A LAMB IS ONE YEAR OLD OR LESS. Hogget is up to two—and after that, they’re mutton. Ours are on their way. They’re usually one-and-a-half years old, and about 100 pounds. It’s a great size for cooking. They’ve got real flavour, but they’re not too mature. The colour is this incredible deep red, like beef. It’s so tender. It’s all because of Gerrit [Van Hierden]. He grows his own grasses and grains for them, he has his own water supply —he is in total control. —B.C. (Chef de Cuisine)
SHANKS AND JUS:
- 2 hogget (or lamb) shanks, about 500 g (1 lb) each
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Salt, pepper
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- ½ carrot, chopped
- 1 Roma tomato, halved
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp black peppercorns
- 125 ml (½ cup) red wine
- 1 L (1 quart) lamb, veal or dark chicken stock
- 2 filets of hogget (or lamb leg, o
- 2 lamb loins), about 450 g (1 lb) total
- Salt, pepper
- 3 tbsp canola oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
TOMATO AND ROULADE:
- 500 g (about 1 lb) green tomatoes
- 80 g (2½ oz) glucose (or corn) syrup
- 75 ml ( cup) white wine vinegar
- 2 tsp mustard seed
- 3 cloves, crushed
- 12 large Swiss chard leaves
- 1 tbsp butter
- Black garlic purée*
- Eggplant chips*
- 2 tomatillos, very thinly sliced (preferably on a mandoline)
Preheat oven to 95°C (200°F).
Coat shanks lightly with olive oil, then season generously. Heat remaining oil in a medium-sized saucepan on medium-high. Sear shanks on all sides. Set aside, and drain.
Sauté onion, celery, carrot, tomato and garlic until vegetables wilt and begin to colour—about 5 minutes. Add thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns, raise heat to medium-high, and deglaze. Once wine has reduced to syrup, return shanks to pot, add stock to cover, and transfer to the oven until tender—about 4 hours.
Set aside to cool for an hour. Remove shanks, shred meat and discard bones. Set meat aside, covered. Reduce braising liquid by half, strain, discard solids and reserve sauce. Meanwhile, pulse tomatoes in a food processor until chunky. Combine in a saucepan with the glucose, vinegar, mustard and cloves, and reduce over medium heat until mixture thickens to a jam, and set aside.
Remove stalks from chard leaves, and mince. Blanch the leaves, then drain. Sweat the minced stalks in butter for 5 minutes. Add reserved shank meat, enough reserved sauce to coat, and enough tomato jam to bind the mixture. Salt to taste, and set aside. Arrange chard leaves on a work surface, place 2 tbsp of lamb mixture at centre, and roll into a ball. Set the roulades aside. Rest hogget (or lamb) on countertop for 30 minutes.
Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet on high, add oil, and sear hogget until bronzed on all sides. Reduce heat to medium-low, add the butter, garlic and thyme, and cook the meat gently, basting and turning it, until mediumrare—about 5 minutes. Set aside to rest under a tent of aluminum foil. To finish, steam the roulades until heated through—about 3 minutes.
Warm the sauce. Reheat lamb in pan—1 minute per side. Smear each of 4 warmed plates with garlic purée. Slice hogget filet against the grain and distribute among the plates, arranging slices on the garlic. Drizzle sauce around periphery, place roulades on top, scatter with tomatillo slices and eggplant chips.
photography courtesy of jf gingras / @jfgingrass