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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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By the way, it's snowing. Here's a picture I took 5 minutes ago.
It's obviously not sticking. Not yet, anyway.