A Seasonal Whole Lamb Recipe from our Norcia, Umbria Cooking Vacation

November 20, 2020  |  By Peg Kern
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Seasonal ingredients are important just about anywhere you go in Italy. But in the town of Norcia, they have a whole movement, called “Salus per Cibum,” dedicated to respecting the land by cooking with local ingredients.

This particular recipe – Agnello, Patate e Tartufo – from Chef Emanuele, former chef of our two Norcia, Umbria, cooking vacations, is a part of that movement, as the dish is born from Emanuele’s strong desire to use the raw materials of his “territtorio,” particularly the National Park of Monti Sibillini.

See all our culinary vacations in Umbria.

AgnelloAccording to Chef Emanuele, “By using this lamb Sopravvissano, pink, little fat and delicate flavor and gentle, enriched with the prized black truffle of Norcia, we wanted to interpret the tradition in a modern way, without changing its identity and while preserving the aromas and taste.”

To make this dish here in the States? You may need to put in a special call to your butcher. Or, you could just head over to Norcia and learn it directly from the master himself during either A Food Lover’s Paradise in Norcia, or Cooking and Hiking in the Umbrian Hills.

Agnello, Patate e Tartufo

Serves: 10
Prep time: 24 hours
Cook time: 12 hours
Cook method: Various

Ingredients for the lamb:

  • 1 whole lamb (about 6.7 kg)
  • 500 grams of potatoes
  • 200 gr Black Truffle of Norcia (melanosporum Vittadinis)
  • 100 gr of lard d’Arnad (fatback lamb bacon)
  • 400 gr wild baby spinach leaves
  • 6-7 fresh sage leaves
  • 200 gr butter
  • 5 l of olive oil
  • 150 gr of pork omentum
  • 2 lbs potatoes
  • lemon juice
  • salt & pepper

Ingredients for the sauce: 

  • Lamb bones from above
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 bouquet garni (rosemary, sage, bay, thyme)
  • 50g tomato paste
  • 5g black pepper
  • 300g of white wine

Cook with us in Italy!


Prepare the various cuts of lamb

1. With a boning knife slice the lamb in various cuts (or have your butcher do this): separate the thighs and shoulders from the body, remove the liver, separate the ribs from the belly.

2. The confit of lamb thighs and shoulders should be cooked at a low temperature: Brown the shoulders and the thighs of the lamb well in a pan, season with salt and pepper, then put them in a pot of olive oil that holds them comfortably. Cook covered at 75°C (165°F) for about 12 hours, checking the oil temperature with a thermometer. After about 12 hours the meat will be very soft, drain the oil from the shoulders and thighs and with your hands shred the meat into small pieces, and place in a pan forming a brick about 2-3 cm high. Weigh the brick of meat down with another pan, and place in the refrigerator overnight.

3. The next day, remove the meat from the pan and cut into cubes of 4 cm square.

4. Fry the cubes in hot oil before serving.

For the roast lamb “porchetta”

5. Spread the lamb bacon (lard d’Arnad) on a cutting board, add salt and pepper and a thin layer of grated black truffle of Norcia.

6. Arrange the lamb loin on top of the slices of lamb bacon and roll to form a traditional “porchetta” shape (a cylinder).

7. Tie with kitchen twine to fix the shape.

8.Bake at 200°C (400°F) for 15 minutes.

For the lamb chops

9. Clean the bones of the ribs by removing the residue of skin and cartilage, and tie the meat of the ribs.

10. Season with salt and brown in a pan with extra virgin olive oil and a sprig of rosemary.

11. Finish cooking in the oven at 200°C for 2 minutes.

For the liver

12.Clean and wash the liver. Cut into large pieces about 5 cm by 5 cm. Wrap the pieces with the sage leaves, then with the omentum, and then cook using the sous vide technique for 2 hours at 65°C (about 150°F).

13. Cut each piece in two and brown before serving.

For the mashed potatoes

14. Peel, wash, and chop the potatoes more or less equally. Cook in boiling salted water until well cooked.

15. Drain and with the help of a whisk beat together with butter and salt. Mount the puree until it is soft and smooth. Add the juice of ½ lemon and keep warm.

For the lamb sauce

16. Use all the remaining bones of the lamb. Break the bones and roast them in the oven at 200°C for about 20 minutes.

17. Wash and coarsely chop the vegetables and brown them in a large pot.

18. Add the lamb bones to the vegetables in the pot, along with the bouquet garni, pepper, and the garlic clove.

19. Sauté for a few minutes, then deglaze with the white wine. Let it evaporate and cover the bones with cold water.

20. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for about 10 hours, skimming the surface occasionally.

21. After the 10 hours, strain the broth in a fine mesh strainer and return to the pan. Simmer slowly, reducing the sauce to the desired consistency.

22. Serve some of each preparation of lamb with a bit of the potato purée and the wild spinach to garnish.

This hearty recipe goes well with Vigna Monticchio and Rubesco wines. Enjoy!

Cook in Norcia during our Food Lover’s Paradise or our Cooking and Walking in Umbria culinary vacations.

By Peg Kern

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