Lamb Rendang (gluten-free)

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I had a recipe go rogue on me last week. I was just going along, minding my own business, following a recipe 
to the letter (very unlike me), and everything went to shambles.

But the flavors were so delicious that I have to give you the recipe anyway. I have totally tweaked the technique here, because somehow, I ended up trying to stovetop braise a piece of lamb in far too little liquid and with far too much heat (how? THE STOVE WAS ON LOW), then salvaging most of what was in the burnt pan and kind of starting again.

It was so worth it, though. The lamb is braised in a combination of curry, coriander, red pepper, orange zest and onion so savory it practically explodes with flavor on your tongue. The coconut milk adds just a touch of smoothness, and the braising method ensures the meat is perfectly tender. 

The original recipe called for lamb shanks, though I used a leftover part of a leg of lamb. It tasted great, but a shank might have held up a little better and got the caramelization the original recipe promised. I don’t know, I had leftover lamb in my freezer that I’d spent too much money on, and so I was pretty determined to make this recipe work.

If you’re paleo or primal, leave out the sugar or replace it with maple syrup. I promise, it will be just as good.

Lamb Rendang
For the paste
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground red pepper flakes
  • zest of 1 orange
For the lamb
  • 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 1-pound lamb shanks
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 2 14-ounce cans coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 teaspoons brown sugar
Instructions
    1. Combine all of your paste ingredients in a food processor or blend with a mortar and pestle (or just chop incredibly finely) and mix until a paste is formed. Set aside.
    2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
    3. Rub your lamb shanks with salt and pepper, and heat a heavy-bottomed pot (Dutch Oven preferred) over high heat. Add oil and heat, then add in the shanks and cook for 5-6 minutes or so, turning, so that all of the sides become a little browned. Remove the shanks to a plate and set aside.
    4. Add your paste to the pot, reduce the heat to medium and cook until fragrant, stirring frequently, for about 8-10 minutes, until the paste’s liquid has reduced by half. Add in the orange juice, orange zest, coconut milk, water and sugar and stir to combine.
    5. Cover the pot with aluminum foil, then place the lid on top. Place in oven and bake for roughly three to four hours, or until so tender it’s falling apart.
    6. Remove from oven, and use two forks to shred the lamb. Cook over medium-high heat on the stove until all liquid is evaporated and meat is caramelized.
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