April 30, 2009

Lamb shoulder is succulent, forgiving and inexpensive (JANET FLETCHER, 4/21/09, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE)

Some of us are leg people and others are shoulder people. Unfortunately, this truth was revealed to me slowly. Over three decades of dinner parties, mistakes were made.

Today, I cook leg of lamb only for dinner guests with suspected lean tendencies, the sort of folks who eat dry toast and drink nonfat milk. Lamb shoulder I reserve for trencherpeople like me, diners convinced that the most succulent meat comes from the hardest-working parts, the cuts with collagen and more than a little intramuscular fat.

If you're planning a few spring dinner parties, remember the shoulder people. We are cheaper to cook for, a point worth noting in these belt-tightening times. Although the price difference is minimal at some Bay Area markets, you can pay as much as $4 a pound more for bone-in leg of lamb than for boneless lamb shoulder. And shoulder makes you look like a hero, because it's so hard to overcook.

"You don't have to worry about temperatures too much," says Marsha McBride, chef-owner of Cafe Rouge in Berkeley and a fan of lamb shoulder. "It's pretty forgiving, unlike a leg or a chop."


Roast Lamb Shoulder (Diana Rattray, About.com)
* 1 large clove garlic, minced
* 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons salt
* dash pepper
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice
* 1 lamb shoulder roast, boneless, about 3 to 4 pounds
* .
* Gravy:
* reserved meat juices
* water
* 3 tablespoons flour
* 1/2 cup cold water

Preparation:

Combine minced garlic, flour, salt, pepper, and lemon juice, rub all over roast. Place lamb on a large sheet of heavy duty foil; wrap and secure edges of foil. Place wrapped roast in a shallow roasting pan. Roast at 425° for 3 hours, or until a meat thermometer registers about 170°. Open foil the last 30 minutes or roasting. Remove meat to a platter. Pour pan juices into a 2-cup measuring cup and add water to make 1 3/4 cups. Transfer meat juices to a saucepan and place over medium heat. Put 3 tablespoons flour in a small cup or bowl; stir in 1/2 cup cold water. Pour into the meat juice mixture; cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 30, 2009 12:07 AM
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