lamb biryani

1 tsp whole black peppercorns
5 whole cloves
1/2 tsp cardamom seeds, removed from pods
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 1" cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp saffron threads
2 tbsp boiling water
2 tbsp raisins or currants
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 large onions, very thinly sliced
1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger root
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 lb lean leg of lamb, cut in 1" cubes
1 1/2 c drained yogurt or tomato purée
2 c basmati rice
2 tbsp sliced almonds
2 jalapeños or banana peppers, chopped
2 tbsp fresh mint leaves
2 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves
  1. To make the spice mixture, in a small bowl combine the peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and nutmeg. Heat a small, heavy skillet on medium-high heat. Add spices and cook for 30-60 seconds, shaking pan, until very fragrant. Do not burn. Cool. Grind in a spice grinder, old coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Stir in cayenne and salt.
  2. In a small bowl crush saffron with the back of a spoon or pestle. Pour boiling water over top and reserve. Plump currants or raisins in boiling water for 5 minutes, then drain and reserve.
  3. Heat oil in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add onions and do not stir until they start to brown. Cook until well browned, about 10 minutes. Remove half the onions and reserve for garnish.
  4. To the remaining onions in pan, add ginger and garlic. Cook for a few minutes. If pan is too hot, add about 1/4 c water. Cook until water has evaporated.
  5. Add lamb to skillet. Do not stir for about 2 minutes to allow it to brown. Add spice mixture (not saffron) and combine well. Add drained yogurt or tomato purée. Cover and cook gently for about 1 hour, or until lamb is tender.
  6. Meanwhile, rinse rice until water runs clear. Place rinsed rice in a bowl of cold water and soak for about 30 minutes. Drain well. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add rice and cook for 5 minutes after water returns to a boil. Drain well. Drizzle with saffron mixture.
  7. To a lightly oiled 5-quart casserole dish, add one-third of the rice. Spread half the lamb on rice. Add one-third more rice. Spread with remaining lamb. Top with remaining rice.
  8. Cover casserole tightly with foil and then cover with lid. Bake at 350 F for 40 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  9. To serve, remove top layer of rice. Combine remaining lamb and rice. Mound on a serving plate. Top with reserved rice. Garnish with reserved onions, almonds, currants, jalapeños, mint and cilantro.  Serves 8-10

lambchops with olive-orange-anchovy butter

3 tbsp shallots, chopped
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp water
1/4 c unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 tbsp black olives, finely chopped
5 anchovy fillets, minced
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
Rosemary sprigs for garnish
3/4 tsp minced orange zest   
1/4 c vegetable oil
2 tbsp butter
4 double-thick loin lambchops, each about 2" thick and 1/2 lb, trimmed and brought to room temperature
  1. To make butter, cook the shallots, balsamic vinegar and water in a small frying pan over moderate heat, stirring until dry - about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. In a bowl, use a fork to stir together the shallot mixture with the unsalted butter, olives, anchovy, rosemary, orange zest and salt and pepper to taste. On a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap, shape butter mixture into a 1" diameter log and refrigerate until firm enough to slice (or spoon into a ramekin and chill).
  3. In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil and butter over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Season the chops generously with salt and pepper and cook, turning occasionally until chops are desired doneness (about 15 minutes for mediuum-rare).
  4. Serve chops hot with pats of butter. Garnish with rosemary sprigs. Serves 4.

peppered lamb & herb cream sauce

2 kg butterflied boned leg of lamb (about 2.2 kg, bone in)
25 ml coarsely ground black pepper
20 mL Dijon mustard, divided
5 ml red wine vinegar
Vegetable oil
125 g Rondele, Boursin or other herbed cream cheese (about 50 ml)
375 ml whipping cream
5 ml hot pepper sauce
2 ml coarsely ground black pepper
15 ml lemon juice

Trim fat from lamb. Combine pepper, 15 mL Dijon mustard and vinegar; spread over both sides of the lamb. Brush baking sheet with oil; heat in 400'F oven for 2 min. Place lamb on hot sheet and roast for 30-35 min or until meat thermometer registers 130'F (55'C) for medium rare. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 min.

to make sauce

Meanwhile, in saucepan, gently stir together cheese, cream, hot pepper sauce, 5 mL Dijon mustard & pepper; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, for 5 min or until slightly thickened  and reduced to about 500 ml. Stir in lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Carve lamb into thin slice; drizzle with sauce. Makes 8 servings

Sauce can be prepared ahead, cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to one day. Reheat gently before serving.

roast leg of lamb with dijon rosemary glaze

2-2 1/2 kg boneless leg of lamb
85 ml Dijon style mustard
30 ml olive oil
15 ml chopped fresh rosemary
15 ml chopped fresh garlic
5 ml coarse salt
5 ml fresh ground pepper

Combine garlic, rosemary and Dijon. Slowly whisk in olive oil until fully incorporated. Set aside. Pat lamb dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Add lamb to mixing bowl and cover surface with entire mustard mixture. Marinate at least 4 hr or overnight, covered in refrigerator.

