I hope you’re all having a wonderful day!
I made braised lamb as a request for a Passover dinner. I cooked it as close to Kosher as I could without being a rabbi. The rabbi blessed it later.
Since the dinner was for 20 people, I got 6 ounces of lamb per person so that everybody could have at least 4-ounce portion. I always do that because you never know how much they’re going to eat. I have made the mistake of not having enough and having to substitute something else can be embarrassing.
The day before cooking the lamb, I made blonde French onion soup. I used that to braise the lamb. A blonde French onion soup is made with chicken stock and not beef stock. I believe it has more flavor but some don’t; to each his own.
I pulled out my crockpot and got it ready..
I bought boneless lamb roast and took the netting off, washed it and marked it on the barbeque. I do this to give it a little more rustic flavor and to seal the juices in.
I grow most of my own herbs, so I picked some rosemary sprigs to go in the bottom of the crockpot. They will give it a nice flavor and add to the French onion soup.
I cut the lamb into large pieces that make it easier for people to put on their plates. When it’s in big pieces, it’s more of a fight to get the right size piece and then you have the splash factor. This makes it much easier to deal with.
I also did a port wine reduction to highlight the flavor of the meat. A port wine reduction means that I cooked the wine separately in another pan so that I could cook all the alcohol out of it. Some people don’t like alcohol in their food especially when they have children eating it. The separate reduction insures that the alcohol is cooked out. When an alcoholic beverage is added to an existing sauce, the alcohol doesn’t cook out. A lot of the time when reducing wine, I like to add onions and garlic. They absorb the flavor of the wine while allowing the alcohol to reduce. It also flavors the whole mix so that you get the sweet and the tart in one. It also adds to removing the gaminess from the meat.
I loaded the lamb and a good majority of the soup into the crockpot with the rosemary on the bottom and topped it off with the wine reduction.
I set it to high and cooked it for 5 hours and then I reduced to low. I wanted to make sure it’s palatable and not gristly. I hate it when I get a plate of meat and it’s tough and chewy.
It came out really nice and if I had wanted, I could remove the onions and have a lamb flavored French onion soup. It’s another option.
I could have added more lamb in case there were more people but I didn’t. In a pinch, I have a tabletop pressure cooker so it can be cooked in less than an hour. These are pretty nifty to have since they are so convenient and they’re not like the ones we used to have years ago where it had to go on the stove and it had to be just so. I have a whole other story about cooking with tabletop pressure cookers.
We took the lamb in the crockpot to the house where they were having the dinner and only a few people showed up. Everybody loved it and most of them got to take some home. We got to take some of what they cooked home too. I like those kinds of gatherings. We get to hang out with friends, eat some good stuff and have some later when we get hungry again.
Blonde French Onion Soup
4 lbs onions, peeled and sliced
1-1/2 gallons of water
1 cup sherry, not cooking sherry
1 cup brandy
Chicken base. I add enough to season it without making it salty (trial and error) if it gets too salty, add the juice of 1 lemon
3 tbs Butter
Corn starch slurry (3 tbs corn starch to 1 cup water mixed)
Heat a large pot, add onions. Cook until opaque stirring constantly so they don’t burn.
When the onions are opaque, add the sherry and the brandy. Reduce to cook out the alcohol.
Add water and reduce 1/3.
Add the butter and the chicken base.
Cook a few minutes
**When cooking this soup to eat, add the cornstarch slurry.
This will make it a little thicker. I like thicker soups.
**If you are using this soup as an additive to meats, don’t slurry it. It will get too thick in the crockpot or whatever you’re cooking it in.
For service as soup, put a toasted baguette about an inch thick in the bottom of a bowl or cup, add the soup and place a slice of swiss or other tart cheese on top. Melt it in the oven and serve. It’s a great appetizer or addition to whatever you’re serving.
Have a great day and happy cooking!!