AFTER WE BUTCHER half of a twenty-pound lamb, every piece finds its place with this classic spring combination of peas, lettuce, carrot, and oregano. The glazed confit shoulder supports a perfect disc made with the saddle wrapped around oregano and slices of lamb kidney. On either side, a lamb chop bookends a perfect gigot. The front of the plate holds a barbajuan, a sort of crispy dumpling, filled with braised lamb to add richness and crunch to this tender spring specialty, delivered to us from Lydia Ratcliff, a member of the Fancy Meats from Vermont co-op.
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For the Sous-Vide Braised Shoulder
Lay the shoulder on a cutting board. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on top of the shoulder and use a flat meat mallet to pound it to a ½-inch thickness. Cut the shoulder into a 7 × 7-inch square; weigh and reserve 12 ounces of the trim for the stuffing, chilled. Sprinkle the pounded shoulder on both sides with salt, pepper, and piment d’Espelette; reserve, chilled.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over high heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 3 minutes, or until browned. Transfer the mushrooms to a paper towel–lined plate and chill. Return the pan to medium-low heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but not colored, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl with the mushrooms, the 12 ounces reserved shoulder trim, the lamb heart and liver, the tomato confit, and the white wine. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt, 1 pinch of pepper, and 1 pinch of piment d’Espelette. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate until well chilled.
Using an immersion circulator, preheat a water bath to 144°F. Pass the meat mixture through a chilled meat grinder fit with the coarse plate. Spread the ground meat in an even layer onto the shoulder and roll into a log. Line a flat surface with a 1-foot double layer of plastic wrap and set the rolled shoulder in the center. Tightly wrap the shoulder in the plastic and tie off the ends to secure. Place in a sous-vide bag and vacuum-seal. Submerge the bag in the prepared water bath and cook for 3 hours. Remove from the water, chill in a bowl of ice water, and reserve, chilled.
For the Lamb Jus and Braised Shank
In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the bones and shanks in a single layer (you may need to do this in batches) and sear on all sides until well browned, about 15 minutes total. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, shallots, carrot, and garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring, for 6 minutes. Add the tomatoes and white wine and simmer until almost dry. Add the bay leaf, thyme, sachet, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and skim any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 3 hours, skimming as necessary. Strain the liquid through a colander set over a bowl, reserve the shanks, and discard the bones and vegetables. Pass the liquid through a fine-meshed sieve into a medium saucepan and reduce for 45 minutes, or until it coats the back of a spoon.
Meanwhile, pick and shred the meat from the shanks into a medium bowl and mix in a few spoonfuls of the cooking liquid to moisten. Season with salt, pepper, and piment d’Espelette. While still warm, pack the mixture into an 8½ × 4½-inch loaf pan. Press the surface into an even layer, cover, and reserve, chilled. Once reduced, chill and reserve the sauce.
For the Stuffed Lamb Loin
Weigh the loin, tenderloin, and kidney and scale the needed amount of seasoning according to the ratio listed in the ingredients. Lay the loin on a cutting board so that the belly flap is spread out, facing inside up. Lightly pound the flap with a flat meat tenderizer and, with a paring knife, score it with a crosshatch pattern. Slice the kidney lengthwise into 3 pieces. Sprinkle the seasoning evenly over the loins, flaps, and kidney. Line the tenderloin and kidney against the loin on top of the belly flap and top with a line of oregano leaves. Tightly roll the flap up and around the meats to form a log. Tie the log at 1-inch intervals with butcher’s twine. Reserve, chilled.
For the Lamb Shank Barbajuan
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, olive oil, and salt with 5 tablespoons water and mix on low speed until a dough comes together. Increase the speed to medium and knead for 5 minutes. Remove the dough, divide it in half, cover, and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Cut the reserved braised shank mixture into ½-inch cubes.
Pass one-half of the dough through a pasta machine, gradually reducing the thickness until it is inch thick and approximately 16 inches long and 7½ inches wide. Repeat with the second half of the dough. Sprinkle the counter with flour, lay 1 sheet of dough horizontally on top, and line the cubes of braised lamb onto the dough, leaving 1 inch of space between them. Lightly brush in between the cubes with water and set the second sheet of dough on top; press lightly to seal. Cut between the mounds to separate them. Use a small offset spatula or the back of a paring knife to press the dough flat around each mound of filling to make tight, square pockets. Cut the edges of the dough around the filling to ⅛-inch borders. Store, frozen.