Place lamb on a shallow roasting pan in centre of oven. Roast at 450'F for 30 min. Turn down to 350'F and cook another 40-50 min or until a meat thermometer registers 145'F inserted into the thickest part of the flesh. Remove from oven and cover with foil. Let rest 15 min before slicing. Serves 6-8

Serve with oven roasted potatoes and snap peas or asparagus.

braised lamb with middle eastern spices

1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne
2 1/2 lb stewing lamb
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 c carrot, coarsely chopped
1/2 c celery, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 c red wine
1 1/2 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
` bay leaf
2 1/2 c beef stock

garnish

1 tbsp olive oil
3 zucchini, thinly sliced
1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
12 dried apricots, slivered
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 300°F. Combine cumin, ginger, coriander, paprika, cinnamon and cayenne. Toss lamb cubes with 1 tsp of the spice mixture.

Heat 2 tsbp olive oil in an ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and brown lamb in batches on all sides, about 2 min per side. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve. Wipe out pan and add remaining 1 tbsp oil. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Sauté until onion browns slightly, about 5 min. Add reserved spice mixture and sauté for 30 seconds, then add red wine and bring to a boil. Add rosemary, thyme, bay leaf and beef stock. Bring to a boil, then return meat to the pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 1 1/2 hr or until meat is tender. With slotted spoon, remove meat and vegetables from the stock. Discard bay leaf. Purée vegetables and stir back into stock. Reduce until sauce lightly coats the back of a spoon.

To make garnish, add oil to a skillet on medium-high heat. Stir in zucchini, peppers and apricots and sauté until crisp-tender, about 6-8 min. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir vegetable garnish and lamb back into the sauce. Simmer together for 15 min or until heated through. Serve with coucous. Serves 6

baked kibbee

1/2 c bulgur and 2 c water
1/4 c onion, ground
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 - 1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 lb ground lamb
3/4 c finely chopped onion
1/2 c pine nuts or almonds
1 tsp lemon juice
Dash of pepper
Yogurt to serve

Soak bulgur in water for 30 minutes. Drain well and squeeze excess water out. Stir in the 1/4 c onion, 3/4 tsp salt, cinnamon and 1/4 tsp pepper. Add 1 lb lamb; mix well. Set aside.

In medium skillet cook remaining 1/2 lb meat, 3/4 c onion and nuts until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain off fat. Stir in salt (1/2 - 1 tsp), pepper and lemon juice.

In a 10x6x2" pan press half of the lamb/nut mixture, then half of the lamb/bulgur mixture, then the rest of the lamb/nut mixture. Top with the rest of the lamb/bulgur mixture. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes. Drain off fat. Serve hot or cold with yogurt.

lamb couscous

2 lb boned lamb (leg or loin), cubed
4 chicken pieces
1 tsp paprika
1/4 c olive oil
2 spicy sausages, 1" slices
2 onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 turnips, peeled & cubed
4 carrots, sliced
2 c chopped pumpkin or summer squash
1 c cooked chickpeas
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1/4 tsp saffron
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ginger
2 tomatoes, chopped
4 c stock (beef or chicken)
4 c cooked couscous
2 tbsp butter
1 c chopped dates
1/2 c raisins
1 tbsp grated lemon rind
1 cinnamon stick
2 tbsp finely chopped mint

Dust lamb & chicken w ith paprika and lightly brown in oil in separate batches brown  sausages.  Return all meats to pan, add next 10 ingredients and simmer, partially covered, 20 min  Place couscous in a cheesecloth lined colander over simmering stew and steam 20 min.  Spread couscous on a baking sheet and work in butter, dates, raisins and rind.  Return couscous to colander with cinnamon, mint and parsley.  Add chickpeas to stew continue to steam for another 20 min.  Pile couscous on platter, ladling stew in centre. Serves 6-8