Happy friday cheeseheads, today we have a recipe post in addition to Food Porn Friday! We were lucky enough to be chosen as contestants in the Lamb Pro-Am blogger competition put on by BostonChefs.com. Each of the 10 contestants received a (massive) boneless leg of lamb courtesy of The American Lamb Board. Here’s how it works: we each create a fun recipe using our lamb, post it today, and Boston Chefs readers (a.k.a. you guys) vote on your favorite. So be sure to stay tuned for the voting announcement, there will be plenty of links from us on Twitter, Facebook and the like.
We wanted to create a dish that incorporates unique flavors and reminds us of fall. We have both been on serious pumpkin kicks for the past couple weeks, so using it in our recipe was a no brainer. Without further adeiu, we give you…Moroccan Style Lamb Chapati with Pumpkin Tzatziki Sauce:
If you haven’t heard of chapati — don’t worry, we just discovered it ourselves — it’s basically a cross between a tortilla and naan. As for the lamb, we stewed it with Moroccan spices, pickled some veggies, prepared the yogurt sauce and wrapped it all up in homemade chapati to serve. Gyro style. Yup.
The recipe is a four step proccess, which we broke up into a two day cooking project. The great thing about this recipe is each of the four components taste fabulous when combined, but are also independently satisfying. Here’s how we did it:
Step 1: Prepare the Pickles
Two days before cooking the lamb, we pickled some vegetables. We used a basic pickling formula that gave the veggies a light vinegary taste that allowed them to compliment – not overpower – the lamb and the sauce.
- 5 cups white vinegar
- 3 cups water
- 8 cups sugar
- 3 pickling cucumbers, thinly sliced
- One red onion, roughly sliced
- Half a head of white cabbage, chopped
- 4 large carrots, julienned
- 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 1 tsp corriander seeds
- 1.2 tsp cumin seeds
- 12 whole garlic cloves
- 4 mason jars
- Stuff all the chopped veggies into mason jars
- Heat a dry saute pan to medium heat and toast all the seeds for a few minutes
- Prepare the onion brine: combine equal parts vinegar and sugar in a saucepan with1/4 of the toasted seeds and 3 whole garlic cloves (we used 2 cups, but had leftovers – 1 is probably fine for small mason jars)
- Bring mixture to a boil, and pour hot brine over onions
- Seal mason jar and store until needed
- Prepare the brine for everything else: combine 3 cups vinegar, 3 cups water, 3 cups sugar, the rest of the toasted seeds and the garlic in saucepan
- Bring to a boil, then pour hot brine over each veggies – try and split up the seeds and the garlic evenly
- Seal mason jars and store until needed
* If you are pickling for 3 or more days, boiling isn’t even necessary, it just speeds along the process
Step 2: Time to get Lambtastic
- 1 boneless leg of lamb
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1 quart Chicken Stock
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ceylon
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tsp Ras al Hanout – (Moroccan spice blend)
- 1 heaping spoonful of Harissa
- Olive oil for browning lamb
- Dried dates, chopped
- Kosher salt
- Chop the leg of lamb into big ass chunks, and by that we mean separate the muscles and cut them into thirds, then sprinkle with kosher salt
- Heat a dutch oven on high until it’s absurdly hot
3. Sear lamb chunks on each side until evenly browned (do this in batches so you don’t crowd the pan)
4. Remove a bit of the oil and sauté the onions in the same pot
5. Deglaze with a bit of chicken stock and a splash of vinegar
6. Add the lamb back into the pot on top of the onion, along with more chicken stock, and an additional half cup of vinegar. Make sure the chunks of lamb are almost completely covered.
7. Add cumin, Ras-el Hanout, Harissa, cinnamon, bay leaf and chopped up dates
8. Turn to low heat and cover ¾ of the way, now it’s time to play the waiting game… for about two hours.
9. 2 hours later…Drain that shit, take the meat and shred it with your hands. Cave man style. What? Add more cumin, Ras al Hanout and all dat jazz.
Whatever you do, do not discard the liquid! This liquid was later used to remoisten the lamb and chapati dough as well as in the pumpkin tzatziki, to give it a more complex flavor. *Lamb juice is the secret ingredient to everything.
Step 3: Chapati, Chapati (we like to party)
We made our chapati with the same Moroccan spices as the lamb, the spices gave it a sort of grainy texture that was perfect for our end result.
- 4 cups of flour
- 4 tbsp yogurt
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 Spoonfuls of Harissa
- 2 tsp Ras-al Hanout
- 2 tsp canola oil – (used for lining pan, do not use olive oil for this)
- 4 tbsp Lamb Juice from the pot (a.k.a. awesome sauce)
- A little water (if needed, to keep it moist)
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees
- Prepare dough by combining flour, yogurt, olive oil, Harissa and Ras al Hanout
- You’ll need to mix the ingredients then knead the bread for a solid 10-15 minutes
- Start to heat pan so its really hot by the time you need it
- Roll out the dough and cut into circles – we went with 6 inches, but size is totally up to you
Once you’re ready to cook them, throw some canola oil in the hot pan and slap down a piece of chapati. Immediately put it in the oven. Wait until the side starts to brown (approximately 2 minutes) then flip it and repeat.
Step 4: Homemade Awesomesauce – A Pumpkin Tzasiki of Sorts
- 1 medium pumpkin
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 3 tbsp butter
- 2-3 tbsp vinegar
- Ras-al hanout
- Olive oil
It’s pumpkin roasting time!
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
- Carve out the inside of a small pumpkin and scoop out all the seeds.
- Coat the inside of the pumpkin with butter. Then add in some white wine, butter and cinnamon
4. Put whole pumpkin (with the top on it, so steam stays inside) in the oven for an hour and a half, or until fork tender.
5. Let it cool, then peel off skin. It’ll resemble a giant, pretty sunflower, yay.
5. Drain it then remove the pumpkin in chunks, placing about a third of it in a food processor
6. Puree the roasted pumpkin with olive oil, yogurt, vinegar, kosher salt, lamb sauce, Harissa and raw garlic. Season to taste.
We also threw in some charred scallion for added flavor and garnish. The end result — a new take on a traditional tzasiki. Maybe not even really tzasiki at all. The pumpkin and yogurt combination was tangy and creamy, but the lamb sauce and vinegar along with the spices cut it perfectly, adding an interesting richness a.k.a zing/pow/kablam!
Now that the ingredients are complete, it’s time to assemble…
Ta-Da! All the ingredients worked together perfectly, we were thrilled with the outcome. The rich sauce kind of melted over the lamb, then the pickles added a light crunch!
Just a little behind-the-scenes footage — a glipse at how all the magic happens…
Hope you enjoy reading this just as much as we enjoyed making it, and if you’re eager to try it for yourself then vote for Just Add Cheese and you’ll get a chance to try it at an upcoming event! More details on that to come!
– Jacki & Meesh