Sunday, April 20, 2014

Roast Leg of Lamb

During my childhood the traditional main course for Easter was either ham or lamb. As this site has already dished up the ham we will now do the lamb.

Leg of lamb is a whole leg. Saddle of lamb is the two loins with the hip. Leg and saddle are usually roasted, though the leg is sometimes boiled. Lamb shank is a cut of meat from the upper part of the leg.

Forequarter meat of sheep, as of other mammals, includes more connective tissue than some other cuts, and, if not from a young lamb, is best cooked slowly using either a moist method, such as braising or stewing, or by slow roasting or American barbecuing. It is, in some countries, sold already chopped or diced.

The fell is the thin, paper-like covering on the outer fat. It should not be removed from roasts and legs because it helps these cuts retain their shape and juiciness during cooking. The fell has usually been removed at the market from smaller cuts, such as chops.

Lamb, hogget, and mutton (UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia) are terms for the meat of domestic sheep (species Ovis aries) at different ages. A sheep in its first year is called a lamb; and its meat is also called lamb.

The meat of a juvenile sheep older than one year is hogget; outside North America this was also a term for the living animal, but this meaning is now largely obsolete. The meat of an adult sheep is mutton, a term only used for the meat, not the living animals.

Lamb is the most expensive of the three types, and in recent decades sheep-meat is increasingly only retailed as "lamb", sometimes stretching the accepted distinctions given above. The stronger tasting mutton is now hard to find in many areas, despite the efforts of the Mutton Renaissance Campaign in the UK. In Australia, the leg of lamb roast is considered the national dish. Commonly served on a Sunday or any other special occasion.

The term prime lamb is often used to refer to lambs raised for meat. Other languages, for example French and Italian, make similar, or even more detailed, distinctions between sheep meat by age and sometimes by gender, though they generally lack the particular habit of English in having different terms for the living animal and its meat.

From Wikibooks Cookbook
Roast Lamb

Leg of lamb (bone on or off), approximately 3.3 lbs
[feeds 4 people]
6 x whole fresh garlic cloves, peeled
3 sprigs fresh rosemary

3 Tablespoons butter or 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
Vegetables [wikiHOW suggests: 6 potatos, 4 large carrots, 1 1/2 cups peas] Of course
whichever vegetables are preferred by yourself/your guests may be substituted

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Put butter or oil in baking dish. Place the dish in the oven to heat up. Prepare the leg of lamb. Using a sharp knife, plunge into the meat, making three incisions in top side (approx. 1.1 inches deep) and three similar incisions on bottom side. Into each incision, insert one peeled clove of garlic and a sprig of rosemary. Rub a thick layer of salt [Recipes Damage In The Kitchen editor's note: coarse salt is suggested] all over the surface of the piece of lamb.

This assists with cooking a 'crunchy' skin. Wearing oven mitts, remove the baking dish from oven and place the prepared lamb into the middle of it. Put the dish back in oven and set the timer for 30 minutes (25 minutes for a fan forced oven). The cooking time for lamb is generally 30 minutes per 1.10 pounds. Peel and chop the vegetables. Note that the vegetables will take 1 hour to roast. After 30 minutes, remove the lamb in the baking dish from the oven. Spoon the oil in the base of the dish all over the lamb leg. Place the prepared vegetables around the lamb leg and return the dish to the oven.

Set the timer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, again remove the baking dish from the oven. Spoon the dish oil over both the lamb leg and all of the vegetables. Again, return to the oven. Set the timer another for 30 minutes. Prepare the other necessities for serving the lamb. The following sub-steps will use up the last 15 minutes of roast cooking time: Fifteen minutes after this latest return of the lamb to the oven, put the peas in a saucepan of water on the stove. Heat to boil. Remove the lamb and vegetables dish from oven. Remember to turn off the oven. Place the lamb on a plate. Cover with foil for 5-7 minutes to 'rest'. This means that it will drain off excess fluids. Use this time to drain and serve peas, serve out vegetables. Serve. When the lamb has 'rested', slice the lamb and serve with the roasted vegetables.

Text Credits: Wikipedia WikiHow wikibooks cookbook
Image Credit: wikimediacommons

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

National Grilled Cheese Day is April 12th

Cooked bread and cheese is an ancient food, according to food historians, popular across the world in many cultures; evidence indicates that in the U.S., the modern version of the grilled cheese sandwich originated in the 1920s when inexpensive sliced bread and American cheese became easily available.[citation needed] The cheese dream became popular during the Great Depression.

It was originally made as an open sandwich, but the top slice of bread became common by the 1960s. U.S. government cookbooks describe Navy cooks broiling "American cheese filling sandwiches" during World War II. Many versions of the grilled cheese sandwich can now be found on restaurant menus across the United States.

Uncooked cheese sandwiches simply require assembly of the cheese slices on the bread, along with any additions and condiments.

A grilled cheese sandwich is assembled and then heated until the bread crisps and the cheese melts, sometimes combined with an additional ingredient such as peppers, tomatoes or onions. Several different methods of heating the sandwich are used, depending on the region and personal preference. Common methods include being cooked on a griddle, grilled, fried in a pan or made in a panini grill or sandwich toaster (this method is more common in the United Kingdom where the sandwiches are normally called "toasted sandwiches" or "toasties").

When making grilled cheese on an open griddle or pan, one side is cooked first, then the sandwich is flipped and cooked on the other side. The sandwich is finished when both sides are toasted and the cheese has melted. Butter, oil, or mayonnaise may first be spread on either the bread or the cooking surface in the case of butter and oil. An alternative technique is to toast or grill each half of the sandwich separately, then combine them. Another method sometimes referred as an "inside out" grilled cheese has an extra layer of cheese put on the outside of each side and cooked, causing the cheese to caramelize into a crispy outer layer.

When using butter best results are achieved at a medium heat. This prevents the milk solids in butter from burning and allows sufficient time for heat to thoroughly penetrate the sandwich and melt the cheese without burning the bread. A crispy golden-brown crust with a melted cheese center is a commonly preferred level of preparedness. Cooking times can vary depending on pan dimensions, ability to control the intensity of the heat source, bread type, cheese variety and overall thickness of pre-cooked sandwich.

Text Credit: Wikipedia || Image Credit wikicommons