"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." Marthe Troly-Curtin

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Lamb Merguez Sausage

Yield: About 24 (10-inch) links
4 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, diced
1 pound pork fatback, diced (see note)
3 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1 1/2 cups diced roasted red peppers
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano (see note)
1/4 cup red wine, chilled
1/4 cup ice water
20 feet natural sheep or hog casings, soaked in water (see note)
1. Combine lamb, fatback, salt, sugar, red pepper flakes, garlic, roasted red peppers, black pepper, paprika and oregano. Toss to distribute seasonings. Cover and refrigerate until ready to grind.
2. Grind the mixture through a small die into a bowl resting in ice.
3. Add wine and water to the meat mixture. Mix with paddle attachment or a sturdy spoon until the mixture develops a uniform, sticky appearance, about 1 minute.
4. Cook a small portion of the sausage in a sauté pan. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
5. Stuff sausage into casings, and twist into 10-inch links. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate or freeze links until ready to cook.
6. Sauté, roast or grill the sausages until cooked through.
Per link: 610 calories; 54g fat; 19g saturated fat; 120mg cholesterol; 25g protein; 5g carbohydrate; 2g sugar; 0.5g fiber; 1,410mg sodium; 65mg calcium.
Notes: Attachments for grinding and stuffing are available for most KitchenAid stand mixers. Pork fatback and natural casings are available at specialty butcher stores like G&W Bavarian Style Sausage Co. in St. Louis or Frandeka Meats & Fish at Soulard Market. If fresh oregano is not available, substitute 2 teaspoons of dried oregano.
Adapted from "Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing," by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn (W.W. Norton & Co., 2005)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hearty Chipotle Chicken Soup

  • 8 Servings
  • Prep: 15 min. Cook: 30 min.


  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 3 cups frozen corn
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, seeded and minced
  • 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro


  • In a Dutch oven, saute onion in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add the broth, beans, tomatoes, corn, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, cumin and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
  • Stir in chicken; heat through. Garnish with sour cream; sprinkle with cilantro. Yield: 8 servings (3-1/4 quarts).

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Crockpot Lamb Shanks Recipe

Lamb shanks are not very tender and require slow braising. The crockpot is a perfect choice to tenderize tough meat. These lamb shanks are flavored with garlic, onions, mushrooms, herbs, red wine, and tomatoes. To reduce the fat, refrigerate overnight, scrape off the congealed fat, and reheat before serving. The garlic cloves are extremely mild when cooked whole. If you like a stronger garlic flavor, mince some of the garlic before adding to the crockpot.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours, 20 minutes
1 sweet onion, sliced and separated into rings
4 lamb shanks
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp olive oil
10 whole, peeled garlic cloves, large ones cut in half
8 ounces mushrooms, brushed clean, large ones cut in half
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup strong beef broth
1 (14 ounces) can diced tomatoes (about 1-3/4 cups)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tsp ground allspice
1 small bay leaf, broken in half
Spread sliced and separated onion rings on bottom of crockpot.

Rub lamb shanks with Worcestershire sauce, then sprinkle all over with salt and pepper.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and brown the lamb shanks. Place browned lamb shanks, along with any browned bits from the skillet, in the slow cooker crock on top of the onions. Top with garlic and mushrooms.

In a bowl, combine red wine, beef broth, tomatoes, oregano, basil, thyme, allspice, and bay leaf. Pour mixture over the vegetables and lamb shanks.

Cook on low for 8 hours or until tender. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Serve with pan juices and vegetables.

You may wish to make this a day ahead of time and refrigerate. This way you can easily scrape off the excess fat from the gravy before reheating and serving.

Yield: 4 servings

Stuffed Breast of Lamb

From Delish

Let the aromatic blend of cinnamon, coriander, feta, and lamb transport you to the Medieval Middle East with this savory roast of stuffed lamb. Cooks often served this dish with thin noodles soaked in a spiced, reduced broth.

Recipe courtesy of Cathy Kaufman, chairperson of the Culinary Historians of New York.
1/2 pound(s) ground lamb
1/2 cup(s) minced yellow onion
1/2 cup(s) finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 tablespoon(s) ground coriander
1/2 pound(s) feta cheese, grated
1/4 cup(s) ground almonds
2 tablespoon(s) ground walnuts
4 tablespoon(s) soy sauce
1 tablespoon(s) ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon(s) ground black pepper
1 teaspoon(s) ground ginger
1  (3- to 4-pound) full breast of lamb, cut into 2 halves, rib bones cracked for slicing
1/4 cup(s) extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper, to taste
1.. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2.. Place the ground lamb, onion, cilantro, ground coriander, feta cheese, almonds, walnuts, soy sauce, cinnamon, pepper and ground ginger in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse about 10 to 15 times to combine thoroughly. Sauté a bit to check the seasonings, make any adjustments and reserve.
3.. If the lamb breast is fattier than you would like, remove the excess fat from the top, leaving a thin layer. Using a boning knife, start at the top of the ribs and gently cut a pocket between the rib bones and the meat, leaving the meat attached to the ribs at the sides. Place the stuffing inside this pocket. Sew up the pocket with a trussing needle and butcher's twine.
4.. Place the lamb breast on a roasting rack in a roasting pan, smear it with the oil and coat it with the flour to form a crust. Season to taste. Roast in the oven for approximately 90 minutes, or until a thermometer registers 140 degrees F in the center of the stuffing. Remove and let rest for 15 minutes before removing the strings and carving.