I have nothing against the Spanish. How could I hold a grudge against the nation that gave us the joys of bull fighting, Torremolinos holidays and jugs of sangria? No, my gripe is with weasel words and how some use them to fool the unwary.
Let me use the example of smoked salmon. What would you expect if you bought Irish Smoked Salmon? Would you expect smoked Irish salmon? You might not get it. You would have to buy Smoked Irish Salmon and check to be sure it was smoked in Ireland. It is also easy to fall for the Irish chicken trap and numerous others including the old ‘Italian’ Olive Oil ruse. The old saying “Be very careful what you ask for.” applies here. I suppose it would be difficult to honestly label a chicken sandwich if it were to read “Hand made Brazilian Chicken sandwich with seasoning added in Ireland, served on Italian bread made using Russian flour in a Lithuanian bakery and accompanying Dutch green vegetables.” But, I digress. I say all of this to clarify, I am preparing a leg of (I believe) Irish lamb cooked in a Spanish style. So, for simplicity’s sake rather than to mislead, I call it Spanish Leg of Lamb.
- 1 leg of Irish lamb
- 4 genuine uncooked Spanish Chorizo sausages
- 1 teaspoon of sweet Spanish paprika
- 1 teaspoon of hot Spanish paprika
- 1 bottle of good quality Spanish wine
- 1 pint of good chicken stock
- 3 onions
- 3 carrots
- A squeeze of tomato purée
- A shake of dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- A couple of branches of rosemary
- A big handful of thyme
- Salt and pepper
I know the provenance of my Spanish ingredients. A Spanish man sold me the chorizo. A good friend brought the paprika back from Northern Spain. My father in law brought the wine back from Southern Spain. I also think I’m good with the Irishness of the lamb.
First thing to do is to skin and slice the sausages.
Then fry it in the bottom of a casserole dish.
Take out the chorizo slices and gently fry the onions and garlic in the fat.
Next, return the chorizo and add the herbs and spices.
Add about a third of the wine, reserving the balance for the chef and possibly a guest or two.
Add the leg of Irish lamb, pour over the chicken stock then season and put on the lid.
Put it in the oven for two and a half hours at 160ºC. Take it out and remove the leg. At this stage, it has as good as changed nationality.
Turn the oven up to 200ºC and place the leg on a roasting tin. Give it 20 minutes to crisp things up a bit. This is a great opportunity to have a glass of that beautiful Spanish wine.
Take the leg out of the oven. Rest it for ten minutes. This is a good opportunity to enjoy another glass. While you are doing this, separate the gravy (that chorizo fat is probably not too good for you).
Reduce the gravy by half in a saucepan. Carve and serve with some of the chorizo, onions, some sweet potato (cooked separately) and what’s left of that fine Spanish wine.
I started this complaining about dodgy food provenance. Then I went on to transform Irish leg of lamb into Spanish leg of lamb. My description may mislead but, I think you would be happy to have me pull the wool from this particular transnational sheep over your eyes.