Roast lamb and a lo pobre potatoes … You don’t get more Castillian than this! Although you can find cordero asado cooked in a similar way throughout Spain, the best is found around Segovia, Valladolid, and other parts of the Castilla-Leon area, where you still see shepherds wandering through the hills with their flocks. Another reason not to miss this dish in these areas is that it is usually cooked in a wood-fired oven (horno de leña), bringing even more flavour to the dish.
2 Kg (4 pounds) of good organic lamb (we used leg here)
6 to 8 garlic cloves
3 tsp of thyme
6 bay leaves
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
The secret of the success of this recipe is to get very good quality meat, organic if possible, and then cook it very slowly in the oven.
Preheat the oven for 30 minutes at 200ºC/390ºF. When the oven is ready, make three or frour cuts in the meat (look at the picture above) and insert an unpeeled garlic clove and a bay leaf into each of them. Then rub the lamb with the rock salt, thyme and the olive oil before sticking it in the oven. After 5 minutes pour a glass of water over the meat. Keep it at this temperature for 5 more minutes and then turn the oven down to a slower setting, about 160ºC/320ºF. Leave it at this temperature for at least 1h and 30 minutes. After this time check with a fork or a knife that the meat is cooked in the middle – if it still seems a little red, leave it for a while longer.
Note that I’ve used leg this time but it would be fine to use shoulder.
If you are Spain it is fine to buy leg or shoulder of either Lechal or Recental lamb, as explained in the podcast. If you ask the butcher to prepare it for roasting he will make two or three cuts down to the middle of the bone, so the meat cooks better in the middle. Note that if the meat has no cuts, or the piece is heavier, cooking times will be longer.
Patatas a lo Pobre
5 Medium Potatos
2 Green peppers
8 garlic cloves
2 tsp salt
15 tbsp olive oil
1 dessert spoon of vinager
Start by peeling the potatos and the onions, slice them thinly width-wise and place them into a bowl. Roughly chop up the green peppers, carefully removing all the seeds, and place them in the bowl together with the potatoes and the onion. Add the salt slowly while you gently mix the potato and these other ingredients with your hands.
Now select a large, and preferably deep, frying pan. Note that a wok will do the task very well. If you don’t have a large frying pan you might need to cook this dish using two frying pans. Pour all the oil into the frying pan and allow it to get hot. When it starts to smoke add the potatoes, onions, peppers and the bay leaves. During the whole cooking process you need to stir the mixture with a wooden spoon regularly (every minute) so it does not stick to the bottom. Note that some of the potatoes will break into smaller pieces – this really does not matter as this dish is more about taste. Keep cooking at a high setting for about 10 minutes, and then turn the hob to a medium setting and add the garlic, which has been previously peeled and thinly sliced.
After 20 more minutes try one potato to check if it is cooked. If so, turn off the hob and remove the excess oil using a colander. Put the mixture back into the frying pan and add the vinager while stiring the mixture for a few seconds.
Serve this as a side dish for any roast meat
This recipe requires large quantities of oil. If olive oil is difficult or expensive to get in your area you can easyly substitute it for sunflower oil, or any vegetable oil available in your area.
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