Turkish Lamb with Green Garlic (Kodrero con Ajo Fresco)
Source: Joyce Goldstein, Sephardic Flavors
Spring is the season when green garlic appears at the market. These fragrant green shoots with tiny young bulbs, resemble large scallions or baby leeks. Combined with spring green onions they make for a delicate and aromatic stew. If you cannot find green garlic at your market, use peeled cloves from 2 small heads of garlic instead. With the slow cooking, the cloves will become mild and creamy. Serve with rice or roast potatoes. For even cooking and no need to fear scorching the bottom of the pot, I recommend cooking this in the oven, but if oven space is tight, stove top will do. This stew was a great favorite at Passover at my restaurant, Square One and it is usually the centerpiece of my family Seder.
Serves 6 to 8
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 pounds lamb shoulder cut into 1 ½-2 inch pieces
4 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons vinegar
1 cup water or meat broth
2 teaspoons Maras, Aleppo pepper or Turkish sweet pepper flakes or more to taste
½ pound green garlic or 2 heads garlic, peeled, cloves separated
2 pounds green onions, cut in 2 inch lengths, about 6 bunches
Chopped fresh mint, parsley
2 pounds favas, shelled, blanched and peeled, about 2 cups, optional addition
If oven braising, preheat it to 350 degrees F.
Season the meat with salt and pepper. Film a large heavy sauté pan with olive oil over high heat. Brown the meat in batches until browned on all sides.
Transfer the lamb to a heavy stew pot or Dutch oven. Pour off excess fat or oil from the sauté pan and deglaze with a bit of broth. Combine tomato paste with the rest of the broth and water, enough to just barely cover the lamb. Add Maras pepper, a sprinkle of salt and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot Cook slowly over low heat for 50 to 60 minutes. Or place in the oven.
Cut off the root end of the green garlic stalks and slice into two inch lengths, using all of the green. (Or peel the cloves of garlic from 2 small heads.) Trim the roots off the green onions and also cut them into 2 inch lengths. Blanch these in boiling salted water for 2 minutes, then drain well and pat dry.
In batches sauté the green garlic and green onions in a few tablespoons of olive oil over moderate heat for about 5 minutes, just to get a bit of color on them, seasoning them with salt and pepper.
After about 90 minutes, when the lamb is almost cooked, add the garlic and green onions to the pot. Cover and continue to cook until lamb is tender, another 20 or 30 minutes. Add favas if using during the last 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning. You may want a squeeze of lemon juice for brightness. Sprinkle with chopped mint, dill or parsley and serve at once.