Sunday, March 16, 2008

Jamie At Home: Episode 10, Lamb

Jamie Oliver says it’s wintertime for him (almost spring for us) and it’s awful weather and his garden is slowing down. So he focuses on meat, lamb to be precise. Instead of having your own livestock (which he doesn’t have, just a garden, remember?), Jamie suggests having a relationship with someone locally (or over the Internet, which sound like online dating) so he brings his friend Daphne, who I guess is some kind of sheep rancher. She brings him a whole lamb.

So we get some education on quality lamb. Daphne says the key thing for quality lamb is a mixture of grass, wind, sun and rain. What more does Dolly want? She also says that happy animals basically taste better because when they’re stressed the meat will be tough. And who wants tensed meat? I guess that’s why the Japanese pay a premium for hand-massaged Kobe beef. Daphne also says people think pink meat is cleaner and better, but actually the darker the meat, the better the quality. Jamie chimes in that it should be a lovely maroon color with fat marbling. I love lamb.

Jamie’s in his sun room kitchen (you know, where he sits down and cook), and he’s making lamb kebabs. (Get the complete recipe here on the Food Network site.) He gets a shoulder of lamb and he cuts off the sinew part, which can be tough and stringy. Then he cuts the lamb into inch chunks and throws them into a food processor along with fresh thyme, a teaspoon of chili powder, 1/2 a teaspoon of cumin, a fancy herb called sumac (about two pinches), sea salt and pepper, and then finally some pistachio nuts. He pulses it to grind it all up together. Jamie says you don’t want a fine puree, but a bit chunky.

He gets these metal skewers that looks pretty dangerous. You can poke an eye out with them. Then he does this weird thing where he squeezes a handful of the meat along the skewer. I’ve never done that with my skewers. He says it helps to leave the skewers in the fridge for a couple of hour to let the meat set. He drizzles the skewers with olive oil and places them right onto a hot grill.

He gets a bowl of parsley leaves. Then with a hand mandolin, he thinly slices a red onion. (He says if you don’t have a mandolin you can just grate them.) Then he adds a pinch of salt and juice from half of lemon onto the onions and mixes them all together to soften the onion slices and soften the bitterness.

He checks on his kebabs, and when he turns them over he’s all excited about the grilling. What man doesn’t like fire and meat? Jamie sure does.

Jamie’s going to make a salad to go with his kebabs, so he gets some romaine, radicchio, rocket and mint. He does a simple lemon juice, olive oil and salt dressing, and tosses everything together. Then he’s going to assemble his lamb.

He starts with a flat bread (untoasted) and lays some of his salad greens on top, then some of his parsley and onions, then finally the meat off the kebab, breaking them into chunks. He sprinkles a few more chili powder, thyme and other spices onto the meat and adds a spoon of yogurt before wrapping up everything with the flat bread. He basically just made a wrap and he’s loving it. Very Greek and Indian at the same time.

Jamie’s back in his garden. It’s another education session and this time he’s chatting with his gardener, Brian. They’re talking about the winter affecting the herbs, although they’ve had a mild winter, it sounds. I didn’t really get much from this conversation and I notice Jamie’s not cooking much in the winter. This episode seems shorter than most, don’t you think?

Incredible Roasted Shoulder of Lamb

Jamie is really just going to make one other dish in this episode, and it’s a slow-roasted lamb shoulder. (Complete recipe here.) He says everyone goes for the lamb legs and rack, but he says shoulder is great, especially when you slow cook and it’s all sweet and delicious.

He begins by scoring the lamb shoulder. On a roasting tray, he adds a few cloves of garlic along with fresh rosemary. He seasons his lamb with salt and pepper (on both sides) and places it in the roasting tray, then adds more garlic cloves and rosemary. He covers the tray with tin foil and says he has his oven at “full whack” (I’m guessing 500 degrees) and puts his lamb in the oven, immediately turning down the heat to 350 degrees. He wants the initial heat to seal the meat’s exterior while keeping the interior juicy. Now he’s cooking this for four hours. No wonder he can’t make anything else this episode, it’s all about this slow-cooked lamb.

Of course, with the magic of television we get to see the lamb after the commercial break and it’s so tender that he can easily pull out this big bone from the lamb. He gets the garlic cloves and says to keep the soft garlic meat, which he’s going to use for the sauce (or gravy).

He gets rid of the rosemary and excess oil from the roasting pan, and then starts by adding some flour to create a thickening agent. He finely chops some fresh mint and then a whole bunch of capers, and all this goes into the pan along with some chicken stock. He brings this to a boil and then simmers it until it thickens.

More lamb? Nope, Jamie’s got some swede, potatoes and carrots that he boiled in a pot and then he drains out the water and he gets a hand smasher to make a mashed vegetable dish. It’s definitely more colorful than plain mashed potatoes. He adds some butter and salt for taste and he’s ready to plate up, as they say.

He adds some cider vinegar to his sauce and pours it into a gravy bowl. Then he’s also made some boiled green vegetables (he should have just steamed it to retain some of the nutrients, but I guess boiling is a British thing) and he plates that with the mashed potatoes and adds a slice of his tender roasted lamb and he’s golden. Super easy. Did he really do anything different with lamb? Who cares. Lamb is so good by itself that it’s all about the sides. LOL.

Must be a British Thing:
Just some clarification on some of the terms Jamie uses.

Tin foil=aluminum foil

Jamieisms heard in this episode:



Rock ‘N Roll

Jamie At Home airs on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. on the Food Network. Visit Jamie’s Web site at More on the accompanying book for the series here.

1 comment:

foodhoe said...

Chef Ben, it's so cool that you post these summaries of the show. I just put up a post about these very kebabs. It's a good recipe... Brilliant!