Sunday, February 15, 2009

Braised Leg of Lamb over Marscapone Polenta

I made this last night for the infamous V day. I sort of pieced this recipe together through a variety of Food Network chefs' lamb recipes, except for the polenta. Emeril Lagsse can take credit for the marscapone polenta part (but I lightened it a bit). We searched 7 grocery stores in town to find marscapone cheese— I had no idea it was so hard to come by in SLO! This dish is extremely fragrant and really delicious. I served it with a stuffed artichoke and pistachio creme brulee. I will post those recipes in the near future.


4 garlic cloves
1 small piece peeled fresh gingerroot
olive oil
2 pounds boneless leg of lamb steaks, cut into 2 inch strips
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1 onion, diced
1/2 T ground cumin
1/2 T ground coriander seeds
1/4 t cayenne
1 cup chopped drained canned tomatoes
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
juice of half a lemon

4 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups lowfat milk
a drizzle of olive oil
Freshly ground white pepper
1/2 cup polenta
1/8 cup half and half
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

steamed spinach
toasted pine nuts
diced roasted red peppers
2 T plain yogurt
balsamic reduction- find the recipe here

In a blender, combine the garlic cloves with the ginger and about 1/4 cup water, reserve. In a heavy stock pot, grease with olive oil and cook the lamb pieces until browned on all sides, but not cooked in the center. Remove lamb from pot and set aside. In the same pot, fry the cinnamon, cloves and bay leaf and cook for a minute. Next, add the diced onion and cook until translucent. Add the cumin through yogurt ingredients as well as the garlic/ginger mixture and stir thoroughly. Add the lamb back into the pot and fill with a little water until the liquid is half way up the meat. Bring mixture to a boil and then cover and turn to simmer and cook for two hours or until meat is fork tender.

When the lamb has about 45 minutes to go, start the polenta. Combine the broth, milk, olive oil and pepper in a pot and bring to almost a boil. Add the polenta into the pot in a slow stream, stirring constantly to avoid clumping. Bring ingredients to a boil and then turn down to low and cover for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. With 15 minutes remaining, add the marscapone and half and half and adjust the seasonings.

When lamb is done, pull out pieces with a slotted spoon and put into a bowl. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. To plate the recipe, put down a little polenta and then top with lamb and remaining toppings.

This version will feed 3 hungry people or 4 lighter eaters (it is very rich). I assume other cuts of lamb could be used (like shanks or shoulder) but this is all I could get fresh and organic in SLO that seemed suitable for braising. With this dish we had Adelaida Cellars 2005 Version wine.

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