long-cooked lamb, brothy chickpeas, that's amore
home movies... wednesday!
Hello and welcome to Home Movies WEDNESDAY! If you’ve found your way over by some miracle but are not yet subscribed, here, let me help you with that:
Hello and welcome to our regularly scheduled programming, a few more Home Movies treats before the year ends. We’ll be taking January off (but other newsletters will be flowing, don’t worry) and will see you back in the new year.
I know at least 7 of you reading this are excited to learn this week’s episode is a giant pot of lamb— specifically my favorite lamb to make, holiday or not. It’s not especially “festive,” unless you, like me, consider any large hunk of meat to be incredibly festive.
If you’re considering not moving forward with the rest of this newsletter because you identify as someone who is nervous to cook lamb, doesn’t like the way lamb tastes, have never had success with a lamb recipe, I would really beg of you: try this lamb. This lamb isn’t like other lamb.
This Grecian-inspired lamb is slow cooked (painfully slow, so very very slow, 10-12 hours slow) in a bottle of white wine (which cuts through a lot of the fat and perceived “gaminess”) until it’s falling apart tender but shockingly somehow still pink inside (magic!). There are tiny, beautiful potatoes (peeled or not, whole or halved), whole heads of garlic, hearty herbs, olive oil and lots of salt. This lamb is impossible to mess up (unless you somehow ignore my recipe and don’t cook it as long as I say!), is thee most “hands-off” dinner party dinner you could possibly imagine, and tastes better than it has any right to.
Cook it while you sleep, cook it while you work, cook it while you do literally anything other than cook.
Because it’s the holidays, the lamb needs friends. I like to make something else if my oven is already going to be on for so long, but it has to be something that also benefits from an eternity in the oven. Something like ✨chickpeas✨.
Given a similar treatment (put in a pot, covered with ample water, plenty of salt, some fat rings of sliced onion and a generous pour of olive oil, cooked for an eternity), these chickpeas come back from their oven sabbatical transformed and grown. Elegant and chic. Knowing things they didn’t know before they went into the oven. They’re brothy, deeply flavorful from the inside out, supple to their core, cooking gently and perfectly while the lamb cooks and you sleep.
Not to be outdone, there’s also a pile of anchovy bitter greens, some garlicky yogurt, and some light red wine if you play your cards right.
A very special thank you to Maker’s Mark for sponsoring this week’s episode of Home Movies! To give the gift of a personalized Maker’s Mark bottle for the holidays, head here.
Slow Cooked Lamb with White Wine and Potatoes
The most important part of this recipe is that it takes a long (slow) time, and I prefer to do it overnight, so plan ahead. Secondly, don’t overthink it. It’s a beyond simple dish with exquisite results, so resist the urge to make it fussier than it needs to be. The technique happens in the oven, not before and not after (that said, don’t forget to season everything very well with salt before it goes into the oven). It’s the most foolproof way I know how to cook lamb, relying heavily on trusting the process (the process being– it goes into the oven, and 12 hours later, it comes out).
I like to give the option of boneless lamb here because I know it’s what people can easily find, but I promise the bone-in cut is worth calling a butcher or meat counter to see if they can set one aside (the bone holds the cut together and seasons the cooking liquid even more deeply- plus, the drama!). As for the potatoes, just make sure they are waxy. If they are small enough, you can even add them in whole.
1 4–5 bone-in (or 3–4 pound boneless, if that’s all you can find) shoulder or leg of lamb, untied
Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
1 750ml bottle dry white wine, such as pinot grigio
2 pounds waxy potatoes, such as yukon gold, large fingerlings, etc. peeled or unpeeled, halved or left whole, depending on size
2 heads garlic, unpeeled, halved crosswise
1 lemon, halved crosswise, plus another for serving
1 bunch oregano, marjoram or thyme; plus more for serving
Olive oil, to drizzle
1-2 cups tender herbs, such as parsley, dill, chives, mint, for serving
Greek yogurt or labne seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic, for serving
1. Preheat oven to 275°. Season lamb very well with salt and pepper. Leave in the fridge for 12-24 hours if you can– if not, just go straight into the pot (large cuts of meat always benefit from a long salting prior to cooking, lamb is no exception). Place in a large (at least 8qt) dutch oven or other heavy bottomed casserole dish with a tight fitting lid (a large baking dish or ceramic vessel would work, too).
2. Scatter potatoes, garlic, lemon and oregano around lamb and pour bottle of wine over everything. Give it a good glug of olive oil so a nice, thick layer is floating on top (I think I forgot this in the video– but do as I say, not as I do!).
