Thursday, October 20, 2011

RECIPE - Lamb Loin with Tamarind Sauce (Lombo de Cordeiro ao Molho de Tamarindo)

This recipe for rare-cooked loin of lamb with a sweet-and-sour tamarind sauce is the creation of chef Jeff Colas from Maison do Bomfim restaurant in the charming baroque city of Olinda in the state of Pernambuco. With a marvelously-preserved architectural heritage and brightly painted houses that line the steep cobblestone streets of the town, Olinda has long been an artists' colony and in recent years has become a favorite vacation spot for tourists whose interests go beyond beach, sun and sand. Many of the historic homes of Olinda have been turned into art galleries, artisan shops, inns or restaurants.

Lamb isn't often seen on restaurant menus in Brazil - in fact in traditional Brazilian cooking goat sits in the place that lamb occupies in many cultures' culinary pantheon. But when you find it, it can be very good indeed. This dish pairs the meat with a sauce made from tamarind juice. The sharp acidity of the juice cuts the  fattiness of the meat, and the sugar softens its bite. Because the sauce is very rich (it uses dark beer as its primary liquid) and the lamb is too, it's best to serve this in relatively small portions and to accompany it with steamed vegetables rather than a starch.
RECIPE - Lamb Loin with Tamarind Sauce (Lombo de Cordeiro ao Molho de Tamarindo)
4 portions

For the lamb:
3 Tbsp butter
2 invidual lamb loins, boneless
coarse salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste

For the sauce:
1/2 cup (100 gr) granulated white sugar
3/4 cup (200 ml) tamarind juice
3/4 cup (200 ml) dark beer
2 cups (500 ml) water
3 basil leaves
3 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 whole small chili pepper (jalapeno or serrano)
In a medium sauce pan combine all the sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer the sauce for 40 minutes, or until it has reduced in volume by half. Remove from heat, discard all the solid ingredients, and reserve.

Season the lamb loins with the salt and pepper to taste. In a non-stick frying pan melt the butter and when it's hot and bubbling but not smoking add the lamb loins. Sear them on all sides over high heat, working quickly to turn them in the melted butter. Do not overcook - the lamb should be rare inside. When seared, remove from the heat, and reserve the loins, keeping them warm.

Bring the reserved sauce quickly to a boil. While heating the sauce, cut each lamb loin into thick slices. Plate the slices decoratively, then drizzle the sauce over them and serve immediately. Pass the remaining sauce in a gravy boat for those who wish more sauce.

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