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Food Talk
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Old 05-26-2013, 08:28 PM   #1
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NFRs C.L.A.B. Episode 1: Leg of Lamb with Pearled Cous Cous

Whats up guys, I figured I throw up some DIYs on here so that those of you interested in cooking a nice dinner for that special someone or family...

I call this the Cook Like A Boss series.

So, first episode we have pan seared leg of lamb with saffron pearl (Israeli) cous cous risotto. DIFFICULTY 4 out of 10

*The lamb can be substituted with a rack of lamb, a nicely seared skirt steak, a NY Strip, etc.

Ingredients required:

Leg of Lamb
Pearled Cous Cous (often called Israeli cous cous) (not regular cous cous)
Chicken Stock
1 lemon
Saffron (optional, and not necessary)
Olive Oil
Whole Grain Mustard
Feta Cheese (greek, not french.)

Total time, depending on your skills about 1-2 hours including prep.

Step 1 PREP:

Unpack your leg of lamb.

Buy boneless to save a bunch of time. It's usually twined into a roast, so cut the string, and open her up. Take a very sharp knife, and trim off the excess fat (don't remove it all, leave some thin fat for flavor) and remove the silver skin membranes.

After the lamb is trimmed, cut into 1" cubes and place in large bowl.

Season your lamb with spices of your choice. There are no rules when it comes to spices, so use whatever you like. Try not to use powerful herbs like rosemary as it will hurt the delicate flavor of the pearled cous cous.

After the lamb is seasoned and you mixed the cubes to evenly distribute the seasoning, drizzle some olive oil over it.

Toss the lamb to coat evenly and set aside. You can do this the day before and leave overnight in the fridge, but if serving the same day do NOT place back in the fridge, just leave it on the counter covered with some cling film.

Now, to prep for the cous cous risotto, you will need finely chopped onion, fresh grated garlic, saffron (optional), chicken broth, and pearled cous cous.

For dressing, you will need whole grain mustard, finely grated garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and EV olive oil. Combine 1/2 teaspoon of mustard, 1 clove (not too large) of garlic finely grated/chopped, some salt, pepper, and a few dashes of fresh lemon juice in a bowl, and combine with olive oil.

Set it aside for later use.

Put a pot of stock (about a quart) on the stove and boil it. Once boiled put on simmer if cooking now. If not, boil it before cooking and put on simmer.

Last edited by NFRs2000nyc; 05-27-2013 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 05-26-2013, 08:29 PM   #2
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Step 2 - Cooking

In a non-stick pan (you can use stainless if your culinary skills are above average and you know how to work with stainless pans) throw in a pat of butter.

Let the butter melt, and become a golden caramelish color. DO NOT BURN THE BUTTER. If you do, STOP. Start over. Do not try to "rescue it." Your dish will taste like sh!t.

After the butter is browned, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and mix the two. Add the onions and garlic. DO NOT BROWN THEM. You are cooking without color. You want to sweat them, remove the water content thus removing the acidity and harshness. If you are using saffron, use half of it now. Throw it in and mix into the onions.

Once the onions are translucent, add the dry cous cous and begin toasting it. You will not be able to toast it all, so once 30% or so have a nice golden toast, you are ready. You will need to stir every minute or so that the cous cous toasts evenly. You may add a bit more olive oil if you feel it is a little too dry.

Once your toast is complete, grab a leidel and add it to the cous cous. Turn the pan back on high. DO NOT ADD COLD STOCK. Use the stock you boiled and kept simmering earlier. Add just enough stock so that all the grains are submerged. For me it was about 1 leidel. You need to stir every 30 seconds, every 20 seconds if you are using stainless. DO NOT WALK AWAY.

At this point, add your parsley for the infusion, and the other half of the saffron if you are using it.

Taste for seasoning...it will be way off...thats ok. Remember, the chicken stock is salty, we'll deal with the salt later. Add some fresh ground pepper right now.
The chicken stock will continue to reduce/evaporate, so keep on adding/stirring to keep the cous cous submerged, but just.

Time to throw the lamb on. Take another pan (nonstick, stainless or cast iron work great) and place on heat. Let the pan get HOT...and by hot, I mean EXTREMELY hot. When ready, throw your lamb on. DO NOT ADD OIL TO THE PAN. You coated the lamb in oil, you have enough.

Leave the lamb to sear.

Check the risotto (you should have been stirring it) and add stock to keep it submerged. The cous cous should be turning more translucent and the white center will being to dull. Turn the heat down to medium.

The starch from the cous cous will begin to thicken the risotto, and the consistency you are looking for is like lava.

Test by dragging your spatula/wooden spoon through it, you should see the bottom of the pan and then it will ooze/cave in on itself.

Last edited by NFRs2000nyc; 05-26-2013 at 09:08 PM.
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Old 05-26-2013, 08:53 PM   #3
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While you got the other things goin...crumble up some feta in a bowl and keep on the side.

Take your baby arugula (sometimes called roquette) check it for dirt. Usually it's bagged and clean, so it isn't an issue, but if it is dirty, give it a good wash. Arugula is very very sandy, so if you bought it at a natural farmers market, wash it, then dry it.

Toss feta into your salad dressing you made earlier.

At this point, turn your lamb cubes over.
(Don't forget to keep stirring the cous cous and add stock as needed.)

Throw arugula into dressing and toss by HAND. Use a large bowl, makes it easier.

By now, the lamb should be nicely seared and cooked, so remove it. Leave the pan on the heat.

DO NOT THROW THIS AWAY. Those little stuck brown bits of lamb is flavor country. Time to deglaze.

Add a leidel of stock to this pan and use the spatula to scrape off all the goodies. Mix it all in.

Reduce by 50%.

Add this goodness to your cous cous. Mix it in, and check for seasoning. Now you can adjust your salt and pepper. Keep in mind, the feta is salty, so don't go crazy.

Assemble the dish,

Questions/Comments, fire away.

Last edited by NFRs2000nyc; 05-26-2013 at 09:11 PM.
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Old 05-27-2013, 01:48 AM   #4
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That looks good. Definitely want to try it.
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Old 05-27-2013, 08:56 AM   #5
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That looks amazing

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Old 05-27-2013, 10:02 AM   #6
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Wife was impressed. Never made risotto with cous cous before but I think I actually prefer it. The texture of the little pearls is better than rice IMHO.
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Old 05-27-2013, 12:02 PM   #7
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O damn... juat saw this thread while at work. Will post a couple ?'s later.... looks great...lamb is deff one of my fav meats

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Old 05-27-2013, 12:04 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by iwannagofast View Post
O damn... juat saw this thread while at work. Will post a couple ?'s later.... looks great...lamb is deff one of my fav meats

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Normally this dish is a bit too "bouzhie" for leg of lamb, but the wife bought it, and I figured I'd give it a go. This would work great with any heavy meat, including venison, a nicely seared steak, duck breast, etc. With a few modifications it can be done with fish/seafood as well.
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