Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Abbacchio alla Romana
This delicious thing is based on a recipe that my friend Bevan sent me. The two main differences in our versions are that, instead of cooking till just done on top of the stove, for about 20 minutes, I slow-cook the lamb in the oven. Try both ways. And in his version, the anchovies are crushed to a paste and stirred in at the end; in mine - and I double the quantity - they are added at the beginning.
Should you be nervous about the salted fishes, don't be. They simply melt and blend seamlessly into the overall, complex flavour. Divine.
2 lbs lamb, cut in bite size pieces
3 Tbsp butter
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bunch of rosemary
1 bunch of sage
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 -1 cup water
In a heavy pot with a lid, brown the meat well all over in the butter, in batches. You know not to over crowd the pan, or all you will get is steamed, grey meat.
When it is all browned, return the meat to the pan and deglaze with the vinegar and water, stirring to scrape up the nice bits. Add the garlic, rosemary, anchovies and pepper...Put the lid on the pot, and pop into a low oven (250-'F/ 100'C) for four hours, minimum. Towards the end check the liquid level, and reduce if necessary, but it will probably be a nice juice by then and need to interference. I could see braising a leg of lamb like this, slow, slow, slowly...
I serve this with warm, crusty bread and a side of garlicky yogurt and mint. Fried bread would be good too, with the lamb piled on top!