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Jenise

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Lamb shoulder and wheatberries

by Jenise » Sat Jun 02, 2018 7:53 am

On Thursday night we were served a course, to pair with Cab Franc, of roasted lamb shoulder with wheatberries that had been cooked in a meaty-winey sauce and accented with fried lovage leaves. As food and partner for the wine, it was outstanding on every level, but I especially appreciated being served two things that just literally never otherwise show up: lamb shoulder and whole wheatberries.

When I was a kid, whole lamb shoulder roasts were common in supermarkets--usually for braises, but sometimes deboned and stuffed. Haven't seen one in decades. It's all cut into shoulder steaks, which for the barbecue is a favorite thing. There are bones and gristle to deal with, but each slice separates easily into two or three pieces--no knife required--and I marinate them in a mixture of mustard, worcestershire sauce, sherry or vermouth and some rosemary to be eaten off the bone, like a rib. I love that aspect and find the chewy shoulder meat sweeter and less gamey than other, more celebrated cuts.

I have no idea who else ever buys this cut. I have never been served it in anyone else's home or any restaurant, until now.

And then the wheatberries! What a delightful thing--chef Todd put enough on our plates to constitute a side dish but he tumbled them over the lamb like a bunch of jewels. Once again, never had those in a restaurant before. In fact, I don't even cook them myself--I've probably put them into a loaf of bread or two, and that's it. There's an Armenian dish I fell in love with back in the 80's (and then forgot about) involving cooking a whole chicken with wheatberries for about four hours (deboning it about half way thru), when it literally becomes a big porridge (the chicken is meant to dissolve) that you top with cinammon-laced butter. It's divine, something an Armenian friend said was the chicken soup of his childhood. I would kill for a bowl of that right now.

Anyway, just riffing out loud on two unusual and humble ingredients that rocked my world a few days ago.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Jenise

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Re: Lamb shoulder and wheatberries

by Jenise » Sat Jun 02, 2018 7:56 am

I found a recipe! The chicken dish is called Chicken Herriseh, and apparently it's a traditional dish of Armenian New Year.

Here's the description:

Boil the chicken in 8 cups of water for about an hour and 45 minutes. Leave the lid on your pot but tilt it slightly so that not a whole lot of steam can escape.
Remove the chicken to a plate and let cool. Do not discard the broth.
Shred the chicken and set aside.
Strain the broth into a measuring cup to determine how much you have left. Then add water to the broth to bring the amount back up to 8 cups.
Put the broth in a large pot and add the wheat berries, the shredded chicken, and salt to taste.
Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Simmer covered for four to six hours, or until the wheat berries are soft. Don't be tempted to stir the pot.
Smash the wheat berries and chicken with a potato masher. The finished mixture should look like oatmeal. If it doesn't, you didn't cook it long enough.
Serve in bowls with a pat of butter and some cumin and paprika sprinkled on top.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: Lamb shoulder and wheatberries

by Jeff Grossman » Sat Jun 02, 2018 1:15 pm

That's a recipe for happy tootheless peasants! :mrgreen:

I can't remember the last time I've even seen a lamb shoulder roast, but I don't miss it. I dislike shoulder chops -- too much work for too little reward. I'll take loin or rib chops anytime. Not to mention leg. I've grilled some good riblets, too.
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Jenise

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Re: Lamb shoulder and wheatberries

by Jenise » Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:53 pm

Oh boo hiss. :) Don't think of it as a steak. Think of it as a couple ribs with a LOT of meat on them. Changed expectations=big reward!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

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