Saturday, April 23, 2011

Butterflied Leg of Lamb on the Grill

This is one of my favorite ways to cook lamb, while the prep time (mostly marinating) is long the cook time is fast. Most recipes for a leg of lamb will go down the slow and low road of roasting, braising or stewing, all of which are delicious. However when you don't want to cook all day this is a great alternative. The recipe is very very simple, the challenge is in the butterflying technique. If you can find an already boneless leg of lamb it is much easier but sometimes it's fun and cheaper to work with a bone in or semi boneless leg as well. The key is to try to get it as even as you can so it cooks evenly. You will want to prep this recipe at least a day ahead.
1 butterflied leg of lamb
8-10 Cloves of garlic
4-5 sprigs of rosemary
olive oil
salt 1 Tbsp
pepper 2 tsp

Chop the rosemary and garlic and add them to a mixing bowl, add enough olive oil to make it into a paste then add salt and pepper to taste.
Rub the lamb all over on one side with the rosemary and garlic mixture, then fold it in half and rub the remaining surfaces. Place the meat in a gallon zip lock bag or of course your Tupperware marinator.

Let it sit overnight and then cook on a medium hot grill for about 12-15 minutes on one side then flip and cook 8-10 minutes on the other side. Let it rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Couscous Pancakes

Ever wonder what to do with leftover couscous? (say that in your head like Andy Rooney) I do, all the time. I love making couscous as fast simple side to go along with any old piece of protein. The Near East plain boxed stuff is a staple in my house though we will often buy it in bulk as well. My preference is to saute a couple of chopped cloves of garlic in the requisite amount of olive oil on the box then add the liquid and cook as directed.
Every cup of couscous needs two cups of liquid. You can use water but I prefer to use chicken stock.

Regardless of how you cook your couscous, if your house is like my house there is always a bunch left. It does reheat OK in the microwave but it just loses something.

In my brain I was looking at this plastic tub of cold couscous to go along with some tasty miso and riesling marinated salmon and I thought I might try to replicate fried rice with couscous. When I realized that would mean also chopping an onion, finding some frozen veggies which seemed like more work than I could muster in the 10 minutes or so I had to spare.

Enter the pancake.
I took my leftover couscous (about two cups of cooked couscous)  and tossed it into a bowl with some garlic powder, salt, pepper and some thyme. I added two eggs and mixed it up until it had kind of a soft almost batter like texture. I  preheated my oven to broil and heated up a 8 inch skillet with a good amount of oil. Once the pan was really hot I  added my mixture, once it started to set up and brown on the bottom I tossed it into broiler to finish.

While the cake itself was kind of dry the sauce I made with the salmon soaked into it nicely and it was a great bed for the fish.

You could season these to go along with whatever style of food you are cooking so they are pretty darn versatile.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Black Beans and Rice

I made a huge batch of black beans and rice to go along with the Cuban pig I roasted for my brothers 40th birthday. I will post the pig recipe at some point but the black beans and rice were really a hit. These recipes are taken from the Dinosaur BBQ Cookbook, I have never made a bad recipe out of it. If you have never eaten at a Dinosaur you are missing out, I assure you.


The Beans
2 cups dried black beans
8 cups water
1/2 large onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp  salt
black pepper

The Sofrito
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
3 cloves garlic chopped
salt and pepper

The Finish
2 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp brown sugar
4 tsp red wine vinegar
Tabasco Sauce
1/4  cup dry sherry

Wash and sort the beans, add 2 cups of the water, the onions, peppers, garlic, bay, olive oil, salt and pepper. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Cover the pan with the lid cracked a bit and turn down the heat. Simmer for 2 to 2.5 hours, adding the water 1 cup at a time as it is absorbed.

After the beans have cooked about an hour and 1/2 make the sofrito. Heat the oil in a small saucepan and then add the remaining ingredients. Cook until the vegetable are soft. Set the sofrito aside.

Mix up all the dry ingredients for the finish ahead of time as well.

Once the beans are done and are swimming in a delicious rich black gravy, add the sofrito and remove the bay leaf. Then mix in all the ingredients for the finish. Serve over a batch of "Perfect Rice"

Perfect Rice
2 cups water
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup long grain rice

Combine the water, olive oil, salt and garlic in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Meanwhile put the rice in a sieve and rinse it under cold water until the water runs clear. Add the rice to the boiling water, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Cook a few minutes longer if it seems to moist then fluff with a fork.

Excellent stuff.