Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Braised-Lamb Wraps with Lemon-Mint Yogurt and Marinated Cucumbers

Juicy, fork-tender lamb braised with warm and savory spices and herbs turns an ordinary meat wrap into a mighty-special dinner. Add a creamy, lemony, minty yogurt sauce and top it with tart and spicy pickled cucumber slices, and your guests will thank you for every minute (and hour) you put into creating this flavor-loaded, casual-with-a-little-elegance, hand-held meal.

Makes 8-10 wraps


For the Lamb and Cucumbers
  • 2 tsp finely chopped mint 
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-1/2-lb lamb roast, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 6-inch piece of seedless cucumber, very thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped hot green chile (such as serrano or jalapeno)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 8-10 warm, 6-inch, whole-wheat flatbreads
Thinly Sliced Cucumber
For the Yogurt
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp finely chopped lemon zest
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

For the Lamb and Cucumbers
  1. Combine the first 7 ingredients (through paprika) in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Rub the herb and spice mixture all over the lamb. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight). Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before continuing.
Rub and Lamb Roast
Spice and Herb Rubbed Lamb
  1. Combine the vinegar, sugar, lemon juice, and fine salt in a medium bowl, stirring well to dissolve the sugar and salt. Add the cucumber and chile, turning and pressing down to cover as much as possible. (Slices will continue to sink into the brine during marinating.) Cover and let stand 2-4 hours, stirring or turning a few times. Drain well through a sieve before serving.
Cucumbers in Marinade
  1. Preheat the oven to 300° F.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the lamb roast and sear until browned on the bottom, 4-5 minutes. Turn and sear until browned on the other side, 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the broth and cover the pan tightly. Place in the oven and braise until fork-tender, about 3 hours, turning once halfway through.
  4. Transfer the lamb to a plate and let rest until cool enough to handle. Reserve 1/2 cup of the juices from the pan and discard the rest.
  5. Pull the lamb into shreds, discarding any fatty parts. Return to the pot with the reserved 1/2 cup of juices and heat until hot throughout.
Ready to Braise
Braised Lamb
Shredded Lamb
Serve the lamb with lemon-mint yogurt (recipe follows), marinated cucumbers, and warm flatbreads.

Braised-Lamb Wraps with Lemon-Mint Yogurt and Marinated Cucumbers
For the Yogurt
  1. Whisk the yogurt, mint, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. (Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or up to 4.)
Yogurt Sauce

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