Sunday, February 15, 2009

Going Whole Lamb

Really just going 1/2 lamb, and the merguez and eggs was more aesthetically pleasing than the packages pictured below. A culinarily gifted friend and I split a lamb raised not too far from Cleveland by Andy Kazik. Andy sells lamb, mushrooms, and some other things at the Crocker Park Farmers Market (during the summer), and was able to provide a nice little lamb that we were able pick up at a slaughterhouse down in Ashland. Everything was cut to the persnickety friend's specs and was loaded into two small coolers and taken home to be cleaned up and prepared for freezing/eating.

Once the lamb was in the city it was time to sort things out. It just took a few sharp knives, a cutting board, and lots of instructions. Also about four or five hours. The whole experience was educational, and it was a nice way to spend a wintery afternoon. Highlights included a lamb kidney lunch and merguez sausage making.

For the kidney, the friend split a kidney through its equator, removed the gristly piece, and cut non-gristly stuff into bite sized pieces. The pieces were sauteed in butter, then removed from the pan. More butter was put in the pan and used to saute up some diced shallot. Once the shallot softened some vermouth was added and cooked down (the friend said madeira would have been preferable). Once the vermouth was syrupy stock was added and it too was cooked down. Then the kidney was added back to warm through before serving and all was good. Along with a bowl of sauerkraut doctored up with apples, thyme, caraway seeds, and pork sausage, the world was right and we were ready to make some merguez.

The merguez (merquez) was in the French style and not halal, as ensured by a quick trip to The Westside Market for some fatback. It was ground lamb (mostly shoulder), the aforementioned fatback, harissa, cumin, fennel, allspice, paprika, coriander, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. The meat and fat went for one quick trip through a KitchenAid fitted with a coarse grinder, the spices were mixed in, and that was it. Really nice merguez.

A few months worth of lamb. Not a bad haul.

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