Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Leg of Lamb in Pink Yogurt and Allspice Sauce

Hey folks. Sorry I haven't updated in a while. The weekend before last, I went to the beach on Long Island and got a nice tan. Met up with some friends there. Starved myself so I wouldn't look like a bloated whale. I did allow myself some raw oysters and clams... and gallons of margaritas. Woo! Life is good.

Disaster befell "The Lab" this past weekend when my careless ogre of a roommate left the freezer door open. After two days of not being home, I found the kitchen in a messy state with a frantically beeping freezer. The temperature inside was above 30 degrees. A melted puddle of sludge and bloody liquid surrounded packages of overly soft pieces of meat. The stench conjured memories of dumpsters and rotten meat covered in maggots and garbage that has been left out too long.

I ended up throwing almost everything out -- there were a few exceptions: tightly sealed jars and vacuum-packed bags of non-meat entities. I hate throwing out food so I tried to save as much as possible.

The casualties:
Baby back ribs
Two whole chickens
One whole pork loin
Two pig's feet
Package of rib-eye steaks
One filet mignon
Package of tilapia
Package of tuna steaks
Two cartons of ice cream
Four fresh sea bass
Three lobster bodies
Four king salmon from Alaska
Tons of shrimp
Packages of raviolis and wontons

Ugh. When he comes home (estimated two months from now), I am going to demand reparations. Or something. I'm really not sure. What do you guys suggest?

Anyway, on to the meal. Last night, I prepared a variation of a recipe I've seen on, a site that hasn't posted an update since late 2009. I like the blogger's high-quality photography and interesting take on Mediterranean and European cuisine, so I have read most of his articles and cooked (at least twice!) a lot of his dishes.

The first step of this recipe calls for making stabilized yogurt. This is prepared with one egg white, one tablespoon of corn starch, and a liter/quart of white yogurt. I have always used plain yogurt in the past but I mistakenly purchased vanilla yogurt this time. Oops.

I whisked and simmered this in a sauce pan for five minutes until well-incorporated. At this point, I decided that the vanilla wasn't so bad an idea.

Next, I prepared the lamb. I found this leg of lamb from Whole Foods. It is a magnificent three-pound deboned leg of lamb. The butcher went to the back to retrieve it from whatever mysterious source he procures meat from. He cut it fresh right in front of me, accurate to the hundredth of a pound (I asked for 3.00 lbs, and he gave me 2.99).

I tied the leg with some of my own string to maintain its shape and used the point of a sharp knife to make incisions inside the lamb. Then, I stuffed it with delicious delicious garlic. All around, all around.

I heated some oil in a large heavy pot and seared the lamb all over. It was a beautiful golden brown color on all sides.

I then added one cup of tomato puree (sauce) and one cup of yogurt. You can add the tomato puree first and let it caramelize or add the yogurt immediately if you don't really care.

Mix it together, and it becomes a dazzling pink/orange color.

In the above photo, you can also see I added some crushed allspice berries.

I fluted the pot with tin foil on all edges and then put the lid on. The point is to created a sealed chamber in which the lamb cooks slowly. I lowered the heat until it was at a bare simmer, with the tin foil providing the tightly sealed space in which to cook evenly.

I cooked it 2 or 3 hours...

...and sliced it open. It was medium rare inside. Pink and tender.

The final plating.

Great dish to prepare for a large group of friends. It serves about ten people. You can cook the lamb as long as you would like as long as the pot is sealed well and the heat is low. Sometimes the pressure of the steam will pop the lid off if well-sealed enough. You just have to lower the temperature some more.

Had there been a bone, the meat would've fallen off from being so tender. The sauce was sweet and tangy and light. Mmm.

Leg of lamb from Whole Foods
Tomatoes and Yogurt from Whole Foods


  1. You should take some photos of those food you thrown away.

  2. Your cooking techniques looks much improved. Almost like professional. Keep going, we like that.