This hour on Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders, Jean Feraca and her guest talk about the Easter food in Italy and Greece.
BRAISED LAMB IN WINE SAUCE WITH EGG AND LEMON
©International Cooking School Of Italian Food And Wine, Mary Beth Clark
Easter Monday meals extend the appreciation of spring lamb by spit-roasting it at a countryside picnic, including it in a sauce and tossing it with fresh pasta or serving it braised as a stew with a delicious wine sauce thickened with egg and lemon or Brodettato-style. Usually made with leftover roasted young lamb, this dish is equally great when made with fresh leg or shoulder cuts. If you bought too large a leg of lamb for Easter, simply cut off some of the meat before cooking the leg, refrigerate, then use it for this dish. (I do this and it's so convenient!) You can use the same dry Italian white wine as in the Abbacchio al Forno, Pinot Grigio, Muller-Thurgau, Roero Arneis or Verdicchio, and either meat or vegetable broth. Thickening the wine sauce with egg yolk and fresh lemon juice will remind you of Greek avgolemono sauce, possibly a direct result of Greece's influence on Rome and the Papacy. Lamb cooked in this manner is really satisfying casalinga, or homestyle, cooking. Serve with braised artichokes or steamed green beans and a crusty loaf of bread and you'll present a wonderful dinner that took very little time to prepare.
- Mary Beth Clark, award-winning cooking teacher, chef and founder of The International Cooking School Of Italian Food And Wine for special hands-on cooking courses in Bologna
- unsalted butter
- extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 2 thin slices prosciutto, chopped
- 2 pounds lamb, from leg or shoulder, 1 1/2" cubes
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup dry Italian white wine
- 1 cup broth, almost enough to cover lamb
- 2 strips fresh lemon peel
- 2 large egg yolks
- chopped fresh parsley
- fresh marjoram or lemon thyme leaves, optional
- fresh lemon juice (about 2 tablespoons or 1 lemon)
- salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
- Braising the Lamb: In a medium-size casserole or deep, broad pot with cover, melt the butter with olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion for a minute, add the prosciutto and stir. Add the lamb and sear on all sides, about 3-4 minutes, careful not to burn the onion. Sprinkle the flour over the browned lamb cubes, toss, then pour in the wine and deglaze by scraping the bottom releasing the caramelized bits. Simmer for 2 minutes.
Add enough broth so it almost covers the lamb, bring to a boil, add the lemon peel, season to taste. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, cover and braise for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by half. At this point, the lamb will be tender, with about 1 1/2 cups liquid remaining, and it will look cloudy because of the flour. Later this flour helps thicken the sauce. Remove from the heat, remove the lemon peel, and transfer the lamb to a heated serving bowl. Leave the sauce pot covered and very hot.
- Making the Sauce: Put the egg yolks, parsley and marjoram or lemon thyme in a small mixing bowl and whisk in the lemon juice until blended. Touch the sauce and confirm it is still very hot. (Briefly re-heat it if necessary.)
Remove the cover from the sauce and slowly pour the yolk-juice mixture into the stock, continuously stirring with a rubber spatula. Over very low heat, warm the sauce until it thickens, about 1 minute. Immediately remove from the heat. If this sauce gets too hot, the yolks cook and look like shreds of scrambled eggs. (If this happens, don't worry about it, it's still delicious.) Either add the lamb to this luscious velvety sauce and stir coating thoroughly, or pour the sauce over the lamb stew that is in the serving bowl. Serve immediately.