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The Heart of New England
Braised Lamb Recipe from the South of  France
by Charlie Burke

Click here for printer-friendly recipe

After each growing season we take a vacation in Europe, usually in France or
Italy. Using frequent flier miles, renting a car through AAA, and renting a
house from owners though the Internet lets us travel inexpensively and
affords us the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the food and cultures of
these countries. We shop in local supermarkets, visit markets which travel
from town to town with perfectly fresh products, and eat in family restaurants
with the locals. This is the way to travel! Living in a small town and mingling
with the natives gives an experience far richer than can be had living in a hotel
with other tourists.

This year, we rented a small medieval house in Montagnaca, tiny town in
southern France. A bakery, butcher shop and a
charcoutier (sausage shop),
along with a great little wine shop were the shopping options. We got to
know all the owners, and I learned the vocabulary to deal with the
proprietors. Restaurants served humble peasant fare, usually made from
duck, chicken or lamb, which, with the local wine, made for wonderful meals.
Our town’s population was one-third Muslims, who live in total harmony
with the native French, and we saw no Americans during our time in our

Agneau” (lamb) was on every menu, served grilled, roasted or in a casserole.
I usually ordered it grilled “
au pointe” (rare), but braises were always good,
even in our last meal at Charles De Gaul Airport in Paris. So, I thought it
appropriate to do my version of the braised lamb served in the south of
France; add tomatoes, mushrooms or other vegetables if you wish.

Four servings:

2 pounds lamb shoulder or stew meat, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 carrot, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 cup stock (I used a stock made from chicken, pork and beef bones, but
chicken stock or beef stock diluted with an equal volume of water will work)
1 cup red wine, such as Cotes de Rhones
Olive oil
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 – 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Heat a Dutch oven or large heavy iron frying pan over high heat. Film with
olive oil and heat until oil is shimmering. Salt the lamb and place into pan
without crowding. Let cook until browned and pieces “release” from the pan
without sticking. Turn and brown the other side. Repeat in batches until all
pieces are browned, removing pieces to a plate.

Pour off the liquid fat and replace with a light film of olive oil.
Reduce heat to medium. Place carrot, onion, celery and garlic into pan and
cook, stirring and picking up fond from the pan. Add lamb pieces, stock,
wine, tomato paste and herbs, along with ground pepper. Bring to a boil over
medium-high heat, cover and place into the preheated oven.

Cook for 1 ½ hours or until meat is very tender. Taste liquid, adjusting salt
and pepper and adding lemon juice if needed to “brighten” the sauce.
Surprisingly, the French where we were served the lamb over pasta, but rice
or potatoes would work, as well.

Serve with a full bodied red wine, salad and crusty bread for and authentic
Southern French meal.

About the author: An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is the vice
president of the
New Hampshire Farmer's Market Association, president of the NH
Farm to Restaurant Connection and helps run the Sanbornton (NH) Farmers' Market.  
Along with his wife, Joanne, Charlie grows certified organic herbs, greens and berries at
Weather Hill Farm in Sanbornton, NH.  
The Heart of New England
Celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine ~ New Hampshire ~ Vermont
©The Heart of New England online magazine
...celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine, New Hampshire & Vermont!
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