A Seasonal Recipe from our Norcia, Umbria Cooking Vacation
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, 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.
According 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
- 1 whole lamb (about 6.7 kg)
- 500 grams of potatoes
- 200 gr Black Truffle of Norcia melanosporum Vittadinis
- 100 gr of lard d'Arnaud
- 400 gr wild baby spinach leaves
- 6-7 fresh sage leaves
- 200 gr butter
- 5 l of olive oil
- 150 gr of pork omentum
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. Fry the cubes in hot oil before serving.
For the roast lamb "porchetta"
1. Spread the lamb bacon on a cutting board, add salt and pepper and a thin layer of grated black truffle of Norcia.
2. Arrange the lamb loin on top of the slices of bacon and roll to form a traditional "porchetta" shape (a cylinder).
3. Tie with kitchen twine to fix the shape.
4.Bake at 200°C (400°F) for 15 minutes.
For the lamb chops
1. Clean the bones of the ribs by removing the residue of skin and cartilage, and tie the meat of the ribs.
2. Season with salt and brown in a pan with extra virgin olive oil and a sprig of rosemary.
3. Finish cooking in the oven at 200°C for 2 minutes.
For the liver
1.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 lamb bacon, and then cook using the sous vide technique for 2 hours at 65°C (about 150°F).
2. Cut each piece in two and brown before serving.
For the mashed potatoes
1. Peel, wash, and chop the potatoes more or less equally. Cook in boiling salted water until well cooked.
2. Drain and with the help of a whisk beat together with the 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
1. Use all the remaining bones of the lamb, plus:
2 yellow onions
2 stalks of celery
1 clove of garlic
1 bouquet garni (rosemary, sage, bay, thyme)
50g tomato paste
5g black pepper
300g of white wine
2. Wash and coarsely chop the vegetables and brown them in a large pot.
3. Meanwhile, break the bones of lamb and roast them in the oven at 200°C for about 20 minutes, add them to the vegetables along with the bouquet garni, pepper, and the garlic clove.
4. Sauté for a few minutes, then deglaze with the white wine. Let it evaporate and cover the bones with cold water.
5. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for about 10 hours, skimming the surface occasionally.
6. 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.
This hearty recipe goes well with Vigna Monticchio and Rubesco wines. Enjoy!
By Liz Hall