25 November 2010

Giving thanks for — and with — lamb

Moroccan-style steamed lamb. Steamed? Sounds odd, doesn't it? But evidently it's a good way to cook lamb that doesn't require an oven or a wood fire. I've only ever eaten it once before, and it was delicous — succulent, falling off the bone, juicy, and tender.

Steamed lamb is what we're having for our Thanksgiving dinner. Since Thanksgiving is not a holiday in France, there's no tradition of roasting a big turkey on the fourth Thursday in November. In fact, turkeys are hard to find until we get much closer to Christmas. You'd have to special-order one to get one for today.

A couscoussier would be the perfect pot
for cooking this steamed lamb dish.

Here's how I'm doing the lamb. I'll have to let you know later if it comes out as good as I hope.

Buy a 2.5 kg (5- to 6-lb.) leg of lamb. Trim off all the exterior fat and any chunks of fat you find between layers of lamb muscle. Trim off the silver skin too, if you have the patience and a sharp-enough knife. Then take a hacksaw and cut the lamb leg into two pieces, near the knee. It probably won't fit whole into your steamer, so you have to cut it. You could butterfly it if you wanted to.

Un beurre composé : saffran, sel, poivre noir, et cumin

Make a compound butter of black pepper, salt, cumin, and saffron. In other words, take softened butter and mash it with those spices until you have a good paste. Cut big slits in the lamb meat and press the flavored butter into them.

The larger piece of lamb, ready to go into the steamer

Make a bed of parsley, stems and all, in the bottom of your steamer basket. Put in three or four unpeeled garlic cloves. Put water in the bottom of the pot, of course, and then set the lamb pieces on the bed of parsley in the basket. Put a few more unpeeled cloves of garlic on top of each piece and put the steamer pot on high heat until it starts to boil.

If you don't have a couscoussier, you have to make do.

Make sure the lid of the steamer fits really tightly. Weigh it down if you need to. When it boils, turn the heat down to medium low and wait for a few hours. Make sure it doesn't go dry. I'll let you know how many hours it takes to cook when I post again.

* * *

By the way, it's snowing. Here's a picture I took 5 minutes ago.

Thanksgiving Day 2010 at La Renaudière

It's obviously not sticking. Not yet, anyway.


  1. Oh la la! Looks great even though I don't eat lamb! SNOWWWWW!! It's not that cold yet here- it's still in the mid 40s.. Hmmmm
    Happy Thanksgiving Day to you two!

  2. happy thanksgiving......snow already....woa....my daughter bought some pumpkin puree to make a pie in paris and paid like 6E for the thing........

  3. Happy Thanksgiving to both of you! I'm going to have Thanksgiving dinner at my next door neighbors.

  4. Happy Thanksgiving :)) The lamb dish is very intriguing. I look forward to pictures of the finished product!

    Now... off to make pumpkin pie, carrots, green beans, and rice & mushroom casserole... to go with roast turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, and vegetable pot pie... and apple pie :) and stuffing, of course!


  5. The lamb looks wonderful- Happy Thanksgiving, Ken, Walt and followers of their blogs.

    Making pie and dressing awaiting dd and granddog's arrival;)

  6. Ken

    It looks good :-) Happy Thanksgiving -
    we had lamb also last month for the Canadian Thanksgiving. I asked the butcher to cut the leg into two also so that we can fit the pieces on the BBQ.

    Hope the weather does not persist through the day..

  7. Happy Thanksgiving to both of you and your American followers!

  8. Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your meal! Martine

  9. Interesting from WaPo:

    And so, on the fourth Thursday in November, American families sit down at a large table brimming with tasty dishes and, for the only time during the year, eat better than the French do.

    No one can deny that le Jour de Merci Donnant is a grande fte and no matter how well fed American families are, they never forget to give thanks to Kilometres Deboutish, who made this great day possible.


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