Recently, I was invited to participate in a recipe competition hosted by the American Lamb Board. I think in all the years in writing for ES I’ve only ever cooked up one lamb dish. In a moment of weakness I agreed to participate. The premise of the contest is to create an original dish (do they even exist these days?) using a cut of meat provided to us by the good folk at Border Spring Farms in Virginia — in this case a dry aged boneless leg of lamb.
The more I thought about creating a dish with a slab of meat I’m not incredibly comfortable with, the more I became intimidated. I’m in this contest with a flock (ha! I apologize) of other DC-area food bloggers and these guys are pretty awesome. In the spirit of all things Endless Simmer I decided to do what I do best — nachos. We’re big fans of nachos, actually pretty wild about them here, so it seemed fitting I’d go this route. I just hope I didn’t disrespect the meat.
But I still brought a little class. Growing up in England, I always associated lamb with Wales. I would holiday there a lot as a kid and it wasn’t uncommon to see sheep and lambs in the rolling fields of the countryside as I was camped out in a tent in an adjacent field — welcome to my childhood. In that vein I thought I would bring a little of Great Britain to these nachos and instead of using plain old cheese, I’d go with Welsh Rarebit, in the hopes of allowing the flavors of the lamb to shine through.
Slow Roasted Lamb Nachos with Welsh Rarebit and Scallions
2lbs boneless leg of lamb
Unsalted tortilla chips, large good quality
Salt & Pepper
Welsh rarebit sauce (recipe follows)
Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. In a large cast iron pan heat a 2-3 tbsp of EVOO over high heat. Add the lamb and sear for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally to ensure each side is browned. Place the lamb in the oven and roast for 1.5 – 2 hours. While the lamb is in the oven, prepare the welsh rarebit sauce (below). Then, remove the lamb from the oven and place on a chopping board to cool. With any luck, your lamb should be tender and the meat should just tear right off.
To assemble the nachos you want to lay the chips on a large serving tray and gently spread the rarebit sauce on each one. Be liberal with the sauce. Place large chunks of lamb on each chip; sprinkle with the reserved cheese. Place under a hot broiler until the sauce begins to bubble. Remove from the broiler and sprinkle with scallions. Enjoy!
Welsh Rarebit Sauce
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated (reserve about a 1/4 cup for topping)
1 cup of dark beer, porter or stout (I used Guinness)
1 tbsp mustard powder
1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp unsalted butter
coarse black pepper
Turn the broiler to high. In a saucepan melt the butter and stir in the flour, stir until mixed completely. Stir in the beer, Worcestershire sauce and mustard powder, bring to a simmer. Slowly stir in the cheese until creamy the add the pepper. The mixture should be thick and have a light brown color to it.
Should you be so inclined, the American Lamb Board is asking for your participation by voting for your favorite lamb dishes from the DC food bloggers. You can check out the other participants by visiting the Pro-Am DC website; tickets to the Pro-Am DC event on March 4 at Hotel Palomar can also be purchased from the website.