Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pulled Lamb Shoulder Carnitas V2 [Zack]

"Lamb Carnitas" have been the most popular keywords in a Google search that have led people to Mama Tommy's blog.  This only slightly edges out the keywords "bang bang sex", which leads to my mom's Bang Bang Shrimp post.  I still don't understand how someone looking for bang bang sex gets distracted and clicks on a picture of shrimp (or I don't even understand what bang bang sex means), but there are more important things to ponder in life.

This second version is easier than my first Lamb Carnitas post.  You don't need to confit the cubed shoulder, you just brown the whole sucker in a pot, and then let it roast in a covered vessel for about 6.5 hours.  The meat will fall apart with just one stern look at it when it comes out of the oven.

The savory, juicy pulled lamb is accompanied with a fresh tomato salsa that brightens up your tacos.  It will make your taco pop!


Arrange your ingredients for roasting the lamb shoulder.

Start a large oven-proof pot over medium heat.  You will brown your shoulder in here.  Loosely chop your big red peppers, slice your spicy peppers, and chop your onions.

Salt each side of the lamb shoulder and add it to the pot with 1T of oil.  Brown all sides of the shoulder, then add your whole cumin seeds, whole unpeeled garlic cloves, and your chopped veggies.  Stir it all around for a few minutes until you can smell the cumin and the veggies develop a bit of color.

Add in your chicken stock and then dust the lamb shoulder with your cumin and coriander powder.

Cover your pot and add it to your oven at 250F / 125C.  Let this roast for 6 hours or so, and then poke it with a knife to see if the meat falls apart.  I decided to pull mine at 6.5 hours, but it's not a science.

I placed the whole pot into the fridge and let it sit covered overnight (yes I added a 2nd shoulder because I wanted to make a lot and freeze it).  It's not necessary to let it sit - you can go straight to the shredding step if you can't contain yourself.

The next day, the fat had solidified on the top of the liquid and I scraped off the the fat with a spoon.

Shred the lamb with your fingers or a couple of forks.

Don't waste the valuable tasty liquid!  Heat it up and reduce it down a bit.  Puree the mixture until it's a smooth sauce.  You can use a tablespoon of this to add juiciness to the lamb (after cooking it in the frying pan).  Also, you'll have sauce more left over - this is a great sauce for pasta, use it as a base for a soup, be creative - go nuts!

Now, it's time to prep your salsa.  

Lightly chop the tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers (de-seeded if you want to cut down on the heat), and cilantro.  Toss it all in a food processor with 1.5T of red wine vinegar, and puree until chunky.  Add a pinch of salt.

In a frying pan over medium heat with 1T to 2T of oil, add in the lamb and cook until parts of it  become crispy and brown.  This should take about 5 minutes.  Add in 1T of the sauce if you want right before taking it off the heat.

Spoon it into a nice tortilla, top with salsa, cilantro, and maybe some fresh avocado.  Enjoy!

2.5 lb / 1.1kg lamb shoulder
2 onions
1c chicken stock
1T cumin powder
1T coriander powder
1T whole cumin seeds
3 birdseye chiles, sliced in half
6 whole garlic cloves
a few tortillas
a few cilantro leaves for garnish
1 avocado (optional)

4 finger-hot peppers
1 handful cilantro
1 medium red onion
1 large or 2 medium tomatoes
1.5 T red wine vinegar

Song:  Jamie Cullum - Wind Cries Mary (cover of Jimi)
Wind Cries Mary by Jamie Cullum on Grooveshark

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