Stewed leg of lamb
- 2 lb leg of lamb
- 1 ¾ lb ripe tomatoes
- 3 ½ oz onion
- ½ oz rosemary
- ½ oz garlic
- ½ oz sage
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
De-bone the leg of lamb and tie it firmly with kitchen twine so that it will remain firm and not lose its shape during cooking.
With a sharp, long knife, make a deep incision in the meat. Chop the sage, rosemary, garlic and stuff them inside the meat.
Wash and peel the tomatoes, then remove the seeds and pass through a sieve to make a puree.
Place a saucepan with a high edge over medium heat. Add the oil and, once hot, add the lamb. Season with salt and pepper and brown on all sides.
Once the meat has browned uniformly, add finely chopped onion and continue cooking for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Wash and puree the tomatoes. Add tomato pulp to the lamb, cover the pan with its lid and cook on moderate heat fro 45 minutes. Check regularly and season with salt and pepper.
Add the tomato puree to the pan and cover. Stew over medium heat for 45 minutes. Be sure to check the temperature from time to time to make sure the lamb doesn’t stick to the pan. Add a couple of tbsp of hot water if necessary.
At the end of cooking, season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat. Let rest.
Slice the lamb and place on a serving dish. Finish with its sauce and serve hot.
The lamb should not be over-cooked, otherwise it will be stringy. The pan juices should be served with the lamb once it has been sliced. You might consider marinating the lamb in red wine before cooking to remove some of the strong characteristic flavor.
Lamb has been raised along the Mediterranean since ancient times. The Greeks, Etruscans and Romans ate a considerable amount of it. Lamb, however, is known more for its symbolic value than its culinary one: this animal has forever been the symbol of innocence and sacrifice, mentioned repeatedly in the Bible.
In the Old Testament, for example, lamb often appears as the object of sacrifice offered to the God of Israel. The most famous sacrifice of lamb is that the Jews the evening before their exodus from Egypt. In the New Testament, the lamb was used to represent Jesus Christ for having sacrificed himself for humanity. Due to these strong symbolic ties, lamb remains still today one of the foods most commonly served at Easter.
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