Braided bread with lamb filling May 12, 2010Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Bread, Lamb.
“…where is some meat?”
“Oh”. Perrit sounded chilly. “Maybe I’ve got you lined up wrong. You want a slice of the meat racket?”
“No. I want slices of beef and pork. I want some meat to eat. Lamb. Veal.”
-Nero Wolfe in Before I Die, part of the Trouble in Triplicate short story collection.
After reading through the last few posts, I realised that I had inadvertently posted a number of meals on the lighter side – with not much meat included. You’ll be pleased to know that this post rectifies this situation with the bringing together to two essential elements: meat and bread.
I started with lamb shoulder. I got a rolled lamb shoulder from my butcher – which I promptly unrolled and placed in a pot. I added onion, garlic, carrots, olives and some olive brine, chilis, and salt and pepper. I also added some stock I had left over from a previous roast, which I had stored in an icecube tray in the freezer.
In preparing the lamb, I roughly followed the Pioneer Woman’s drip beef recipe. After I had everything ready, I put it in the oven on a low temperature and left it for a few hours.
For the bread, I used the recipe here for braided bread. I saw this and thought it looked so nice I wanted to try it! I decided to make a half recipe, as she divided the dough in half and froze half, and I knew if I froze some dough I’d never use it up – and that it would remain in my freezer like a goose from christmases past…
I started with putting yeast, sugar and warm water in a bowl and let it sit until it went creamy.
I added enough flour until it formed a ball, and kneaded it for about 10 minutes. I added a little bit of oil and made sure the dough was coated in it, and then left it to rise. After about an hour, it had doubled in size, and I punched it down, reformed it into a ball, and left it to rise again.
In the meantime, the lamb was ready. I had tested it a few times and continue to let it cook for longer until I could pull the meat apart with two forks. I estimate the total cooking time for the lamb to be around 3-3.5 hours.
I pulled all the meat apart until I didn’t have any large chunks left, and left it to cool while I prepared the dough.
After the dough had risen a second time, I rolled it out into an approximate oval shape. I became super scientific, and got out a tape measure and measured the dough at its widest point, and divided it into three. I measured 2cm strips down the two outer pieces and cut them out.
Once I’d cut all the strips out, I piled the lamb mix into the centre. I mushed up the carrots slightly, just to make them easier to deal with, and added some mozzarella on top.
Then I began to wrap the outer flaps/strips over the centre, to create a braid-type pattern. This dough was so soft and stretchy, it was very easy to press into place – but it was also easy to over stretch it. It wasn’t completely uniform when I finished, but it wasn’t too bad! I folded the ends in to finish it.
By the way, it is worth noting that I prepared it on a piece of parchment paper that I’d measured to make sure it would fit on my baking tray. That way, after I wrapped it up, I just had to lift the parchment onto the tray, rather than trying to maneuver the soft, filled dough. A Silpat would work even better, I’m sure, and as soon as I get one I’ll be sure to use it for just this purpose!
I put an egg wash over the bread, and put it in the oven for about 15 minutes, until it was brown on top. Here it is once I’d taken it out of the oven.
While this looked completely and utterly awesome, the main thing it reminded me of was a sandworm from Dune! I think this probably just shows that I spend too much time watching sci-fi movies, rather than any reflection on the recipe used.
Anyway, it may look like a sandworm but I’m sure it tasted a whole lot better! The bread was so soft to cut into! As you can see it held its shape well, and while the lamb fell out a bit, it mostly remained contained within the bread.
The lamb filling was tangy, spicy and just a great collection of flavours after being cooked for so long. This was then surrounded by soft delicious bread – comfort food if I ever saw it! Overall the dish was lighter than I was expecting – while the bread was soft, it wasn’t overly dense; however, I wouldn’t call this a light summer dish!
Well I don’t know about Nero Wolfe, but I certainly got some meat to eat. As we are heading towards winter, I’m sure I’ll do more slow-cooked meats, casseroles and so on. I will continue in my quest for different meats as I’m sure Nero Wolfe will!