lunes, 22 de agosto de 2011

Meze, part 1: Roast leg of Lamb, Marinated in Yoghurt and Mint

Ok, I know it seemed like I abandoned coooking lately, but work really tied me up for the past couple of weeks. I'm gonna make it up to you by publishing a long thread of posts form the SAME F***ING PARTY, coz I can't afford to cook like this every goddamn weekend...This time, we went the whole 9 yards and actually sacrificed a freaking lamb!!!
There's so many of them, they're practically begging for it!
And who knows lamb better than the Middle East? NO ONE, people.

So hate me all you want, gringos, but middle eastern food does not equal anti-americanism and terrorists. If you feel like running away at the sight of the slightest arabic-sounding word, then you're missing out on some of the best food you can throw on a grill.

Meze is a mediterranean and middle eastern concept for lunch (in Turkish: to taste), akin to chinese dim sum and spanish tapas, where lots of different plates are served in small portions, accompanied by some sort of digestive drink. Greeks drink ouzo, Turks drink raki, Syrians drink arak... but ingredient availability forced us to drink Tequila. Not that it's a bad thing, though.

Start with two legs of freshly slaughtered lamb. Rinse them down with cold water and trim some excess fat from it. No too much, though.
Set them aside for a while and chop a whole bunch of mint (just the leaves).
In this case, peppermint.

To that, add 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped, and about a fistful of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Put that in a bowl with about 1/3 of a cup of olive oil, essentially making mint chimichurri
Now break out your best greek yoghurt and add about 4 cups to the mix, along with some sea salt.
This is your yoghurt sauce. You'll never tolerate shitty store-bought ranch dressing again, I swear. Save 2 cups to serve with the meat and place both lamb legs inside a large plastic bag along with the rest of the yoghurt. Let it marinate overnight and dream of awesomeness.

Greek yoghurt is thick, tangy, unctuous and delicious... pure Nirvana right there

Never forget to fondle your meat. Lamb loves to be fondled
Now set your lamb legs over white-hot coals sprinkled with your last BBQ's ashes (WHAT?! you throw your ashes away?! I pity you). The ashes will even the heat distribution and minimize smoke as fat drips from the meat. Or in this case, indirect heat over a gas grill set at medium.

Cover your grill and get a drink. Meze is supposed to be served with booze after all. Don't mess with the lamb for 30 minutes so it develops a crust.
Gentlemen.... start your engines
Now, after 2 or 3 scotches (30mins, by our standards), uncover and flip

At this point, the smell is so wonderful, it attracts stray neighbors. Gloat in your grilling prowess. You deserve it
Now, while the meat cooks and right before the booze kicks in and you're too hammered to operate a mortar and pestle, grind 2 large sprigs of fresh (I mean it, FRESH) rosemary with 1/2 lb of kosher salt. This will be your seasoning once you serve.

Watch those thumbs, dumbass
Once you've pounded the shit out of that rosemary, the salt will turn a lovely light shade of green and the whole room will smell like vacations.
Also, rim your margaritas with this and you'll be getting laid like Frank Sinatra
Now, 30 minutes have passed, it's time to check your meat for doneness. This being a large piece of bone-in lamb, you have to sneak a peek and see for yourself.

We like our lamb a little on the rare side,but feel free to shave some meat off and return the pieces to the fire. Serve with pita bread, the yoghurt sauce, seasoned salt and assorted salads (recipes in future posts).

You know you're doing it right when parents tweet your cooking, son

Printer-Friendly Version, for those of you with teflon coating on your brains:
2 legs of lamb (approx 12 lbs)
1 lt (4 cups) of thick, full fat greek yoghurt
1 large bunch of mint, finely chopped
1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
Sea salt
Olive oil, at least 1/3 of a cup
Booze, lots of it
  1. Rinse and dry your lamb, place in a plastic bag.
  2. combine mint, parsley, garlic, yoghurt, olive oil and salt in a bowl. Add 2 cups to lamb and marinate at least overnight. save the rest for the grilled meat.
  3. light up your grill, start drinking.
  4. grill over white-hot coals lightly covered in ashes, covered, for 30 mins, then flip and cook for another 30 minutes.
  5. pound the shit out of that rosemary and salt in a mortar and pestle.
  6. Slice, serve, and feel awesome

    3 comentarios:

    1. faltaron fotos, como la del corderito antes del asador, abrazando a su chef jajaja

    2. nadie hubiera comido... pero estan en flickr!!!!!

    3. Me gustó mucho el estilo en la redacción, y se ve muy rico.