Tag Archives: pomegranate

Lettuce Wraps: Pomegranate Lacquered Lamb with Quinoa Pilaf and Spicy Hummus

Lamb Pomegranate TasteFood

Charleston Wine & Food Festival – Lambs + Clams Contest
Round 3 WINNER!
 Pomegranate Lacquered Lamb Lettuce Wraps
Quinoa Pilaf and Spicy Hummus

This month’s Lambs+Clams Contest, sponsored by the BB&T Charleston Wine Food Festival, featured a gorgeous slab of lamb shoulder provided by Border Springs Farm. I knew the lamb was coming and had some time to think about how I would like to prepare the meat. Lamb shoulder is a braising meat, best suited for slow cooking. The French famously do this in an all-day production, aptly named Gigot de Sept Heures, or Seven Hour Lamb. While I appreciate this method of slow cooking a tough cut of meat into supple submission with wine and aromatics, the end result is incredibly rich. After a few mouthfuls I find myself craving acidity and freshness to balance the unctuous meat.

This led me to think of Bo Ssam. Bo Ssam is a Korean specialty of slow roasted pork belly or shoulder, cured in sugar and salt. The pork slowly softens and caramelizes while cooking, finishing in a tender heap of meat that begs to be shredded and scooped into lettuce cups with rice and spicy chile sauce. The difference is that I had lamb, not pork, so I headed to the Middle East for inspiration. I generously salted the meat and coated it with a pomegranate molasses marinade and left it to brine overnight. Quinoa pilaf studded with pomegranate and mint replaced the rice, while a ramped up hummus spiked with harissa and extra lemon added heat and acidity. You might say that this was an around the world tour of inspiration: West meets East meets Middle East.

* Thank you for your votes! This was the winning recipe in Round 3. Please visit the Charleston Wine and Food Festival’s Facebook page to see all the entries to this month’s contest.

Lamb Pomegranate Lettuce TasteFood

Don’t be daunted by the length of this recipe. Most of the time involved is braising time. The quinoa and hummus are easy to make and may be prepared in advance of serving (they are also delicious on their own). The hardest part will be waiting while the lamb roasts and its intoxicating aroma wafts through your kitchen.

Pomegranate Lacquered Lamb Lettuce Wraps
with Quinoa Pilaf and Spicy Hummus

Begin the lamb one day before serving. While quinoa is not a Middle Eastern grain, it’s nutty and firm texture nicely complements the tender meat. Bulgur or couscous may be substituted for the quinoa. Serves 8 to 10.

Lamb:
1 (5 pound) lamb shoulder with bone
4 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
1/2 cup pomegranate molasses
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
Fresh mint leaves, chopped

Butter lettuce leaves
Spicy Hummus (recipe below)
Quinoa Pilaf (recipe below)
Pomegranate seeds
Fresh mint leaves
Lemon wedges
Hot sauce, optional

One day before serving, prepare the lamb. Score the lamb fat with a knife. Rub the lamb all over with 3 tablespoons salt. Whisk the pomegranate molasses, garlic, cumin and black pepper in a small bowl. Smear over the lamb to thoroughly coat. Arrange meat side-down in a large rimmed baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 24 hours, turning once or twice.

One hour before roasting, remove lamb from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature. Heat oven to 300 F. Transfer lamb to a roasting pan, meat-side side up. Pour any accumulated juices and marinade into a small saucepan. Roast lamb, uncovered, until very tender, about 5 hours. While the meat is roasting, boil the juices and marinade for 1 minute. Occasionally baste the meat with the marinade while roasting.

When the meat is fork tender, remove from oven and increase oven temperature to 450 F. Sprinkle lamb with 1 tablespoon salt and brown sugar. Return to oven and roast until dark brown and caramelized, about 15 minutes. Remove and cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, shred the lamb meat and place on a serving platter. Skim fat from the pan and drizzle pan juices over the lamb. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and mint.

Serve lamb family-style with Quinoa Pilaf and Spicy Hummus. Accompany with a platter of butter lettuce and bowls of pomegranate seeds, fresh mint, lemon wedges, and hot sauce.  Scoop a dab of hummus into the center of a lettuce leaf. Spoon a little quinoa over the hummus, then some of the lamb. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, mint and a squeeze of lemon juice – hot sauce optional, but highly recommeded. Pass the napkins.

Lamb glaze~ Pomegranate Lacquered Lamb at the 4 hour mark ~

Quinoa Pilaf:
1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, green and white parts divided
1 red serrano or jalapeno chile, stemmed and seeded, finely chopped
1 garlic clove
1 1/2 cups chicken stock or water
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup Italian parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

Place the quinoa in a fine-meshed sieve and rinse with water until the water runs clear. Drain thoroughly. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add white parts of the scallions, chile and garlic. Saute 2 minutes. Add quinoa and cook, stirring, to coat, 1 minute. Add stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until quinoa is tender and the little white tails are showing on the grains. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Add lemon, cumin, salt and pepper, to taste. Cool to luke warm. Stir in the pomegranate, parsley and mint. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Hummus:
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Juice of 2 lemons, about 1/2 cup
1/4 cup Greek-style whole milk yogurt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons tahini
2 to 3 teaspoons harissa paste, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Taste for seasoning. Hummus should not be too thick. If necessary, thin with additional olive oil. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Check out the other recipe posts from the other contest participants:
Peter Barrett @ A Cook Blog
Olga Berman @ Mango Tomato
David Dadekian @ Eat Drink RI
Gwen Pratesi @ Bunkycooks
Heather Scholten @ Farmgirl Gourmet
Cecilia Stoute @ One Vanilla Bean
Vivek Surti @ Vivek’s Epicurean Adventures