There’s something undeniably wonderful about having a fragrant, slow-simmered ragù on the stovetop for an entire Sunday. The richness permeates the air and gives the entire day a slow and luxurious feel. Languorous weekends have been in short supply for us lately, so smelling this ragù all day almost felt decadent.
Lamb is a favorite in this apartment, doubly so for stews and slow sauces. The heartiness of lamb shoulder and neck (the cuts we used here) is just unsurpassable. To keep the richness and fattiness of the lamb from being overwhelming, we use red wine and red wine vinegar to give the dish a little bracing edge, which is tempered by the sweetness of tomato paste. The trio of carrots, onion, and celery give it a classic feel, while the garlic and bay leaves keep it from being a staid dish even if it doesn’t have any unusual ingredients.
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One of the best things about roasting a leg of lamb is the leftovers. Thanksgiving has a reputation for being the holiday for leftovers, but that’s just based on volume. Based on quality, it’s pretty hard to compete with a post-Easter lamb sandwich. For an especially incredible lamb sandwich, we made this mint yogurt sauce, and we recommend you do the same.
Yogurt and lamb are both staples of Mediterranean cooking and besides going together well geographically, they also complement each other’s flavors well. Lamb is a pretty rich meat, which is offset nicely by the coolness of the yogurt and mint. Ours also had pickled red onions, which I highly recommend if you have them (and really, they’re easy to make). Overall, the entire dish brings the freshness of spring, which it a pretty big accomplishment for a sandwich.
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