The Ribera del Duero It is wine, especially it is wine, which we already taste before uncorking it. But the Ribera del Duero is much more, it is also all that completes the wine, gives it meaning and history, and extols its flavor with dishes of the earth. And it is one of those dishes that we are going to talk about, beginning, with a sumptuous delight: the lamb.
The authentic suckling lamb, is the star dish of the Ribera del Duero, is made with churra sheep, fed exclusively with milk, and slaughtered at 35 days. The meat is pink, tender and very soft. It is roasted in quarters, in a clay pot and in a wood oven. And its taste is second to none.
The churra sheep is a breed native to Castilla-León, it comes from the oldest breeds of sheep in the peninsula. It feeds outdoors, with grass from the Castilian meadows, which makes its meat aromatic and tasty. Although it is primarily intended for dairy production, it also plays an important role in the cuisine of the area.
He roast lamb It is clearly the most typical and characteristic dish of the Ribera del Duero. Its secret, more than the complicated preparation, is the perfection of the ingredients and the right dressing point, little and respectful with the meat.
Lamb in quarters. Iberian lard (50 grams). A small glass of water. Half a glass of white wine or lemon vinegar. Coarse salt. Two bay leaves crushed by hand (optional). Two cloves of garlic (mashed).
Recipe: how to make the lamb in authentic Ribera del Duero style
The preparation is simple, but delicate, because we must be right to respect the flavors and the smooth texture of the lamb meat. We will put, to begin with, the pieces, in a clay fountain that can be put in the oven.
We will heat the oven to about 170 degrees. Meanwhile, we will spread the meat with the butter and a little salt sprinkled, covering the bottom with the water and the vinegar and a couple of broken bay leaves by hand. We will put it in the oven a quarter of an hour and then we will turn the pieces.
When both sides have spent about 15 minutes in the fire we will soak them with their own broth, to which we will have added a mash of garlic and a little more coarse salt, dissolved with a teaspoon of broth.
Finished Baking of the suckling lamb or lamb roasted until tender on the inside and browned on the outside, the usual time being, if the pieces are small as in this case, at least an hour and a half. We can go wetting it with the caldito that stays in the source, so that it does not dry out.
The skin should be crispy and the meat that separates from the bone alone, very soft, that melts in the mouth and maintains its delicate flavor even if it incorporates the aromas.
He traditional accompaniment It's very simple: the typical salad of lettuce, tomato and onion, fresh and simple. It works perfect with meat.
Our proposal, if you want, is to vary with a salad with a contrast of acid and sweet flavors that enriches and softens the meat. We will include in the salad figs and blueberries, as a proposal to give the sweet and sour counterpoint to the delicious meat of the suckling lamb
Chopped lettuce and fig salad with fried almonds, dried cranberry vinaigrette. The secret is not to abuse the vinaigrette and choose figs in seasoning, sweet, but that have a hard texture.
Salad Ingredients: lettuce, fresh figs (two per diner, peeled and sliced), dried cranberries (about 10 per person), extra virgin olive oil (two tablespoons), scallions (one tablespoon), apple cider vinegar (two tablespoons per person ) and raw peeled almonds (ten per diner).
We will start by sautéing the almonds in a pan with a drop of oil. Meanwhile, we will hydrate the blueberries in the apple cider vinegar and mix them with some chopped scallions and the oil, emulsifying the mixture. The chopped lettuce will cover the bottom of the plate and we will decorate it with the figs, peeled and cut in half. Before serving we will add the almonds and dress with the vinaigrette.
Presentation and tasting
A dish as perfect as this roast suckling lamb in its simplicity it deserves a presentation according to its nature. In my opinion, clay dishes or a rustic tableware is ideal, and always, preferably, at lunchtime and, of course, accompanied by a full-bodied, red, aging and evocative wine Ribera del Duero.