Culinary Connections | Montenegro and Wales

Lamb

Brav u Mlijeku

The shimmering meadows of the Montenegrin mountains and the grassy pastures of the Welsh valleys are geographically separate in distance and time yet both are reknown for producing succulent lamb.

Hidden from view for an eon, Montenegro has emerged out of the ashes of the old Yugoslavia with its south slav identity entact and its traditional food now regarded as among the best in Europe.

And if one dish epitomises that cultural and culinary identity it is lamb braised in milk.

1.5 kg lamb shoulder/blade
2 litres milk, full fat
1 kg potato, whole
6 carrots, whole, peeled
2-5 bay/laurel leaves
5-25 peppercorns
25 g parsley
1 tsp salt

The amount of milk needed for the lamb depends on the width of your cooking pot. The meat should be covered. Add the spices, as little or as much as your tastes require, and the carrots.

Slow cook for four to five hours depending on the size of the piece. A one and a half kilo piece needs no less than four hours over a very low heat. It is done when it falls apart.

The potatoes for this dish can be baked or boiled, preferably the latter. Time the cooking to have them ready with the lamb.

Mash the potatoes in a large warmed bowl. Cut up the meat and carrots, add to the potatoes. Mix together with some or all of the cooking milk, including the peppercorns. Discard the bay leaves.

Serve decorated with parsley.

Welsh Lamb

In Wales they do in a slightly different way.

1.5 kg lamb leg, neck or shoulder, chilled
2 garlic cloves, crushed
60 g honey
300 cl dry white wine/cider
30 g rosemary leaves
Salt, pinch
Pepper, pinch

Score the fat deep into the meat.

Mix garlic, honey, rosemary, seasoning and wine or cider in a bowl large enough to hold the lamb. Marinade for an hour.
Preheat oven to 220°C.

Place lamb on a wire rack above a deep tray. Baste with all the marinade. A one and a half kilogram piece needs 40-45 minutes for pink meat, 90 for dark meat. Turn heat down to 200°C after 30 minutes.

Baste several times after 30 minutes. Reduce heat further if the top of the meat is looking burnt.

Cut into pieces or slices and use the cooking juices as a sauce.

Mashed or puréed potatoes with butter and a parsley garnish are a good accompaniment, as are sautéd sliced carrots.


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