3. Place in the oven and do not look, peek or touch for at least 10 hours*, closer to 12 if your lamb is on the larger side. If it goes 11 when you meant 10, or 13 when you meant 12, that’s okay. This lamb is resilient.
*If using boneless, it will be closer to 8 hours
4. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Transfer the lamb and potatoes to a large serving platter to make serving easier–the lamb will pull apart and fall off the bone, that’s okay, that’s still gorgeous to me. Spoon over all the potatoes and bits of garlic, plus remaining sauces from the bottom of the pot. Top with herbs and another good pour of olive oil and serve alongside yogurt sauce.
DO AHEAD: This lamb can be made 3–4 days ahead, stored in the fridge and covered. To serve, gently reheat in the same pot in a 275° oven until lamb and potatoes are warmed through and scatter with herbs.
Brothy Chickpeas with Calabrian Chili
More so than a bean, a chickpea can really COOK FOREVER. Soak or don’t (!!!), it doesn’t matter because a chickpea will test your limits on how long you can wait for a legume to be tender. That’s why doing it in the oven, while you sleep and dream of chickpeas, is the (best?) way. The contents of this pot are austere, but not boring. To me, these chickpeas are a perfect simple side dish to any large format protein you’re serving, but they can also be used as a blank canvas for whatever other chickpea journey you’re on. Use them for a frizzled chickpea salad, crush them with some raw garlic and serve with fried eggs. The other day I turned half of them into hummus and it was the best I’ve ever made.
1 pound dried chickpeas (I don’t soak, but if you are a soaker, go ahead and soak)
2 large shallots or 1 large onion, sliced (about ¼”-- not too thick, not too thin)
1 head garlic, unpeeled, halved crosswise
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1-2 bay leaves or a few sprigs of thyme, oregano or rosemary
Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
A few spoonfuls of calabrian chili (chopped, crushed or paste) or more crushed red pepper flakes
Lemon, halved, for squeezing over
1. Preheat oven to 275°.
2. In a large, oven-safe pot, combine chickpeas, onion, bay leaves and crushed red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper (about 1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt, but could maybe use even a pinch more) and pour ¼ cup olive oil over. Fill the pot with water until the top layer of chickpeas is covered by about 2 inches of water (about 10 cups, pot dependent). Cover the pot (use foil if you don’t have a lid) and place the oven. Let cook (and don’t touch it) for 10–12 hours (if they go 11 when you meant 10, or 13 when you meant 12, that’s okay. These chickpeas are resilient).
3. Once cooked, the chickpeas will be tender, the shallot (or onion) will be golden and caramelized, and the broth will be lucious. Transfer chickpeas and some of that glorious broth to a large bowl and spoon over a bit of calabrian chili or more crushed red pepper flakes, plus a nice squeeze of lemon.
DO AHEAD: Chickpeas can be made 5 days ahead, kept refrigerated. Rewarm in their broth before serving.
Bitter Greens with Anchovy
We’ve all sauteed greens in garlic and anchovy before, but it is still one of my favorite sides to eat with a large piece of meat. I love the mix of dandelion (for bitterness) and swiss chard (for leafiness), but you can skip dandelion if that is not for you. Just be sure to really cook these greens until the moisture has all evaporated. You’ll be left with concentrated flavors of GREEN, anchovy and garlic, intense and flavorful, tasting purely of themselves.
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more
4–6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
4–8 anchovy filets (about half a 3oz. jar)
2 large bunches greens, such as dandelion, Swiss chard, or kale, thick stems removed, torn into large pieces
1 lemon, halved, for squeezing
1. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and swirl in the oil, toasting them for 2-3 minutes. Add anchovy filets, stirring so they melt into the oil (don’t worry about any larger pieces, they’ll break down when you add the greens).
2. Working in batches as needed, add greens, season with salt and pepper and toss to wilt in the garlic, letting them cook down briefly before adding more.
3. Remove from heat and transfer to a serving plate or bowl. Squeeze with lemon, maybe a pinch of flaky salt, and serve.
DO AHEAD: I like doing these greens just as I’m about to sit down– if you want to saute them beforehand, you can, just leave them in the skillet and gently rewarm to take the chill off.
Any time I’m slow cooking, it’s in a Le Creuset dutch oven. I have a few in different sizes (I use the 7 1/4 quart for the lamb and the 3 1/2 quart for the chickpeas in ‘flame’ and ‘white’, respectively) and they have held up beautifully over the years. Excellent investment piece for your kitchen.
If you’re looking for some festive candles for your holiday table, my current favorites are 100% beeswax from Greentree Home (we also sell them at First Bloom if you find yourself in the Catskills). I’m using the square tapers in the video—very chic, very fun and I have them in just about every color.