Monday, April 13, 2009

AmiExpat's Harzer Lamm (Harzer Lamb) Challenge!

AmiExpat has been challenging other bloggers to a weekly session of German cooking from recipes she has translated herself out of an old cookbook. For Easter, she chose a lamb recipe, Harzer Lamm in Buttermilch. The side was to be a variety of potato dumplings called Thueringer Kloesse, but they looked really complicated and we were having guests at this meal, so we wanted to stick with something we felt a little more confident about. So, we decided to make the Schneebaellchen again.

We didn't have to order the leg of lamb ahead of time, we just found it on the shelf at the grocery store. Whew! We probably couldn't have gotten it in time if we ordered it, because we decided kind of late to go ahead with this project. On Friday, we started marinating it in the buttermilk. Somehow, it's a total gross-out to do this. Looking at it we also realized this may be the least kosher recipe in the history of mankind. (But, frankly, because I have never had to follow these rules, I don't know very much about how the not "seething a kid in its mother's milk" rule is interpreted.)

On Sunday afternoon, we took the lamb out of the marinade, dried it with paper towels, and browned it in butter and oil. This recipe is fairly simple compared to earlier ones we've done: there were no root vegetables to chop up or anything. The lamb is put in the oven with only the drippings from browning it, some diluted wine, and a layer of bacon on the top. Twice during the cooking we basted it with the wine.

In the meanwhile, we did the potato dumplings, which turned out differently this time than last time. It was harder to get them to the right consistency. This could be due to some difference in the potatoes, or the fact that we made the dough ahead of time and kept it in the fridge for a little while instead of making the dumplings immediately. A lot more flour was needed this time and they tasted very different from the first time too: still great though!

When the lamb was done we threw together the drippings with lemon zest, parsley, garlic, and creme fraiche mixed with flour. We actually used Mondamin, a sauce thickening flour, instead of regular flour. The sauce never really thickened though. We weren't sure how thick it's actually supposed to be so we didn't make any changes. Maybe we should have used regular flour or added more. Or maybe it is supposed to be a very thin sauce.

As a vegetable I made the same carrots my mom always made when I was growing up, with butter and brown sugar. Not the recommended side for this dish, I guess, but it looked very pretty on the plates.

One of our guests arrived early and we got really busy, so I forgot to get a photo of the lamb when it came out of the oven. I only got one after Damon had carved it up. Then we forgot to get a photo of a plate of the food until after we already started eating, so what you see here is my plate after I've already tucked into it!

Everything turned out great! I haven't really eaten lamb that often so I'm not sure how it compares to a typical lamb recipe, but the texture was great and the sauce went especially well with it - it tasted really fresh! Everyone seemed to like it - they ate everything and one went back for more dumplings. Yay! The recipe was just the right size for six people as it says. All of the lamb was finished. We also went through about four and a half bottles of wine and talked about countries and attitudes all night with three people from the American continent and three from the Asian continent who all live in Europe. If you are ever in search of perspective, try this.

Spring watch! Only a few brown patches left!:


  1. Well, I suppose it is more kosher than it would be if it were pork you were marinating in buttermilk...but even as it is, no, I wouldn't be eating it!

  2. Dru: With the bacon on top, the recipe did manage to get some pork involved later!!


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