Sunday Dinner – Easter Lamb Braise

It is officially Spring! Finally!

Easter has come and gone, and now we welcome 70′ weather! I feel like a kid who was just let out of school for the summer. Alas there is work to be done, but without multiple sweaters and five pairs of socks, I think I can bare it (pun intended).

This Sunday was, of course, Easter and Paul and I celebrated with his family out in Jersey. Therefor I couldn’t Sunday as my Sunday dinner, so Saturday kindly stepped up to the plate. 

Saturday my family joined us for Raw Beet and Citrus Salad, Minted Quinoa, and Braised Lamb.

This time of year is wonderful for good food and good feeling food. You don’t want a meal that is going to warm you up as it’s already warm.  You want satisfying without feeling heavy.  These recipes were inspired by this thought process.  Hearty? Yes. Delicious? Yes. Comforting in that “I want to curl up and take a nap” sort of way? Nope! Everyone had plenty of energy for games and fun after dinner. it was a great way to start the season!

Raw Beet and Citrus Salad

In an effort to eat more Veggies I am trying to be a lot more creative with my salads.  As a very visual person I need food to look good in order for me to eat it…especially when I have a preconceived notion that it will be less than palatable… and I always hated salad growing up…blech.

This week’s salad turned into a canvas filled with the best nature has to offer! 

I did commit myself to sticking with the dandelion greens, so these again became my base.  But, again, wanting to counter that overtly bitter green, I added shaved beets and citrus.  These are now my shining stars.

1/2 head of Dandelion Greens – washed, dried and torn into small pieces
1 handful of Baby Arugula – just get the pre-washed kind
1 large Beet – peeled, then using a veggie peeler shave into thin slices
1 Golden Beet – same as the other beet
1 Blood Orange – segmented
1 Pink Grapefruit – segmented

1 handful of Pomegranate Seeds
½ -1 cup Sunflower Seeds

Keep everything separate until you are ready to serve, as the red beet color will start to take over!

To serve toss everything together and add your favorite homemade dressing. I used my go-to vinaigrette and added a few tbsp of juice from the orange and grapefruit.

In line with traditions, I chose to make Lamb for my “Easter Saturday” but a leg of lamb would have cost me about 50 buckaroos. Now I love my family, but I have bills to pay!  So I decided to go for something a little cheaper pre cut Lamb stew meat.  And instead of slopping on the mint jelly I tried something a little more delicate…

Minted Quinoa

Prep two servings of quinoa according to the package. Once cooked toss with two handfuls of torn up fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced radishes, and thinly sliced zucchini. Toss with 1/4 cup of olive oil, salt and pepper and the rest of the juice from the salad citrus.

Braised Lamb

I don’t have exact measurements for this one, but the great thing about braising meat is that it’s difficult to make it bad. So use the basic idea and play around to make it your own!

1 package of Lamb stew meat – boneless
2 packages Lamb stew meat – bone-in
1 extra large Carrot or three regular sized carrots – cut into small pieces
4 stalks of Celery – cut into small pieces, the same size as the carrots
1 large Onion – minced
4-6 Garlic cloves – smashed and minced
A handful of fresh Thyme
A handful of fresh Marjoram
A handful of fresh Rosemary
One packet of sodium-free chicken bouillon
Approx 4 cups of water
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Start by heating a big sauce pan or a Dutch oven with a few tbsp’s of olive oil.  Salt and pepper your meat liberally and brown – don’t over-lap, you’ll need to do this in a few batches.  Just let each piece sizzle for about 2 minutes, then flip, wait another 2 minutes and transfer to a large bowl – now you can stack all of the meat and set aside.

Don’t wash the pot! You want to turn down the heat to medium-high add a little bit more olive oil and toss in your cut up Veggies. Scrape the bottom to incorporate all of the brown salty goodness that the lamb left behind.  Stir occasionally to prevent burning and add more olive oil as needed. These should cook down until the onions are transparent; takes about 10-15 minutes depending on how big the pieces are.

While these are cooking away prep your herbs. Gather lengthwise and wrap in the cheesecloth; use either a piece of twine or an extra strip of cheesecloth to tie it up tight. This will allow the flavors to seep into the dish without you biting into a lovely piece of branch.

When the onions and such are ready pour the meat of the top, make sure you use all of the drippings from the meat! This will enhance the flavor even more!  Stir the Veggies and meat together, and push the herb bundle down into the middle.  Dissolve the bouillon packet in a cup of water and pour over the top of the meat, then add enough liquid so that the contents are just poking through the surface of the water. 

Cover the meat off center to allow steam to release. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for about two hours. Once the meat starts falling apart turn the heat down to medium-low and fix the lid on properly.

Now EAT! and ENJOY!

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