July 8, 2007
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Whiskey Lamb

BlogHui founder Lynsey Gedye sent a note regarding the Whiskey Chicken.

The chicken sounds utterly divine, but I felt I should just slip you a note to say that my mother (at 90 is still driving her car and running her business - including recently telling the bank what they could do and taking her business to another company) always uses a whisky - um - rinse(?) over lamb. A good lash of scotch painted over lamb does away with that sheep-iness and assists with the enrichment of the gravy. Any old scotch will do - I can remember coming home from overseas to find Mum had used up the cooking whisky and had moved smoothly into my 'secret' single malt collection. See? It's ok for men to weep.

The usual rosemary and garlic are all part of the joy - and the tradition here is to serve the lamb with mint sauce, which is good; but not as good as my sister's sacred apple jelly with rosemary. Cold lamb on fresh bread and the rosemary apple jelly... divine. Now I would joyfully share the jelly recipe with you if I had ever been trusted with it in the first instance, but sadly, there appears to be more tests to go - did I mention sacred? Our family takes food disturbingly seriously.

I adapted this to a lamb casserole that's cooking right now: a half-leg, browned in a bit of oil and nestled in a Dutch Oven with mushrooms, baby turnips from our farm box, twenty cloves of garlic, and a bit of thyme and rosemary. I deglazed the browning pan with 2oz of scotch and washed the browned lamb with it, and then added a cup of dry white wine to the pot. It's tightly sealed and stewing in a very moderate oven.

The lamb was wonderful, and the jam — one lemon, sliced lengthwise into eights, seeded, and tossed into the Cuisinart with a handful of cilantro, 2T olive oil, 1/8c sugar, 1/2t salt, was a revelation. Terrific with roasted meat. Who knew?