Monday, October 27, 2014

Grab your cazuela!

Culinary Journey through La Rioja and Basque Country, Spain

Every year, I pack a giant suitcase full of cooking gadgets, hop on a plane and head to Europe, where small groups join me for a Culinary Journey.  We cook, explore, and taste our way through Italy, France, Spain, or Morocco!   

Oh, I wish you were here!!  We're about to finish up a week in La Rioja, Spain and just had the most succulent meal:  Cazuela-roasted Baby Lamb.  
Cazuelas ("cooking pots" in Spanish) are clay dishes that have been used for centuries to cook food.  They really hold the heat!   One bite of this dish and I couldn't get over how a few simple ingredients could taste so incredible.   And of course the vast selection of Spanish wines in this region took this over the top.

Grab your cazuela and a bottle of and try it for yourself!

Cazuela-Roasted Rioja Baby Lamb 

1 baby lamb quarter*, about 4 pounds
2 cloves crushed garlic
Kosher salt

Place a small rack in an earthenware cazuela with 1/2 cup water, 1 teaspoon salt and the garlic in the bottom of the casuala. Place the lamb, skin side down, on the rack.  Roast at 390F for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 300F for 1 1/2 hours, basting with the salt water from time to time.  Make sure there is always water in the bottom of the casuela.  Increase heat to 390F and turn lamb over. Cook an additional 30 minutes. 

Let rest loosely with foil for 10 minutes. Slice and serve.

Serves 4 to 6

* If you can't find this cut, try it with leg of lamb.