Saturday, January 31, 2009

Lamb and artichoke hearts in egg-lemon sauce

Get a leg of lamb, about five pounds, and trim about three pounds of the leanest meat off in no bigger than three by three chunks. Save the bone and the rest of the meat.

Chop a large onion fine. In a seven-quart pot, put in two tablespoons or so of olive oil and sautee the onion until it's translucent but not burned. Put in the lamb and brown it until it’s not bloody anymore and it’s simmering in its own juice. Add some water to cover it and keep on simmering it. Stir in salt, pepper, some dill (fresh or dry, it doesn’t matter) and keep simmering. The seasonings strictly according to taste. The water is critical. Make sure to add enough as the meat simmers to keep it covered but no more than that. You’re not making soup. It’s going to simmer for at least an hour. You want to be able to cut the meat with a spoon.

Three pounds of frozen artichoke hearts from Trader Joe’s are perfectly fine. Peeling your own artichokes is a big pain and it turns your hands black. Put them in when you think the meat is tender enough. You should not need to add water. Simmer on low heat. They will add their own water. When they are tender enough for you, turn off the heat and keep it covered and hot.

Squeeze out the juice of two lemons. Separate out eight egg yolks. Beat the egg yolks as fine as you can in a largish bowl. Add the lemon juice and keep on beating. Turn the heat back on your pot which should still be boiling hot. Spoon hot broth from the pot into your egg-lemon bowl. Lots. And keep on beating. Spoon in several times. You want as much broth as eggs and lemon and for it to be very warm, even hot. Pour the broth-egg-lemon mixture into your pot, stir in well, and turn off the heat. Done. Eat it whenever. It’s just as good rewarmed.

You have a lamb bone with meat on it, left. I boil it in low heat, skimming off the brown stuff. After a couple of hours I have a wonderful broth. The dog gets the bone and scraps of meat on it and loves you forever. I cut up a couple or three of potatoes, throw in a pinch of salt and oregano, boil till the potatoes are soup-soft, and have a soup. I squeeze in a little lemon, too, on my plate.


Anonymous DRJ said...

I like everything in this dish so I know I will like this. The sauce reminds me of Hollandaise, something I especially like with artichokes. Would it spoil this recipe to add a touch of garlic after the onions are sauteed?

Sun Feb 01, 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger nk said...

I think it would. For a stronger aroma I would add more dill, and for more piquant more pepper and lemon.

For richness, celery and green onions (or shallots) are common. But put them in well before the artichokes -- the artichokes cook very fast. You want the artichokes al dente but the celery and onions/shallots mushy. But they are still a little untraditional with lamb. They are used with pork still on the bone, mostly.

This sauce is what they call "avgolemono" in Greek restaurants. It's also good in chicken soup with rice or minestrone, and in "dolmades" -- grape-leaf wrapped meat and rice dumplings.

Sun Feb 01, 02:06:00 PM  
Anonymous DRJ said...

That makes sense. Thanks, NK, I'll try it this week!

Sun Feb 01, 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger nk said...

You're welcome, DRJ.

BTW, I emailed this post to our Chicago friends, JD, DMac, daleyrocks, carlitos and Karl. They might stop by.

Sun Feb 01, 02:27:00 PM  
Anonymous daleyrocks said...

Good to see you DRJ.

Recipe sounds great.

I make hollandaise as well. Missing item is the butter.

Sun Feb 01, 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger nk said...

Now, now, we're poor shepherds and dirt farmers high up on a stony mountain. Let's save the butter for when we don't have lamb.

Mon Feb 02, 09:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I looooove avgolemono soup, and may try this recipe. I like to try and thicken chinese-style soups with egg, but it's so hard to get the temperature right. This makes more sense, adding the juice to the egg and not vice-versa.

Mon Feb 02, 12:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Venomous Kate said...

Oooh, avgolemono with lamb! I'm having a foodgasm just thinking about it.

Mon Feb 02, 03:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Karl said...

Hey, the cool kids are hangin' out here...

Tue Feb 03, 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger nk said...

I'd better put up a new post then.

Tue Feb 03, 07:49:00 PM  
Anonymous DRJ said...

I tried it last night and it was excellent. But, daley, how can you say there's no butter? I add beef or butter to everything I cook!

PS - NK: I'm trying it with pork later this week. Thanks again.

Thu Feb 05, 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger nk said...

I make a kind of pot roast with beef, butter and whiskey, but not often because it turns out very heavy.

Thu Feb 05, 04:11:00 PM  

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