Whenever I take a trip to the store, a couple of items that aren't on my grocery list make their way into my cart. When I spotted a California-raised lamb shoulder at the meat counter, I couldn't stop myself from sliding it into the shopping cart.
I was eager to experiment with lamb because of a recent disappointing experience with imported Australian lamb. Ironically, I found an Australian recipe that I decided to try. If I made it with a local piece of meat, the dish might taste better.
And taste better it did! The lamb is filled with a rich stuffing of eggplant, onions, bell pepper, wine-soaked dried currants, and toasted pine nuts. The bold flavor of the lamb balances out the sweetness of the stuffing and the bitterness of the chard resulting in a dish that is succulent and scrumptious. To try this rewarding lamb dish,
Currant and pine nut stuffing
1/3 cup dried currants
1/3 cup Merlot
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
4 anchovies, finely chopped
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 small eggplant, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper
2 tsp brown sugar, or to taste
1 tsp fresh or 2 tsp dried Greek oregano
1 lemon, finely grated rind only
For the lamb:
1 1/2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, butterflied
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 bunch Swiss Chard
1/2 tsp nutmeg, or to taste
1 tsp fresh Greek Oregano
1/2 cup Merlot wine
- For stuffing, combine currants and wine in a bowl.
- Chop eggplant, garlic, onions and red bell pepper.
- Heat oil in a large frying pan, add onion, garlic, anchovy, and nuts and sauté for 5 minutes over medium heat or until soft and nuts start to brown. Add eggplant and bell pepper, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until soft.
- Season to taste with sugar, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Add, wine-soaked currants, oregano and lemon rind and cook for another 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Cool.
- Preheat oven to 390°F. Place lamb skin-side down on a bench, spread over stuffing, roll up tightly, rather than use twine to secure the lamb, I used these stretch hot cooking bands! Combine 2 teaspoons of olive oil, salt, nutmeg, Greek oregano season to taste and rub over lamb. Place lamb in the baking dish and pour 1/2 cup merlot in the bottom of the pan.
- Roast for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 375°F and roast for 1 hour for medium. Cover with foil and rest for 10 minutes.
- Heat remaining oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, add garlic and cook for 1 minute or until golden. Add chard and cook for 5 minutes or until tender, then add leaves and cook for another 5 minutes or until wilted. Slice lamb thinly and serve on a bed of chard topped with any extra stuffing.
- Main Dishes, Lamb