For the Artichoke Barigoule
In a large bowl, combine the lemon juice and 1 gallon of ice water. To clean each artichoke, trim the end of the stem and ½ inch from the tip. Peel away the rough outer leaves, leaving the pale yellow tender leaves intact. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin from the stem and any tough leaf remnants from the base. Submerge the artichokes in the lemon water immediately after cleaning.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, and add the onion, carrot, and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the white wine and simmer for 1 minute. Strain 8 of the artichokes, reserving 3 for artichoke chips, and add to the pan along with the chicken stock, parsley, bay leaf, thyme, and salt. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the artichokes are tender. Cool at room temperature, halve the artichokes, and store submerged in the cooking liquid, chilled.
For the Ragout of Peas and Romaine Lettuce
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and set a bowl of ice water on the side.
Boil the peas for about 20 seconds, until tender, and chill in the ice water. Peel the skins from 3 cups of the peas and set aside. Pour the cream into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Transfer to a blender with the remaining peas and puree until smooth; pass through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl set over ice. Stir until chilled.
When ready to serve, heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat and add the onions. Cook, stirring, until soft but not colored, about 2 minutes. Add the reserved peeled peas and romaine lettuce and stir until heated through. Stir in half of the pea puree and the oregano; season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
For the Roasted Lamb Leg
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Rest the leg at room temperature for 15 minutes, then season on all sides with salt, pepper, and piment d’Espelette. In a large roasting pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the lamb and sear on all sides until golden brown. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic, thyme, rosemary, oregano, and butter. Continue to cook, basting with the butter and turning occasionally, for 5 minutes. Transfer to the oven and continue to roast, basting every 10 minutes for 1 hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 122°F. Cover with aluminum foil and rest in a warm place for 20 minutes. Keep the oven on for finishing.
For the Cippolini Onions and Baby Carrots
In a small sauté pan, combine the onions, carrots, chicken stock, and olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook at just below a simmer for 45 minutes, or until tender. Strain, then cut a ⅛-inch cap from the tops of the onions. Scoop a small cavity from the middle of the onions and fill with reserved pea puree, return to the pan with the carrots; cover and keep warm.
Fill one-third of a medium saucepan with canola oil and preheat to 350°F. Rest the stuffed lamb loins and racks at room temperature for 10 minutes.
Slice the shoulder roulade into 8 pieces, place in a shallow dish, top with the reserved sauce, and cover. Transfer to the oven to heat through, about 20 minutes.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season the reserved stuffed loin and the rack with salt and pepper and sear on all sides, about 6 minutes total. Reduce the heat to medium and add the thyme, oregano, rosemary, garlic, and butter. Continue cooking, basting with the butter, for 2 minutes. Transfer to the oven and roast for about 10 minutes, flipping and basting every 2 minutes, until the internal temperatures of the loin and rack reach 116°F.
Cover the rack and loin and rest in a warm place for at least 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, strain the artichoke barigoule and pat dry. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and sear the artichokes cut side down until browned. Flip and continue cooking until heated through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Deep-fry the barbajuans until golden brown, transfer to a paper towel–lined plate, and sprinkle with salt. Slice the leg into bite-size portions and slice the rack and stuffed loin into 8 portions each.
For each serving, place a large spoonful of pea and romaine lettuce ragout on one side of a warm dinner plate. Arrange 1 slice each of rack, loin, shoulder, and leg on top of the ragout. Arrange 2 halved carrots and an artichoke half around the meat. Set 1 barbajuan, 1 pea puree–stuffed onion, and a piece of artichoke barigoule in a line on the other side of the plate. Place an artichoke chip on the artichoke, a few yellow and green pea shoots on the lamb, and some shaved carrot on the onion. Spoon sauce from the pan with the shoulder onto the plate.
“In this spring lamb tasting, a variety of preparations, textures, and flavors come forth.”