Lamb, lamb, lamb...
Flipping through old cookbooks to find something different to serve for Easter dinner I came upon a recipe I made at Le Cordon Bleu during my Superior Cuisine course: Lamb Rib Roast Baked in a Bread Crust served with Jus and an Artichoke Hazlenut Oil infused Purée.
The lamb is baked in yeast bread crust with a vegetable stuffing surrounding it and served with a purée of artichoke blended with hazlenut oil and a teensy bit of cream. Globe artichokes are in season now, and of course, Spring lamb is always symbolic of Easter. The addition of hazlenut oil adds extra warmth and comfort to the purée.
The tricky part of this recipe is getting the cooking time right. Since there is no way to check for done-ness of the lamb through the bread. I find that by the time the bread is browned the lamb is cooked perfectly. Be careful not to over sear the lamb in the pre-cooking steps. It needs to be rare.
The fun part of this recicpe is decorating the top of the lamb loaf. Why not make an Easter basket or give it some bunny ears?
Recipe from Le Cordon Bleu Superior Cuisine
Filet D'Agneau Du Boulanger, Purée D'Artichauts a L'Huile de Noisette
(Lamb Rib Roast in Bread Crust, Artichoke Purée with Hazelnut Oil)
5 large artichokes
30 ml hazlenut oil
2 tablespoons flour
Lamb and Jus:
1 lamb rib roast (best end neck – 8 ribs), fillet removed from bones and trimmed. Bones chopped.
1 chopped seeded tomato
Trimmings from vegetable stuffing
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup lamb stock (can substitute chicken, vegetable, or beef stock –without salt)
1 celery stalk
100 g mushrooms
20 g butter (1 Tablespoon)
1 T chopped parsley
500g country style bread flour (pain de campagne)
20g fresh compressed yeast (can substitute active dry yeast)
330ml water at 9˚c or 18˚F
kneading: 15 minutes at slow speed, form into ball, cover, keep warm
Decoration on Bread Loaf:
50 ml water
For Artichoke Purée:
1. Cut leaves off of artichokes with a serrated knife down to the bottom, including the tough outer part around the artichoke bottom. Scoop out the thistle in the center with a spoon (takes some work here). Rub with lemon.
2. Cook artichoke hearts in a "blanc" or simmering water with two heaping tablespoons of flour and the lemon used to rub the artichoke bottoms with. This will keep the artichoke hearts from turning black in color. Once the hearts are cooked, drain, and rinse in warm water to remove any flour.
3. Purée in a blender until smooth then add in hazlenut oil, cream, and salt in pepper
4. Place in a bain marie (pot in a water bath of warm water) and keep warm until ready to serve. Or refrigerate and reheat in a bain marie.
For vegetable stuffing:
1. Brunoise all ingredients (chop into a small perfect dice) and sauté in butter until just cooked. Stir in the chopped parsley and let cool. Use vegetable tirmmings for lamb jus.
For Meat and Jus:
1. Trim fat off of rib roast and trip filet off of bones. Then trim off the silvery tendons on fillet. (Or have butcher do this for you, but reserve all meat trimmings and the bones for jus.) Chop bones with a cleaver for jus.
2. Season lamb filet with salt and pepper on all sides. Heat a medium skillet on high heat with a tablespoon of olive oil. When oil is hot, sear lamb rare on all sides. This is around one minute for each side. Remove lamb to rest for five minutes and re-season with a sprinkle of salt. Refrigerate after it has rested.
3. Re-use the same skillet for the jus. Turn down heat to medium and add the lamb bones and any meat trimmings (not the fat). Do not stir too often, but let bones and meat get nice and brown. Once all is browned, deglaze pan with white wine and scrape up any carmelized bits. Add meat stock and any vegetable trimmings available including a chopped and seeded tomato (mushroom trimmings, parsley stalks). Let jus simmer on low heat until reduced by half. Reserve.
For Decorations and Bread:
1. Add the yeast to warm water and let dissolve and get foamy. Then add to flour. Put dough in a professional mixer with a dough hook and need for 1-2 minutes, then add salt and continue to knead for another fifteen minutes on low speed. The temperature of the bread should be around 24 – 26˚C by the time it's done (48-52˚F).
2. Form into a ball and place in a bowl, cover with a towel and let rest in a warm place.
3. While bread is rising make decoration dough. Add water to glucose and heat in a small pot and stir until mixed. Melt butter. Make a well in the flour and add water/glucose mixture and melted butter. Knead on a flour surface. Roll out dough into strips and create decorations. For wheat roll into 1/2" strips and then snip the top with scissors. Place on a floured baking sheet and refrigerate for 2-3 minutes.
4. Once the dough has risen punch down and knead by hand for 3 minutes, form into a ball and let it rise again.
5. Oil a baking sheet with olive oil.
6. Flour a large surface and roll out dough – not too thin – in a rectangle to almost fit the size of the baking sheet.. Place in the refrigerator for 3-5 minutes.
7. Take dough out of fridge and cut dough on the baking sheet to a size that will wrap around the fillet.
8. Place one quarter of vegetable stuffing down the middle of dough, the length of the fillet. Place fillet on top and pack the rest of the vegetable stuffing on top and around the sides. Seal edges of dough around the fillet with water and press to form a seam. Fold the ends of dough like a package and seal with water too. All seams should be on the top of the lamb loaf. Gently turn the loaf over so the seams are on the bottom of the baking sheet.
9. Brush top with water and place on decorations.
10. Leave to rest at room temperature for 10-15 minutes to expand a little.
11. Cook for 15 minutes on the baking sheet at 142˚C or 380˚F. Watch carefully to make sure decorations don't burn. Cover them with tin foil if necessary.
12. Take out of oven and let cool a little on a rack. Then serve and cut into slices at table with a serrated bread knife.