Lamb breast or belly is a great cut of meat for braising or stuffing but is not always found in the market.  This cut of meat is normally cheap but doesn't have a ton of meat on it.  Lamb breast is very tender, juicy, and very flavorful because of the fat content.  This cut, if your not familiar with it, is very much like a spare ribs or think, lamb bacon.   The skin can crispin to a crunchy consistency and meat stays nice and tender.  It really is easy to prepare and the results are fantastic.   Whole foods here in Austin is doing a seasonal special on Icelandic Lamb for the next few months and when I saw they had lamb belly I had to get it.  I took this preparation into a Mediterranean direction because I had pomegranates from our tree, local eggplant, and goat yogurt.

2 pc Lamb breast with bones (3 lb roughly)

1 onion

5 garlic cloves

4 tbsp of Za'atar spice

2 tbsp of vadouvan spice

2 carrots

1 celery

1 cup of pomegranates seeds

2 jalapenos

2 bay leaves

2 cup of white wine

4 cups of water

3 tbsp of olive oil

Eggplant chips

1 eggplant roasted

3/4 cup of potato flour

5 tbsp of water

1 tbsp of chopped cilantro

salt to taste

1 head of cauliflower cut into florets and roasted

1 cup of goat yogurt

1 lemon juiced

1 tbsp of dried dill

1 tbsp of za'atar spice

salt and pepper to taste

Pomegranate gastrique 

1 1/2 cup of pomegranate juice (mine was white because of our seeds where white)

1/2 cup of champagne vinegar

1 tsp of salt

2/3 cup of sugar

1 cup of roasted pistachios chopped

micro greens

Fluer de sel

For the Lamb breast

Season both sides of the lamb breast with salt, pepper, za'atar, and vadouvan spices.  In a large braising pot add 3 tbsp of olive oil and the lamb breast.  Sear on both side for 2 minutes.  You don't want to sear the meat too long or otherwise the spices with burn.  Add all your vegetables and cook for 2 minutes.  Then add the white wine and reduce by half.  Then add water and pomegranate seeds.  bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a light simmer.  Cook for 2 1/2 hours until the lamb is fork tender.  Let it cool for about 20 minutes in the liquid and then pull out and put the lamb breast on a sheet pan.  Now is a good time to take out any of the bones and cartilage from the breast.  They should pop right out.  Then turn the breast over so that the skin side is up and place a piece of parchment paper on top of the breast.  Place another sheet pan on top and place two large cans or bricks on top to weight the breast down.  Place in the refrigerator over night.

For the Eggplant chips

Take roasted eggplant and place in food processor.  Add a tsp of salt and potato starch and puree.  While the food processor is running add 4 to 5 tbsp of water to make a smooth dough.  The dough will be a little sticky and you can add a touch more potato starch.  Place the dough between two pieces of plastic and roll the dough out thin enough to be placed into a pasta machine.  Then take the dough and run it through your pasta machine until you get down to the second to last setting.  Then cut your dough into 1 foot pieces and wrap with plastic.  Place into a steamer and steam for 10 minutes.  Let the eggplant cool for a minute, then unwrap and place flat on a silpat.  Place the eggplant sheets that are one the silpat into a food dehydrator for about 3 hours set on 150 degrees.  Then to finish the chips you can take a small pot of frying oil and set to 325 degrees.  Place in the fryer and fry for about 5 to 10 seconds.  Strain out and season with salt.

Pomegranate gastrique

Place all the ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil.  Turn down and simmer for about 15 minutes until it thickens slightly.  Cool to room temperature.

For Goat yogurt

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and season with salt.  Set aside until ready to plate.

To Finish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Take cauliflower florets toss with olive oil salt and pepper and place in the oven for 20 minutes ( I roasted mine in my wood oven, for added flavor). Take out the lamb breast and remove the weight, sheet pan, and parchment paper.  Cut the lamb breast into 1 inch blocks (You can follow the cuts from the butcher).  Then in a cast iron pan on medium high heat add a tbsp of oil or lamb fat and sear the lamb for 2 minutes skin side down.  Place the pan in the oven and roast for 12-15 minutes until the skin is crispy and the meat is tender and juicy.  Take out and season with flue de sel.  Finish the plate by add the yogurt, gastrique, and pistachios.  Garnish with micro greens and serve!

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