cajun

Slow-Braised Cajun Spiced Leg of Lamb

I made a feast for Easter. We ate garlic-parmesan potatoes, honey-whiskey carrots, barbecue-grilled veggies, homemade bread, a fall-apart leg of lamb, and a couple of salads. I barbecued the lamb on very high heat, mainly to brown the surfaces but also to give it a smoky taste. I did this a day in advance, and I would recommend giving yourself a similar head start. If you're the last minute type, just start early morning on serving day. The size of the leg does not really matter, but you'll have to reduce the cooking time a bit if you don't have a whole leg to, say, 6-7 hours. You'll know it's finished when it comes straight off the bone. You can use this Cajun Spice Mix.

Ingredients

• 1 leg of lamb • 1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika • 2 onions, roughly chopped • 2 cups tomatoes, crushed • 2 cups red wine • couple pinches of salt • 3 tablespoons dijon mustard

Spice Rub

• 2 tablespoons oil • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped • 4 sprigs thyme, leaves only • 1 tablespoon cajun spices • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper • 1/2 teaspoon salt • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 225°F. Rub your leg of lamb with some oil, salt and paprika. Grill it on the barbecue on all surfaces (or in a pan if you have one large enough), and make sure the grill is really hot. Put the wine, onions, and tomatoes in a large roasting pan. Add the leg of lamb. Mix all of the spice rub ingredients together. Brush the lamb with the mustard, and rub the spices on the surface. Cover and cook in the oven for 7 to 8 hours. Take it out a couple of times and baste it with the juices so that it doesn't dry out. Reserve the meat. For the sauce, strain the liquid and reduce it by half on medium-high heat. Skim away the fat during reduction. Serve.

The Basics - Stock, Mayo, and Spices

Here are a few recipes that will set your cooking apart: homemade stock; mayonnaise or, as my fiance's family calls it, "Food of the Gods"; and a Cajun spice mix, which makes flavoring a snap.

Yields 5-6 cups Will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days or you can freeze it.

Vegetable Stock

• 2 medium onions, chopped • 2 medium carrots, chopped • 1-2 stalks celery, chopped • 2 garlic cloves • 2 bay leaves • 1-2 sprigs thyme • 2 branches parsley • 1 teaspoon black peppercorn, crushed

Put all ingredients in a pot and cover with water. (about 8 cups) Simmer on very low heat for 1 to 2 hours. Strain, removing the veg from the broth. Allow the broth to cool and refrigerate.

Chicken Stock

Use the same ingredients as above but add 1-2 lb of chicken bones/ carcass (meaty parts and skin on) and an extra 4 cups of water. Simmer on very low heat for at least 2 hours (more is better), skimming the foam that forms on the surface. Strain, allow to cool and refrigerate.

Mayonnaise

Use neutral oils like sunflower, canola or grapeseed. You can mix one of these with half olive oil if you like it.

Yields about 2 cups

• 2 egg yolks • 1 1/2 cup of oil • 2 tablespoons lemon juice • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Whisk or blend with a hand mixer/blender the yolks, mustard, half of the lemon juice and the salt. Then add the oil in drizzles, little by little and never stop mixing. Once all of the oil has been incorporated you’ll have a nice, thick mayo. Add the rest of the lemon juice. It will keep for a couple of days in the fridge.

Aioli

Once your mayo is done add • 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Honey Dijonnaise

Once your mayo is done add • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard • 1 tablespoon of honey

Cajun Mayonnaise

Once your mayo is done add • 2 teaspoons cajun spice mix

Cajun Spices

You can rub this Cajun spice mix on meat or fish, or put it in a marinade, batter, or sauce.

• 2 tablespoons paprika • 2 teaspoons onion powder • 2 teaspoons garlic powder • 2 teaspoons salt • 1 teaspoon black pepper • 1 teaspoon dried thyme • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix all the ingredients. Keep in a sealed container.