Digna’s Roast Lamb and Potatoes

Cordero estilo san vicente de Digna Prieto

By now you know we just love lamb — cooked any which way. In this fabulous recipe, the lamb is first marinated, then roasted with potatoes. Prepared in an earthenware casserole, a cazuela, the lamb dish was once made in village wood-burning bakery ovens in Galicia Spain on festive occasions. Our cazuela, found at Home Goods for a VERY reasonable price, was ready to take its maiden voyage.

Cazuela is the common name given to a variety of dishes, specially from South America. It receives its name from the cazuela (Spanish for cooking pot, generally sold without lids) in which it is cooked. The ingredients and preparation vary from region to region, but it is usually a mid-thick flavored stock obtained from cooking several kinds of meats and vegetables mixed.

Browning the lamb in batches in the cazuela.
Browning the lamb in batches in the cazuela.

Recipe from “La Cocina de Mama” by Penelope Casas

Ingredients:

  • 14 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 8 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 Tbsp. dry white whine (we used dry sherry)
  • 2 lbs. boneless leg of lamb, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cloves
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lb. baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/8 tsp. crumbled thread saffron
wonderfully aromatic Digna's roasted lamb with potatoes.
Wonderfully aromatic Digna’s roasted lamb with potatoes.

Directions:

  1. In a mortar, mash to a paste one-quarter of the minced garlic cloves with the bay leaves, parsley and a 1/4 tsp. salt.
  2. Stir in 4 Tbsp. of the oil and 2 Tbsp. of the wine.
  3. Transfer to a large bowl, add the meat and stir to coat well. (Or put in a ziploc bag)
  4. Marinate overnight or longer in the refrigerator.
  5. NEXT DAY: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  6. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large shallow casserole, preferably earthenware (like our cazuela.)
  7. Add the meat with marinade and brown over high heat.
  8. Remove casserole from heat and add remaining 2 Tbsp. oil, 4 Tbsp. wine, the broth, rest of garlic, the cloves, and salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Place in oven and roast for 30 minutes, uncovered.
  10. Add the potatoes, sprinkle them with salt and saffron, and continue cooking another 30 minutes more, until potatoes are tender.
Sautéed green beans, cáceres style.
Sautéed green beans, cáceres style.

We served the lamb entree with a green bean dish, also from Penelope Casas book, “Sautéed Green Beans, Cáceres Style.” The veggies gain flavor from the additions of pancetta (or prosciutto as we used), paprika and vinegar.

Penelope Casas' La Cocina de Mamá book open to the roasted lamb recipe.
Penelope Casas’ La Cocina de Mamá book open to the roasted lamb recipe.

A snippet about the author:
Penelope Casas was a Greek-American writer from Queens who was an authority on the foods of Spain, and helped introduce Americans in the 1980s to a continental Spanish cuisine distinctly different from its Mexican and South American counterparts. In interviews, Mrs. Casas said she hoped to clarify the identity of Spanish food for Americans, who generally confused it with Mexican and South American cuisines. “People thought of Spanish cuisine as spicy, full of rice dishes,” her daughter said. “They had no real sense of what Spanish food was. She would talk about tapas bars, and they would think she was saying ‘topless.’ ”

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