A very special day was approaching and I wanted to mark the occasion with a special dish. I wanted to impress someone very special to me and make a meal that was elegant, savory and a little bit different than my usual.
The very special day was our seventh wedding anniversary and the someone very special was obviously my husband. For some reason, our seventh anniversary seemed like a big one. Why? Well maybe because the number seven is supposed to be lucky, or because of that old movie with the seductive Marilyn Monroe, The Seven Year Itch, about getting all “itchy” after seven years of marriage. Well, thanks to this freezing weather, I have been moisturizing like crazy and have avoided getting itchy. I suspect that my husband has also been using my moisturizer, so thank goodness, we should not have to worry about either one of us getting the “itch”!
Each year we have been exchanging gifts pursuant to the traditional wedding anniversary gifts as set forth by those sentimental folks at Hallmark. One year it was wood. I quickly found a wooden handled spatula at a local discount store and he gave me diamond earrings. I know. He reaalllly messed that up big time. How could he forget about our Hallmark tradition?! I don’t know what he was thinking buying me diamond earrings, but I’m pretty sure Marilyn would have forgiven him so I did too. Lucky him.
This year the traditional gift was wool. Good grief! Wouldn’t that exacerbate the whole itching thing!? Was Hallmark deliberately trying to sabotage my marriage? A tradition is a tradition so I went ahead and bought him two wool sweaters that don’t fit and he gave me a wool scarf that doesn’t match my coat. Fail.
Then we decided maybe we could try our luck on a Lucky 7’s scratch off game from the New York Lottery! It seemed appropriate for the 7 years and to satisfy our supposed need to scratch something at this point in our marriage. No luck there either.
Finally, we came to the conclusion that we did not need any of these things to feel lucky. What is lucky is that we found each other in this world and fit so perfectly together. And that our love for each other is so strong, so true and so unconditional that we have so far been able to make seven great years together! For that, we toasted to being lucky in love and not the least bit itchy!
This dish was a success and not very difficult to prepare. It presented very nicely and my groom and I loved it. It’s elegant, but it should only take at the most a couple of hours to totally prepare so you could make it for a special occasion or any night of the week. If you made it during the week, I would suggest having your herbs and veggies cleaned and chopped up ahead of time.
What you will need:
2 Lamb shoulders about .75 lbs each
½ yellow onion – sliced thin or about 4 small shallots ( I didn’t have any so I used a regular yellow onion but shallots would probably have been a nicer)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
2 tbs fresh rosemary finely chopped
1 tbs fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 bunch of beets with greens – about 4-5 beets – thoroughly rinsed
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tbs fat of choice (I used bacon, but coconut oil works too)
Ground black pepper
1 cup balsamic vinegar
This is how you do it:
Take the lamb shoulders out about an hour or more before you start to cook so the meat is closer to room temperature.
Heat oven to 450 degrees.
After rinsing the dirt off the beets, remove the stems and set aside. Then cut into 1 inch pieces
1. Start with the veggies – Place cut-up beets, half of your prepared onion and the carrots in a shallow glass baking pan and generously salt and pepper them. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of the rosemary on them. Drizzle about 2 tbs of olive oil on them and stir around to evenly coat. Bake at 450 for ½ hour.
Then grab those beet greens and rinse off the leaves. Carefully tear the leaves off from the hard stems and rinse well again. Nothing grosser than taking a bite and getting some dirt! I know cavemen inadvertently ate some dirt but my paleo approach is not about re-enacting the Paleolithic Era because that is obviously impossible and stupid. It’s about emulating the basic diet of vegetables and meat with the goal to consume anti-inflammatory, nutrient dense food, but I digress… Okay, off my paleo soap-box and back to the beets.
Add a tablespoon of fat to a dutch oven on medium heat. Once hot and melted, add the beet greens and stir and cook a few minutes. Add some salt and pepper to season, stir and cook and then about a tablespoon or 2 of chicken broth. Turn down the heat to low and keep covered.
After a half hour stir the veggies around and check to see if they are done. They should need a few more minutes at that point. Turn the heat down to 400 and give them another 10 minutes. If they are done, take out and set aside. You can pop them back in at the end to heat them up.
2. For the Lamb – Heat half a tablespoon of fat in a cast iron pan on medium high heat. Salt, Pepper and put a pinch of rosemary on each side of the lamb. Once hot, sear the lamb on each side for about 3 minutes and then turn the heat down just a little and turn and cook on each side about 2 minutes. Add a little olive oil on top and finish it in the oven on 400 degrees for up to 5 minutes for medium well. If you want it more rare, after searing, give it one minute each side and finish in the oven for about 4 minutes. Just keep the searing time the same.
3. For the Balsamic Glaze – Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a new pan on medium low heat and the rest of your prepared onion or shallots. Saute’ a minute or 2 and then add the garlic for another minute. Keep it on low. When your lamb is finishing in the oven, turn up the heat on the onion and garlic. Add the rosemary and parsley and the balsamic. Bring to a boil and stir. Cook it down to about ¼ less balsamic and simmer about 10 minutes.
Once the lamb is done take out to rest about 5 minutes.
Place some beet greens on your plate, put the carrots and beets on top and the lamb shoulder along side it.
Pour the balsamic on top of the lamb. Give it a little bit more salt and pepper if you like. In my photo above I did not drown the lamb in the balsamic but after the shot I totally did and I suggest that you do too because it’s freakin’ delicious!