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Lamb Breast with Coriander, Cumin, and Lime

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

My buddy George McNeese and I used to be roommates long before we opened Do or Dine. We were generally broke as a joke, preferring to spend our tip money on beer and video games. One day we were feeling fancy, so we went to the store and found these giant slabs of "lamb breast," a huge hunk of tough, fatty meat on a smattering of bones, for the waiter-friendly price of something like $2.00 a pound. We grabbed them up. We had a good idea of the flavors we wanted to use to counterbalance the gaminess of the lamb--coriander and earthy cumin, tangy lime and refreshing cilantro to finish--but because we were just waiters at the time, we had no idea how to cook it. We blasted it with heat and it turned out to be chewy and weird. Then, another day, we tried a low temp, played some Wii Golf, drank some beers, and forgot about the time. Six hours later the place was dripping with aromas, and the recipe below was born.

NotesTip: If you have the grill already going for other items, feel free to fnish the lamb on the grill instead of in the hot oven--the hot grill grates will add some nice scorch.

Makes6 servings

Preparation Time10 min

Preparation Time - Text10 minutes

Cooking Time6 min

Cooking Time - Text370

Cooking Methodroasting

CostModerate

Total Timehalf-day

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe Coursehot appetizer, main course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Equipmentblender, mortar and pestle, spice grinder

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturemeaty, savory

Ingredients

  • Blender, spice grinder, or mortar and pestle
  • 2 sheet pans (one with rack)
  • 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
  • 1?4 cup whole cumin seeds
  • 1?4 cup whole black peppercorns
  • 1?4 cup kosher salt
  • One 5-pound lamb breast (if your butcher doesn't carry it, ask! It's a great cheap cut, and you can start the trend!)
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • Chopped fresh culantro or cilantro

Instructions

  1. Make the lamb:

  2. Preheat the oven to 250°F.

  3. Combine the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and peppercorns in a blender, spice grinder, or mortar and pestle and grind into medium-fine powder. Stir in the salt until incorporated.

  4. Rub the entire lamb breast with the spice mix. If there is any left over after you've coated every crevice, save it for next time or try adding it to popcorn. Put the lamb, fat side up, on a sheet pan fitted with a rack and roast until the bones slide out easily and the meat is super tender, about 6 hours. Remove the lamb from the oven and remove and discard the rib bones while the meat is warm. Let rest for at least 15 minutes.

  5. HOLD IT? The lamb will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

  6. Increase the oven temperature to 450°F.

  7. Portion cooled lamb into rectangular pieces. The thickness may vary, but that's okay. Place the lamb pieces in a single layer on a sheet pan and roast until browned and crisp, about 10 minutes.

  8. PLATE IT! I like to serve these guys in a big pile for people to grab. Garnish with the lime wedges and the culantro or cilantro.

  9. BREAK IT: If you can't find lamb breast, use this same rub and technique on lamb shanks, though they won't be as rich or fatty.

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