Guinness Braised Lamb Poutine
A lamb recipe contest...what could be more fun than that? I've always thought of lamb as an underdog in the protein world full of steaks and pork and chicken; I think it's so much more versatile than people give it credit for. When I sat down to create this recipe, I started with a theme already in my head; I wanted to spotlight my lamb in a fun and very approachable way and I couldn't think of anything more fun than Poutine.
Poutine, by design, is meant for sharing, which in my book means fun. It's meant to accompany a tall frosty beer and and it's never a sad day when Poutine's around. How could it be? I took some creative liberties and deviated from a traditional Poutine of white potatoes, gravy and cheese curds, to bring you a roasted sweet potato and Guinness braised lamb with Feta. It's a seasonal spin on a classic - sweet potatoes not only provide a beautiful bright hue to the plate, but also give off their natural sweetness, which complements and balances the lamb. And speaking of the lamb, oh the lamb...when it's ever so slightly simmered in spices, aromatics and Guinness, it just absorbs all of those wonderful flavors as it starts to relax and soften. Then all of those flavors get reinforced by the rich sauce that coats the meat and everything is punched up by a hit of Feta's natural saltiness.
Don't let the length of this recipe intimidate you, most of the work is done up front and then it's hands off until the end, when it's a matter of roasting the sweet potatoes and reducing the sauce. And while it may seem like this dish takes a while to make to make, I assure you the flavors that you yield are well worth the effort. I even made a point to make extra lamb and I'd encourage you to do the same. The leftover meat makes for a fantastic sandwich or a stellar topping for a pizza.
This week and next, I'm participating in the American Lamb Pro-Am, sponsored by BostonChef's.com and this recipe will be featured on their site on Monday, where it will be up against other local talented lamb blogger's recipe creations. Be sure to check out the site and vote for your favorite (which is hopefully my Poutine!)
Check out the recipe after the jump!
Guinness Braised Lamb Poutine
- 2 lbs boneless leg of lamb
- 3 TBS smoked paprika
- 3 TBS cumin seeds
- 2 TBS coriander seeds
- 1 TBS hot chili powder
- 1 TBS mustard seeds
- 2 TBS fennel seeds
- The zest of 1 orange
- 2 bottles Guinness Beer
- 1- 6 oz. can tomato paste
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 2 medium sized carrots, roughly chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
- 1 large sweet potato, cut into even sized batons
- Feta Cheese Crumbles
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Chives, optional
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Start by trimming the lamb of most of its fat. Cut into large, fist-sized pieces and set aside. In a small skillet, toast the paprika, cumin, coriander, chili, mustard and fennel seeds until they just start to smoke. Remove from heat and grind in a spice grinder. Add the orange zest to the mix of spices and rub over the lamb, coating it completely and evenly. Set aside.
Heat a large dutch oven on the stove and add just enough extra virgin olive oil to coat the bottom. Generously salt the lamb. Working in small batches, sear the meat on all sides and set it aside. Add the onions, carrots and celery and a hefty pinch of salt. Stir, being sure to scrape up any browned bits that are on the bottom of the pan. Cook the vegetables until they start to soften a bit and then add the tomato paste. Stirring pretty constantly, continue to cook the vegetables in the tomato paste until it turns a deep red-brick color. Once this happens, rest the seared meat on top of the vegetables and add the beer and bay leaves. If the beer doesn't completely cover the meat, add water. Bring the mixture to a boil and then cover the pot and place in the oven. Let it heat in the oven for 3-4 hours, or until the meat is soft and very tender.
Once this has happened, remove meat from the pot and wrap it in foil so that it doesn't dry out. Strain the contents of the dutch oven into a large bowl. Discard the vegetables. Place contents of bowl into a fat separator and then pour the stock into a large skillet, being careful not to pour the fat into the skillet. On high heat, reduce the stock until it reduces by half and thickens to a sauce-like consistency. Season to taste.
While the stock is reducing, heat the oven to 450. Heavily coat a sheet pan with olive oil and then add the sweet potatoes. Heat, turning them twice, in the oven until they start to brown. Season with salt. While the sweet potatoes are baking, remove 1 of the bits of lamb and using a fork, pull the meat until it's shredded into bite-sized pieces.
To assemble, place the sweet potatoes onto a plate, top with lamb and drizzle with sauce. Top with feta cheese crumbles and chives, if desired. Serve immediately.
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