Friday, 21 December 2012

Continuing my slow cooked obsession: Braised Lamb Pappardelle with Gremolata

You may have noticed that I've recently developed a slight obsession with slow cooking....slow good pork, lamb, shoulders, pulled, anything really. So this dish is another continuation of this obsession. I cooked it a while ago, but hadn't had a chance to write it up. But my mind kept wondering back to the amazing rich sauce in the recipe so I decided it was now or never...time to write up the post!
Word of warning, this dish takes a while. Like with a lot of slow cooked recipes, it's not over-involved but you do need some time. But it's worth the wait. The recipe makes quite a lot, and I made it just for me so I was eating it for quite a while. I was also a little naughty and didn't make my own pasta, I just didn't have the time. I'd love to try it again with home made pappardelle as I think it would be even more delicious.

Ingredients (serves 4)
1 tbs fennel seeds
1 tbs coriander seeds
60ml vegetable oil
1.2kg lamb shoulder, boned and chopped into 6cm pieces (don't be afraid to ask your butcher to chop it up for you)
1 onion
1 carrot
1 stalk or celery
250ml red wine
6 sprigs thyme
1L chicken stock
300g pappardelle
300g fresh or frozen broad beans (I had frozen ones in the freezer that I wanted to use up, so I used frozen, but usually I'd prefer fresh)
1 orange
120g pitted green olives
1/4 C pistachios
1 garlic clove
1/4 C finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Pecorino to serve

Start by roughly chopping the carrot, celery and onion. If you use a little more than 1 of each, that's fine...a little more is nice.
Next, pick the leaves from the 6 sprigs of thyme.

In a small, dry frying pan, toast the 1 tbs fennel seeds and 1 tbs coriander seeds stirring for about 1 minute, or until they are fragrant. Dry roasting them like this helps to enhance the scent and taste of some spices, sometimes changing their flavour slightly.
Using a mortar and pestle, roughly grind them. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, you could probably put them into a zip lock bag and bash them with a rolling pin, or something similar. Put the roasted herbs aside.
In a nice big casserole style dish (or just a nice big pan) heat the 60ml oil over a hight heat. Working in a few batches, cook the lamb on all sides until it's lovely and brown. Once it's all browned, put the lamb  aside.
Add the chopped onion, carrot, celery and dry roasted herbs to the pan and cook, stirring, until the veggies are browned.
The 250ml wine (plus pour yourself a glass), 1L chicken stock, thyme and lamb to the pot. Stir it all together and bring to the boil.
Once the pot of tasty goodies are boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer for 3hrs, or until the lamb falls apart at the touch. I looked in on it every half an hour or so just to give it a stir and make sure things were progressing nicely, but that wasn't even 100% necessary.
While the lamb is tenderising, you can make the gremolata. Zest the orange.
Roughly chop the 120g pitted green olives.
And chop the 1/4 C pistachios.
Finely chop up 1/4 C flat-leafed parsley.
Put the orange zest, olives, pistachios and flat-leaf parsley into a bowl or container, and crush in the clove of garlic. Stir it all together, and season with salt and pepper and set aside.
When the lamb is cooked and is falling apart, remove it from the liquid. MAKE SURE you don't throw out the liquid, as that is like liquid gold once it's cooked down. Shred the meat using a couple of forks.
Strain the liquid through a sieve, but again, don't get rid of the liquid, but you can throw out the solids. Put the liquid back into the pan and simmer over a high heat for 15 - 20mins, or until its reduced, thick and sticky. It tastes amazing!
While the sauce is reducing, cook the pasta in a large pan of properly salted water. None of this skimping on the salt. Towards the end, add in the 300g broad beans and cook until they are done. Drain from the liquid. Add the reduced sauce to the meat, as well as the pasta and beans and stir it together.
Then all you need to do is serve and enjoy, so put a bunch of the pasta and beans into a bowl, add a heap the meat, and then top with a sprinkling of gremolata and a shaving or two of the pecorino.

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