Sunday, November 16, 2008

Braised Lamb Tacos

It's been a while since there's been a taco here. Too long. Pictured above is braised lamb on homemade tortillas with cilantro and onion. Of course, if you look close you can make out a bottle of hot sauce in the background.

As mentioned in the last post, the lamb came from Turczyk's at the West Side Market. When it's available at the farmers market I like to buy lamb there, but going to Turczyk's reminded me what's so great about a proper butcher shop. He had nice looking shoulders for sale at a reasonable price, so that was good. The lamb was well raised lamb and grown in-state, and that was nice too. But what was really great was what he was able to do for me while I was waiting. I noticed that each shoulder had about five chops attached to it. The entire shoulder with the chop parts weighed several pounds (I forgot the exact amount), and I didn't need that much braised lamb. We discussed my concern, and he took the shoulder to the bandsaw. In seconds I had a nice shoulder plus 5 chops (which went in the freezer). No one loves Cleveland's farmers markets more than me, but custom cutting on the spot--pretty cool.

So, the shoulder was brought home and hacked into three pieces (should have had the butcher do that too), seasoned with salt and pepper, and browned in canola oil in an enameled cast iron pot (see last post). After browning the shoulder was removed, and in went diced onion, garlic, and crushed cumin and fenugreek (I forgot to add ancho chile power). Once all that was nice and fragrant I added some apple cider, red wine vinegar, and maple syrup. The liquid came to a boil and back in went the lamb. Water was added to bring the liquid up about 2/3 up on the lamb, I threw in a few sprigs of fresh oregano (finally got the garden prepped for winter), and the pot was covered and placed in a slow oven for a few hours until the lamb was falling off the bone. The meat was then cooled, pulled, and put in one bowl while the liquid was poured into another. Everything went into the fridge for a day.

For the tacos, the meat sauteed until crispy with some of the defatted braising liquid. It was a great topping for the tortillas (recipe on the bag of masa harina), which I pressed out between a plastic covered plate and sauce pot. It worked imperfectly, but I can't quite justify the tortilla press purchase.

Sticking with the WSM theme, the cilantro was from The Basketeria, one of the more respectable veggie vendors there. Onions from Snake Hill Farm.

And below, a Saturday trip east yielded a lovely epi from On The Rise in Shaker Heights. Finally made it. Can't argue with their bread, and it may become a regular post-Shaker Market stop. In that epi, some porchetta cold cuts, pretty good domestic provolone, and a little touch of dijon. Meat and cheese from Gallucci's. Of note for Clevelanders--even with the completion of the Euclid Corridor Project, if I'm driving I take any other parallel road. Those buses and merges freak me out.


Minnillo said...

Ahh. David and I were running that route for a number of weeks in August and September. If you go early enough, the lines are small, the selection is good, and it makes for one hell of a morning!

maybelle's mom said...

Oh, the pictures look really nice (as does the food.) And, I am with you with the euclid corridor project.

The CFT said...

Chris, good to know. Although it was nice to see a good spot crowded.

MM, you're alive! Thanks for the kind words . . . now go post something!


Those look delicious! I've been using masa harina also. I was broken hearted to find out that the only tortilla maker in Cleveland that I knew of disappeared. No more fresh masa. What a bummer. If you ever want to borrow a tortilla press, I have three of them.

The CFT said...

Appreciate the kind words 'Hound. It's been too long since I've been to Coit Rd. If you see a guy hanging around begging for a press, that's me.

In my past life I was in the land of many tortillerias. I miss them well.

lifeinrecipes said...

Happy you finally made it to On The Rise.

The CFT said...

Me too.