February 22, 2003

Tandorri Lamb

I've been jonesing for lamb recently, but haven't had a good excuse to cook it. A whole boneless leg of lamb is almost four pounds of meat -- and somewhat difficult to use as leftovers. But on Friday I finally gave in and made some for Carol and myself.

In a food processor combine
- 4 red jalapeno peppers
- 1 bunch green onions
- juice of two lemons
- handful of cillantro leaves
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 T curry powder
- 2 T cumin
- 2 T paprika
- 1 T tumeric
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 C plain yogurt
- 5 drops red food coloring (you can omit this, but it does give the meat that classic red color in a way that the spices alone will not do)
Blend until smooth. Should be a lurid pinkish/orange color.

Unwrap the lamb (it often comes in a mesh bag), flattening it out. Open up the interior and butterfly the meat until a more or less even thickness. Flip over to the outside and shave off the majority of the thick fat and any silverskin.

Place the lamb in a marinade for at least 30 minutes, or up to two hours. I avoid leaving it too long because the acid in the lemons and yogurt can make the meat a bit mushy. Traditionally it is often marinated overnight, but then again, traditionally the lamb is also cooked well-done.

Build a fire on one side of your grill. I used chunk charcoal plus some tabasco wood barrel shavings (no real reason for the later other than I had them to hand). You want a medium high fire.

Shake off excess marinade from lamb. Grill lamb for 5-10 minutes per side, or until you have a nice brown color. Then move the lamb to the offset side of the fire, baste with remaining marinate, cover the grill, and cook to your desired done-ness. Medium will take about 20 minutes.

To serve with this I made saffron basmati rice (which will be used with the leftover lamb to make a berriani later this week).

And, what I call "hack" nann bread. I used a commercial bread dough, which I thawed well and cut into 8 pieces. I rolled these out flat and long -- I try to get them as thin as I can. I placed them directly on a baking stone in a 450 degree oven with the convection fan going. Turned once or twice with tongs to ensure even baking over about 10 minutes.

When the bread came out of the oven, just before serving I dipped each piece that was going onto the plate in clairified butter.

Other modifications to this can include adding seasame seeds, cillantro, garlic, poppy seeds, or other kinds of nuts to the top of the bread, either just prior to baking, or added after dipping in the butter. You can also roll these ingredients into the bread (after rolling thin, add the ingredients, fold over the bread, roll thin again). If you get real carried away with the toppings, you might want to bake on a sheet pan on top of the baking stone to avoid things getting onto the stone.

The bread is much better if you make it from scratch and include yogurt in the dough, but after a long week of work the "hack" approach works out fine.

Posted by dowdy at February 22, 2003 08:44 AM