Once again food blogging has introduced me to something new. In this case Algerian Ramadan cuisine, which I had read about on La Petite Panière. Although the Ramadan is already finished for this year, this dish sounded so intriguing that I wanted to try it anyway. Lham (meat) Lahlou (sweet) is lamb stewed in a sweet syrup with fruit and spices. Of course I could not resist to prepare it sous-vide, and it turned out delicious. Merci beaucoup, Linda, for introducing this wonderful this to me!
Since the post by La Petite Panière was the first time I ever heard about this dish, I googled it and compared many recipes (most of them in French). I noticed that the amount of sugar varied between recipes. Since I thought it was exotic to prepare lamb in a sweet syrup as it was, I decided to use a moderate amount of sugar for my first try. I think this has been a wise decision, because the mild sweetness worked very well.
In the traditional preparation, the fresh fruit (apples and pears), if used, are added at the end so they are not cooked to mush. With sous-vide cooking things are a bit different. The lamb should be cooked at 57°C/135°F for 24 hours, but at that temperature the apples and pears won’t get tender. So I cooked them first, at 84°C/183°F, and then added them to the meat to allow the flavors to blend. This worked very well, as the lamb was tender and juicy and the fruit still had a bit of bite.
Finally, a note about orange blossom water. This is available in two kinds. ‘Real’ orange blossom water is water-based and quite thin, you need a lot of it (think 250 ml/1 cup). The other type is orange blossom concentrate, which is alcohol based. Of this you only need a little (think 1 tsp or 1 Tbsp).
400 grams (.9 lb) lamb stewing meat, such as neck or shoulder
100 grams (3.5 oz) dried apricots, soaked in hot water and drained
100 grams (3.5 oz) dried plums, soaked in hot water and drained
50 grams (4 Tbsp) golden raisins, soaked in hot water and drained
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
50 grams (1/4 cup) sugar
1 Tbsp alcohol-based orange blossom water + 4 Tbsp water (or 5 Tbsp water-based orange blossom water)
1 onion, minced
2 Tbsp clarified butter
10 grams (2 Tbsp) slivered almonds, toasted
Vacuum seal the apple and pear with 1 cinnamon stick, 1 star anise, 50 grams (1/4 cup) sugar, and 5 Tbsp orange blossom water (or 1 Tbsp alchohol-based orange blossom water concentrate + 4 Tbsp water). Use a chamber vacuum sealer, or a ziploc bag and the water displacement method. Cook sous-vide for 30 minutes at 84°C/183°F.
- browned lamb
- cooked onions
- cooked apple and pear
- 100 grams (3.5 oz) dried apricots
- 100 grams (3.5 oz) dried plums
- 50 grams (4 Tbsp) golden raisins
Tuna with grilled avocado is a great summer dish. Grilling is a great way to serve an avocado that is not very ripe.