The ingredient for the third challenge of the BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival Recipe Contest was lamb shoulder from Border Springs Farm. The big question was what to make? One of the staples at home growing up was ropa vieja. Ropa vieja is shredded beef (typically flank or skirt steak) in a tomato sauce. My grandmother makes it with just a pinch of saffron for color and flavor. Lamb shoulder shreds beautifully so it was a natural replacement for the flank steak.
There are several components, but you can make all of them in advance. Save the broth left over from cooking the lamb, and use it to make lamb curry or risotto. You will have some shredded lamb left over to make other dishes.
It’s fun to make little sandwiches with the arepas. With a small paring knife, cut the arepas in half, place a large spoonful of sofrito, then some shredded lamb, and drizzle with the herb oil.
For the lamb
• 1 lamb shoulder, about 5.5 pounds
• 1 small onion, quartered
• 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
• 1 sprig fresh oregano
• 1 sprig fresh rosemary
• 4 cups low sodium vegetable stock
• 1 teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
1. Place all the ingredients for the lamb in a large Dutch oven, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 3.5 to 4 hours, or until lamb is tender. Remove from the pot and let cool until it is cool enough to handle. Shred the meat and remove any bones and any pieces of fat. Place in a container, and set aside.
For the sofrito
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 large red onion, sliced
• 2 bell peppers, sliced
• 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• 2 cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
• Big pinch saffron threads
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• Salt and pepper to taste
1. Place olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Then add the onions, peppers, and garlic and cook until the onions start to soften. Add in the fire roasted tomatoes, saffron, sugar and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes over low heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
For the herb oil
• 3 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
• 3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
• 3 tablespoons oregano, finely chopped
• 6 tablespoons olive oil
• finely grated zest and juice from half a lemon
• Salt and pepper to taste
1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
(makes 16 mini arepas)
2 cups white corn masarepa
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups warm water
1 cup warm milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
Cooking spray, for spraying arepas (you could also brush them with a bit of canola oil)
1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.
2. Mix masarepa, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Mix the warm milk, water, and melted butter and pour over the masarepa mixture. Mix well with a fork. Let rest for 5 minutes. Mix in the crumbled cheese. Knead the mixture in the bowl for 5 minutes.
3. Pre-heat a non-stick skillet (or a well seasoned cast iron griddle), on medium heat.
4. Form arepas in the desired size with wet hands. I used ¼ cup of mixture per arepa. Mixture should not be too wet. If the mixture cracks when you are trying to form the arepas, the mixture is too dry and needs a bit more water. Make one arepa at a time, with wet hands, forming it with the palm of your hands. Spray the side that you will put down on the skillet with cooking spray.
5. Cook on the skillet for about 5 minutes on the first side. You want the arepa to develop a crust on this side before you turn it, so just put it down and don’t touch it for a few minutes. Spray the other side with cooking spray before flipping over. Cook them until both sides have light golden brown marks. If you see the skillet starting to smoke, the heat is too high, turn it down and make sure you don’t burn the arepas. Remember that they will brown more in the oven.
6. Transfer the arepas to the prepared cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. They will puff up a bit in the middle and will turn golden brown.
7. If not serving right away, let them cool and then store them in a zip top bag and refrigerate.
Vote for your favorite recipe here. You must first like the Charleston Wine + Food Festival Page and then click on the Lambs and Clams Contest Image. Facebook users can only vote once. Voting tab should be live on 12-12-12 at noon EST.
Check out the recipes from the other contestants:
Lynda, Taste Food Blog
Peter, A Cook Blog
Olga, Mango Tomato
David, Eat Drink RI
Heather, Farmgirl Gourmet
Vivek, Vivek’s Epicurean Adventures