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Monday, April 22, 2013

Roasted lamb back-straps in red wine sauce

What I like about lamb meat is its highly traditional background (back to biblical times), but also its continued use and presence in modern food culture. According to an article in Saveur (forgot when it was published, but sometime last year), it's still the most consumed type of meat in the world! (Ok, counted together with young goat meat, but still). I wouldn't have imagined that, would have guessed chicken or something. Or beef considering all the burgers. But then again, if you think about the Middle East AND many parts of the western world too (like Great Britain or France) that have lamb meat on the menu so often, it kind of makes sense. 
I confess that I was reluctant to it in my youth, but at least for culture's sake I overcame my initial wariness.

I cooked this with my mom sometime last year during the Easter holidays. Since Easter is approaching again (for us at least - we're Orthodox), I decided now it would be a good time to share the whole menu here. :)
The back-strap part of a lamb is one of the most tender and juicy you can get. Ours were a gift from Bogdan's grandma and were long marinated in a red wine and spice combination that left them even more tender and insanely flavored. 
The side-dish of spring potatoes with ramps and pine seeds matched the meat wonderfully.
But the real star of the dish that elevated it to a whole new level of goodness was the mint and pine sauce (sort of pesto-like) that we drizzled all over the roast meat pieces. You can see both of these wonderful additions in the picture above of the final dish.
If you plan to make this spectacular menu, it will be easier than you think and the fanciest roast lamb dish you've ever had. Enjoy :)

Last year: Sincronizadas with cheddar, turkey ham and guacamole (Mexican).
Two years ago: Ricotta and black olives crostini, Carrot, ginger and caramel marmalade, Quick fried banana breakfast (Kewra-flavored) and Simple black and white loaf cake (cozonacel).

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

  • 3 large lamb back-straps (bone in, 1.5 kg total)
  • 600 ml dry red wine
  • 7-8 bay leaves
  • 2-3 tablespoons dried and chopped tarragon leaves
  • leaves from a bunch of thyme (4 tablespoons)
  • cloves from 1 garlic head
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
Mix the wine with all the other ingredients besides meat (the garlic previously crushed). Pour in a large dish and place the cleansed meat pieces in it. Let it marinated at least overnight (up to three days) in the fridge.

When you're ready to cook it, preheat oven to 200 degrees C (medium-high) and put the dish in it. Bake for 2 and a half hours - 3. Once every 30 minutes check if it's done and pour sauce from the dish on top of the meat and / or turn it. 

When it's done, take out, allow to cool a bit, then transfer meat scraps (they'll detach from the bone very easily and they'll be so tender it will almost fall apart) to serving plates.
Top with the mint sauce (if making) and add a generous helping of the potatoes with ramps.

It's done, dig in! :)

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