sumac and olive oil.
• Place the arugula leaves in a salad bowl, and add the tomatoes, cucumbers and onion.
• Pour on the dressing, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Lastly, drizzle on some pomegranate molasses. Serve immediately.

Reprinted with permission from Random House.

What’s the worst dish you’ve made from a recipe? Who was at fault: you or the recipe’s creator? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Modern Flavors of Arabia by Suzanne Husseini. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Pari, whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won a copy of The Lebanese Kitchen by Salma Hage.  Pari, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.



Paul Manno’s Rack of Lamb

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Looking for a little inspiration in the kitchen now that the holidays are winding down? Here, Paul Manno, chef and co-owner of Paul Manno’s in Chesterfield, shares his recipe for Rack of Lamb.

Rack of Lamb
Courtesy of Paul Manno’s Paul Manno
Approximately 1 serving

1 loaf French bread (or store-bought unseasoned breadcrumbs)
Juice of 2 large lemons
2 to 4 tsp. extra-light olive oil, plus more for coating
Dried oregano to taste
Dried rosemary to taste
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ to 1 tsp. freshly minced garlic, depending on taste
10 to 12 caper berries
Butter for coating the pan
New Zealand baby rack of lamb, French cut

• 1 day before you make the lamb, tear the French bread into pieces and leave out, uncovered, overnight.
• The next day, add the stale bread to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until you have crumbs. Set the breadcrumbs aside.
• Next, make the sauce: Pour the lemon juice into a small mixing bowl. Slowly pour in 2 teaspoons of olive oil, whisking aggressively to emulsify the sauce and tasting frequently to ensure that the lemon-to-oil ratio suits your taste. Add up to 2 additional teaspoons of oil if needed.
• To the sauce, add a pinch each of oregano, rosemary, salt and pepper. Whisk aggressively to combine. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
• Next, add ½ teaspoon of minced garlic and the caper berries. Whisk again and taste, adding an additional ½ teaspoon of garlic if desired. Once the sauce is to your liking, set it aside.
• Preheat the broiler to medium-high and place an oven rack approximately 10 inches from the heat source. Lightly butter an oven-safe pan.
• Coat the lamb lightly with olive oil, then lightly dredge it in the breadcrumbs.
• Transfer the lamb to the buttered pan and place under the broiler, uncovered. For medium-rare, broil the lamb for 6 minutes on one side, turn over and broil for another 6 minutes.
• Once the lamb is done, place it on a large cutting board and let it rest for 3 to 4 minutes.
• Using a sharp steak knife, cut down between the bones. After all of the chops have been cut, fan them out on a plate, pour the sauce on top and serve.

Tips from Manno: “Since all of our recipes are passed down by my mom, no measurements are used – just your taste buds. You want [the sauce] light so the fruitiness of the oil does not overpower the sauce. After you are happy with the lemon sauce taste, start whisking again and add your spices a pinch at a time, tasting frequently until the taste suits you. With the fresh garlic, start with half of a teaspoon first; you don’t want to overpower the sauce.”

Paul Manno’s, 75 Forum Shopping Center, Chesterfield, 314.878.1274

— photo by Jonathan Gayman

Just Five: Sweet-Spiced Lamb Chops

Monday, December 26th, 2011

122211_Just5This is my homage to a Moroccan dish that I’ve never actually had. To be honest, I’ve not had much in the way of Moroccan food, as there aren’t any local restaurants that specialize in this cuisine. So, being the industrious cook that I am, I decided to see what I could come up with on my own. While this was in the oven, I was immediately transported to Marrakesh or some equally exotic locale. The allspice, cinnamon and cumin are so aromatic. The heat from the pepper stirs the soul. This dish would be amazing served with preserved lemons, couscous or quinoa, chopped dates and almonds. Send your family on an easy trip to a foreign land for dinner tonight.

Sweet-Spiced Lamb Chops

4 Servings
Adapted by Dee Ryan from a recipe originally published in Cooking Light

2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. ground allspice
½ tsp. ground red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. salt
8 lamb chops
Vegetable oil

• Preheat the broiler.
• In a small bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients.
• Rub the lamb chops with a bit of oil and rub the spice mixture evenly over each chop.
• Place the lamb chops in a single layer on a broiler pan.
• Broil for about 5 minutes on each side for medium-rare. (see note below)
• When the lamb is finished, let it rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Note: If you prefer your lamb medium to medium-well, add about 1 minute to each side.

Just Five: Lamb Chops with Arugula Pesto

Monday, November 28th, 2011

112811_just5I was a young adult before I realized that I liked lamb, and it took even longer to realize that cooking with lamb is no different than working with pork or beef. I’m not sure why I thought lamb would be less forgiving, perhaps because a lamb chop will set you back a few more dollars than its porky brother.

Lamb is traditionally served with mint, but I love how the peppery arugula and garlic in this dish work with the brightness of the lemon. The toasted pine nuts give the pesto a really pleasant, almost buttery richness. On these first cold nights of winter, this dish reminds you that spring is never far away.

Lamb Chops with Arugula Pesto
Adapted by Dee Ryan from a recipe by Meghan Pembleton

4 Servings

Olive oil, for coating
8 lamb chops
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 lemon
3 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts
3 garlic cloves, chopped
4 cups arugula, rinsed and dried

• Preheat the broiler.
• Rub a bit of olive oil on each lamb chop and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
• Arrange the chops in a single layer on a broiler pan.
• Broil for about 5 minutes on each side.*
• When the lamb is finished, let it rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
• While the lamb cooks, zest 1 to 2 teaspoons of lemon rind and squeeze about 2 teaspoons of juice from the lemon.
• Place the toasted pine nuts and garlic in a food processor or blender and pulse until minced.
• Add the lemon juice and zest, arugula, and about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Process until smooth, adding a bit of water to reach desired consistency. Season with salt to taste.
• Place about ¼ cup of pesto on each plate and top with 2 lamb chops.

* I prefer my lamb medium-rare, but if you prefer your lamb more done, add about a minute to each side.

credit: inspired by Meghan Pembleton http://www.azcentral.com/style/hfe/food/simplemeals/articles/0617dtrecfortwo.html

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