Ash coated lamb – Inspired by Ekstedt’s book “Food from the fire” + review
A couple of weeks ago I received the book “Food from the fire” by Niklas Ekstedt from a friend of mine. Among the many stunning recipes in the book was the recipe for “Ash coated lamb”. The recipe is a good example on why you should buy this book if you’re a fan of the nordic kitchen, BBQ and/or cast iron. Simply because it’s a truly inspiring and creative cookbook.
Disclosure: "This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you buy one of the products through the mentioned links, I'll get a small commision to keep this blog running. All opionions shared are my own."
Who is Niklas Ekstedt?
Niklas Ekstedt is a swedish chef trained by the top chefs of the world. He did his internships at El bulli and The fat duck and became a TV personality afterwards. The choice for these internships came out of some separation process where he turned his back to the nordic kitchen and got into the modern molecular kitchen. As many of us when growing older we realise the benefits of the things we had rejected in the past to form our own personality. That’s exactly what makes me a fan.
The book breathes competence in both ways. Both Heston Blumenthal (The fat duck) and Ferran Adria (El Bulli) are known for their thorough research on what molecular and scientific experience can lead to a better dining experience. Combine their passion for the scientific approach of food development with the simple and pure nordic kitchen Ekstedt teached from his ancestors and you’ll get the personal identity Ekstedt shows in his recipes. Think of: coal roasted apple cake with ahorn syrup, hot smoked bacon with caramelized onions and miso, or juniper smoked salmon with homemade sour cream. All these wonderful recipes are brought in a good and clean looking book (buy here) with stunning nordic style foodporn.
“Food from the Fire”
So what’s so special about it? If you ask me three key ingredients stand out: “pure food”, “wood smoke” and “cast iron”. I agree most of them are cooking instruments, yet they have a decisive influence on the end result. The combination of these three elements brings honest food bursting from flavors reached with simple techniques. There’s no complexity in this food and the use of spices is very natural. Actually this book made me finally realize why I was overwhelmed by the taste of ingredients in this “Grilled Butternut Lasagna” (Recipe) I made earlier. Even a shalot seared in cast iron pan or skillet upon a wood fire turns out to be a culinary addition to a meal. The sides were superb eventhough they were only spiced with salt. So if I could give you one advice besides buying this book it would be: “buy yourself some good cast iron cookware“. I know I will expand my cooking set soon.
Ash coated lamb
Besides the three earlier named key ingredients that return in every meal there’s always a fourth player in the game that brings the extra touch to make a good meal even more interesting. For example the usage of citrus salt, fresh herbs, or even the ashes used in this recipe. I guess not everyone is as open for experiments as I am so I think I need to explain why the hell ashes can do any good to a meal. After all don’t we all hate it when a good piece of meat slips into the coals? Well from now on I won’t panic anymore if that happens.
Unlike the original recipe I used a thick lamb rib instead of lamb filet. I slowly cooked the lamb to an internal temperature of 54°C (130°F) on indirect fire. Afterwards I rolled it in the embers which leads to a slighly ashy crust. Besides the meat choice I only made a slight change to the herbs I used in the recipe. I added some pepper, rosemary and a touch of paprika powder to the recipe. It was the first recipe I made from the book and was a bit hesitant on the limited usage of spices. Now I realise it might not be needed at all. Moreover I realise I mistrusted the essence of the pure ingredients. Luckily I had been really easy on the spices. Not that they were bad (on the contrary) but for this ash coated lamb recipe I think you need to use the traditional recipe.
Conclusion: is there anything bad to say about this book? Not at all… It’s a great source of inspiration bringing something different than the regular American inspired BBQ books that dominate the scene. The ash coated lamb was stunning and the sides were simple yet outstanding! If you have a book you think is inspiring I would be happy to read about it in my brand new facebook group: “BBQ Bastard’s beer, booze and BBQ friends”. So come join us and share your knowledge on these or other interesting subjects! By the way did I mention before I won’t be mad if you share some recipes with your friends to support this blog?
This recipe has been made on my two Kamado BBQ's. It takes some cooking space to prepare the complete meal on a BBQ or a good planning. Considering not many people own several grills I'll bring this recipe step by step starting with the vegetables. You can rewarm the vegetables while the meat is resting. If you own several BBQ's you can make the whole recipe at once.
Tools you might need:
BBQ or woodfired oven. I use this one
Cast Iron plate or skillet. Find some here.
Good quality charcoal
- 1 thick lamb rib
- 3 twigs of fresh thyme
- 3 twigs of fresh rosemary (not in the traditional recipe)
- 3 tbsp of paprika powder (not in the traditional recipe)
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (not in the traditional recipe)
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme (not in the traditional recipe)
- 1 tbsp freshly ground pepper (not in the traditional recipe)
- salt at taste
- 150 gr dried cranberry's
- 6 peeled shalots
- 1 butternut pumpkin (diced)
- 350 gr brussels sprouts
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 450 gr small potatoes
- Vegetable oil
- Salt at taste
- Fresh rosemary (not in the traditional recipe)
- Fresh lemon oregano (not in the traditional recipe)
- 4 Apples
- 4 Tbsp sugar (or at taste)
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 Cinnamon stick
Start by rubbing the thinly chopped fresh spices and herbs on the meat. Put aside for two hours.
Start a hot fire for direct cooking above middle hot fire (about 200°C/400°F)
Once the fire is hot put a cast iron plate on top of it. Let the plate heat up for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile peel the shalots and divide them in two parts, Clean the brussels sprouts and cut a cross in the bottom, cut the butternut in dices and add the cranberries in some water.
Baste the cast iron plate with vegetable oil and put the vegetables on top of it until they're slightly charred. Sprinkle them with salt at taste.
Peal the potatoes and sprinkle them with salt and olive oile. Make sure all potatoes are covered,
Add the potatoes to a cast iron pan and put some twigs between the potatoes, Roast them directly above the hot fire for about 30 -45 min. Stir them every 15 minutes. They're done when they have a golden crust and are soft on the inside.
Peal the apples and remove the core. Cut them in 8 slices and roast them above the middle hot fire. You can do this directly above the fire or in another cast iron pan/tray.
Put a cast iron pan on the fire and melt the sugar until it's getting brown, Don't stir before it's getting brown.
Once the apples are slightly charred you add them to the caramelized sugar together with the butter and cinamon stick.
Cover the pan with a lid and let the apples cook.
Remove the lid from the pan and let simmer for 5-8 minutes. They're at their best when the core is still slightly crispy inside.
Put some fresh herb twigs on top and in between the meat.
Roast the lamb on a low heat indirect fire (110°C/230°F) until you reach an internal temperature of 54°C/130°F.
Remove the platesetter and grid and place the meat directly in between the coals for a half minute on each side. This way the meat gets a slightly ashy crust.
Remove large pieces of ash and let the meat rest under a silver foil for 15 minutes.
While the meat is resting remove the cranberries from the water. Pat them dry and add them to the roasted butternut and brussels sprouts.
Reheat the apple sauce if you've put it aside, the vegetables, potatoes and or the shalots. I liked the shalots even better when cold.
Put all parts together and serve yourself and your compagnons a table filled with goods.
My intent with this blog is sharing some recipes as a source of inspiration for you for free. To Bring this content some costs need to be made. To cope with the costs I use of affiliate links. These links bring me a small referral commision when you buy a product through this link. This support helps me running this blog. I guarantee no false statements will be made on this blog and only products I believe in will be linked. I hope you understand this decision. Thank you! :). In this post: - There's an affiliate link on the "Kamado" "Platesetter", "Food from the Fire" and "cast iron". All opinions shared are my own.