Justin Leboe and Blair Clemis


Canada’s 100 Best - - Column -

A LAMB IS ONE YEAR OLD OR LESS. Hogget is up to two—and af­ter that, they’re mut­ton. Ours are on their way. They’re usu­ally one-and-a-half-years old, and about 100 pounds. It’s a great size for cook­ing. They’ve got real flavour, but they’re not too ma­ture. The colour is this in­cred­i­ble deep red, like beef. It’s so ten­der. It’s all be­cause of Ger­rit [Van Hier­den]. He grows his own grasses and grains for them, he has his own wa­ter sup­ply —he is in to­tal con­trol. —B.C. ( Chef de Cui­sine) in a medium-sized saucepan on medium-high. Sear shanks on all sides. Set aside, and drain. Sauté onion, cel­ery, car­rot, tomato and gar­lic un­til veg­eta­bles wilt and be­gin to colour—about 5 min­utes. Add thyme, bay leaf and pep­per­corns, raise heat to medium-high, and deglaze. Once wine has re­duced to syrup, re­turn shanks to pot, add stock to cover, and trans­fer to the oven un­til ten­der—about 4 hours. Set aside to cool for an hour. Re­move shanks, shred meat and dis­card bones. Set meat aside, cov­ered. Re­duce brais­ing liq­uid by half, strain, dis­card solids and re­serve sauce.

Mean­while, pulse toma­toes in a food pro­ces­sor un­til chunky. Com­bine in a saucepan with the glu­cose, vine­gar, mus­tard and cloves, and re­duce over medium heat un­til mix­ture thick­ens to a jam, and set aside. Re­move stalks from chard leaves, and mince. Blanch the leaves, then drain. Sweat the minced stalks in but­ter for 5 min­utes. Add re­served shank meat, enough re­served sauce to coat, and enough tomato jam to bind the mix­ture. Salt to taste, and set aside. Ar­range chard leaves on a work sur­face, place 2 tbsp of lamb mix­ture at cen­tre, and roll into a ball. Set the roulades aside.

Rest hogget (or lamb) on coun­ter­top for 30 min­utes. Heat a heavy-bot­tomed skil­let on high, add oil, and sear hogget un­til bronzed on all sides. Re­duce heat to medium-low, add the but­ter, gar­lic and thyme, and cook the meat gently, bast­ing and turn­ing it, un­til medi­um­rare—about 5 min­utes. Set aside to rest un­der a tent of alu­minum foil.

To fin­ish, steam the roulades un­til heated through—about 3 min­utes. Warm the sauce. Re­heat lamb in pan—1 minute per side. Smear each of 4 warmed plates with gar­lic purée. Slice hogget filet against the grain and dis­trib­ute among the plates, ar­rang­ing slices on the gar­lic. Driz­zle sauce around pe­riph­ery, place roulades on top, scat­ter with tomatillo slices and egg­plant chips.

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