Meat is damned confusing.
You can put up charts of an animal’s anatomy till…er…the cows come home and a butcher can explain to me what a sirloin cut is versus chuck roast or rump butt or filet and I’ll stand there and nod like a tourist getting directions from a guy speaking his native language, then smile and walk off. As clueless as when I walked in.
It’s not their fault–for instance, this evening’s meal which I’m discussing was lamb entrecôte. Entrecôte? That’s French. Its different in English or other languages, and its different depending on which animal. Entrecôte is a section of meat from above the shoulders on a cow–on a sheep, its a part of the leg. Need I go on about confusion, then?
It’s said that the road to mastery always leads you through points of great uncertainty and confusion before the final ah ha moment brings you to clarity and understanding. For what its worth, I’m still at the confusion stage, and I’ve been there for months now. I don’t regret the situation, it’s all kinda funny to me, and ironic in the sense that one forgets that we are talking about what were once living animals, but I’m slowly getting it–which meats work with which cooking methods, etc.
So…to get back to weird reality, I bought got a piece of lamb cut from the leg; apparently a stretch of muscle that is fairly tender and less fatty than other pieces. These segments cry out for roasting slowly, rather than quickly. Even though this piece was cooked in a castiron grill pan, the entire process took about 20 to 23 minutes. Why? It was only about a pound of meat, not very big though about 2.5″ thick.
I started by seasoning with salt and pepper, and applying a rub of garlic, sage, marjoram, rosemary,and thyme along with a bit of olive oil.
While this sat for about thirty minutes, I prepared the tomatoes, red bell, and shallot for their 45 minutes of roasting. For good measure, I placed some quartered potatoes on the sheet as well.
Halfway during the vegetable roasting, I started to heat up the grill skillet and put the lamb chunk in to begin the sear.
Some twenty minutes later after a flip or two, the meat began to look nice, but that damned interior…was it cooked through properly to the medium rare I sought? I put in my instant read thermometer and saw that it was at only 120F, and it needed to get to at least 135F to be perfect. I gave it a few more minutes, slicing into the monster to check its doneness. Ahh. Bleeding pink. That was good…I think.
I put it on a cutting board to rest for several minutes…
Then I sliced it into medallions. Look at the juicy center! The exterior of the meat was slightly more cooked but still eminently passable. God, it worked!
And it tasted marvelous; tender interior, seared, nearly charred skin. As this was about one pound of lamb flesh, it claimed it was enough for two people, but for wife and I, it was great for additional leftovers, as well. Probably on an arugula salad with honey Dijon dressing.
Oh, and here is a shot of the plating, using these plates my wife avidly loves (no, they’re not a hit with me and just–were I to ever be embarrassed–embarrassing). Each section of the plate indicates how much protein, carb, and greens you should have. See how we did here.
The roasted tomatoes weren’t such a much for me, and the potatoes were unseasoned…though given the flavor of the meat, having more flavor to compete wasn’t necessary. A decent meal. Very happy.