Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Coffee Rubbed Lamb Ribs and Butternut Soup

I've said it before, but I'm gonna say it again.  It's not me, it's the lamb.  I promise.  If you think you don't like lamb, it's because you've never had this lamb.  Meaning, katahdin lamb grassfed out in the Sequatchie Cove.  It's just so different than the "other stuff"-whatever you've had before that you think you don't like.  It's mild, it's tender, it was raised correctly under the sunshine with love, it wasn't shipped from all the way around the world (not that there's anything wrong with New Zealand as a place, it's just an awfully long way to ship something that is also raised almost in your back yard).  And best of all, it is literally almost impossible to mess up.  I don't know what it is, but I have yet to ruin any lamb dish.  You could burn it, but I bet it would still be good underneath.  It stays tender and succulent no matter what- even if you forget and overcook it.  Try it.  It will change your life.  O, and PS, they aren't itty bitty and cute when you eat them- they look like sheep.  Which makes us all feel better somehow.

Ribs with the Rub

I pretty much took this directly from Barbecue! Bible by Steven Raichlen, plus or minus a few things (cardamom).  It was meant for a brisket in the book, but works on lamb just fine.  I bet it would work on about anything.
  • 1/2 cup finely ground good coffee- may I suggest anything from Velo?
  • 1/2 cup (but I'd use a tad bit less next time) kosher or sea salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Hungarian paprika
  • 2 T ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup chopped garlic
This should be about 2 cups- enough for 6-8 pounds of meat.  Rub this (the recipe makes it "wet" by including oil, but you don't need this on a fatty meat) all over the ribs, fold them up in a baking dish and set them in the refrigerator from a few hours to as long as overnight.  

Preheat the oven to very low- around 275 or 300 degrees F.  Cover the ribs tightly with aluminum foil.   I had so many ribs that they were all stacked on top of each other in the dish.  This turned out to be fine.  Place them in a single layer if you desire, unrolled.  If not, just unroll them and stack them on top pf each other.   Cook til the ribs are done and tender and pulling away from the bones at the ends- about 2-3 hours, depending on the size and how hot the oven is.    Take the ribs out of the pan (they should be sitting in a nice fatty paprika colored liquid), put them on a platter and clean your baking dish.  Place the ribs back in the clean dish and pour a touch of white wine and tomato juice on top.  You can let these cool and put them in the fridge now until you are ready to eat, and reheat them later OR heat the oven to 350 degrees and cook them, uncovered, til slightly more crispy- about 25 or 30 minutes.  Slice into portions of about 3 ribs and serve warm.    If you have chilled them, let ribs come to room temp before reheating.

Butternut Soup

For about four-six people. 
  • 1 medium butternut squash- halved
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 t nutmeg
  • 1/2 t garam masala
  • 1 T oil, butter, lard
  • 1 potato, washed and cubed
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 t minced chile, or 1/2 t dried cayenne
  • 2 T finely chopped fresh ginger root
  • 2 lime leaves, or 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 4 cups chicken or veggie broth, or just water
  • Salt to taste
Bake the butternut, cut side down, on a pan with a small amount of water at 350, til the thickest part is soft when poked (about 45 minutes, maybe less).  Let cool just a smidge, if you'd like.  Then scoop out the flesh and put it in a bowl- compost the skin.  Stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg, masala, and a touch of salt into the squash and let sit while you prepare the rest.

Heat the oil in a heavy soup pot til warm, then throw in the garlic, ginger, and hot pepper,  followed by the potato.  Add a touch of salt and saute til fragrant.  Add the broth and cook til the potatoes are done- about 15 minutes.  Let cool slightly, then blend briefly til smooth.

This is the way I do it, so I don't have to juggle between the blender and pots and bowls:  I blend the liquid with whatever else goes in the soup, then I blend the squash separately til smooth, then I dump it all together and stir to combine.  

When everything is smooth and combined, add the lemongrass or lime leaves, taste for salt and add as needed (but remember the leaves will help add depth as it cooks, so don't over salt it at this point).  Simmer for about 30 minutes more.  Or, better yet, simmer about 15 minutes, let cool, refrigerate, and reheat and eat it the next day (soup's always better the next day).  

Serve warm.

1 comment:

Laura said...

Mmmm, thanks, Ann. I'm gonna try those ribs soon. And maybe that soup, too. They were delicious.