Oh fair Julienne, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.... 'Tis a shame I cannot dine with thee every night. And for that reason, I try to recreate thy lamb carnitas. 'Tis the same? No. But darn close.
I admit, I have a sweet spot for a certain restaurant in town. And I try to pick my restaurants wisely. Do they serve local, organically grown food? Do they prepare the food simply, as to not take away from the already wonderful flavors of the quality ingredients they use? Are their menu items priced fairly, i.e. are you getting what you pay for? And finally, do they serve dishes that I am unable to create at home, either because they are too labor-intensive or too ingenious for me to think of? Tough standards, I know. But I have few food dollars to spend and I want to ensure I am spending them wisely.
And so I digress. When I made lamb shank ragout a few weeks ago, I had a thought. What if? What if I added some spices here, took away some tomatoes there and...? and...? I did. I made it. I made lamb carnitas. Not as good as Justin can make, but close enough to provide that "fix" that I need on more occasions than I can afford. However, I will admit, nothing compares to the real thing.
1.5 cups fresh or 3 cups cooked cannelini beans [or navy beans for GAPSters]
3 leeks, white parts thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, diced
1.5 cups tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 cups red wine [optional - substitute with equal parts stock]
1 cup water or homemade beef stock
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp herbs de provence [savory]
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp butter, ghee or other heat stable fat
In a large, cast iron pot, heat half the fat until melted. Sear lamb shank on all sides. Remove from pot.
Add remaining fat and leeks and saute for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add carrots and saute for another 3-5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup red wine/stock and cook until most of liquid is absorbed.
Add tomatoes, remaining red wine/stock, water or stock, and spices. Put lamb shank back in pot and cover with sauce. Season with sea salt.
Cover and place in oven to bake for 1.5 hours. Add beans and stir to combine. Return to oven and cook for one more hour.
Serve with your favorite side vegetable. I had mine with sauteed broccoli rabe.