Cuban-style Chilindron of Lamb
Very versatile, Chilindron is one of my favorite dishes. It's a rich, woodsy, bright Spanish stew, dominated by roasted red peppers, paprika and onions. Originally made with vegetables, Chilindron originated in Aragon in central Spain. It's now a staple dish in Cuban cuisine and other Spanish cultures, differing only by a few ingredients. There are many variations using goat, lamb or chicken. In Cuba, lamb and/or goat are the most popular and are enjoyed at big parties, weddings and New Year's Eve dinners. The leftovers are enjoyed as tapas the next day.
- 2 1/2 pounds lamb shank Add to list
- 2 to 3 teaspoons salt (or to taste) Add to list
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper Add to list
- Juice of 2 limes or 2 to 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar Add to list
- Flour for dredging Add to list
- 1/4 cup or more extra virgin olive oil Add to list
- 6 slices of bacon or pancetta, minced Add to list
- 1 medium-large onion, finely minced Add to list
- 1/2 head of garlic (about 5 to 6 cloves), peeled and minced finely or mashed in a mortar Add to list
- 1 large green bell pepper, julienned Add to list
- 2 cans crushed tomatoes (14-to-15 ounce cans) Add to list
- 1 cup dry sherry or your favorite dry red wine Add to list
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin Add to list
- 1 teaspoon hot Spanish paprika or pimentón Add to list
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano Add to list
- 1 fresh rosemary spring Add to list
- 1 bay leaf Add to list
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley Add to list
- 2 tablespoons chopped Spanish olives, to garnish Add to list
Marinate the lamb by placing it in a large bowl or container and sprinkling it liberally with 2 teaspoons salt, pepper and lemon juice. Cover and let it sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours. If you are marinating the meat for longer than 2 hours you should refrigerate it and bring it to room temperature 2 hours before cooking.
Drain the lamb and pat it dry, reserving marinade. Dredge meat chunks in the flour just to provide it with a coat for protection while searing it. Heat olive oil on medium heat in a deep, shallow pan, or in a Dutch oven. Brown the meat on all sides, about 3 minutes per side — you can do this in batches. Transfer the meat to a plate when done.
To the same pan over medium heat, add bacon or pancetta and sauté until browned (about 5 to 7 minutes), then add onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Reduce the heat to low and sauté the veggies for approximately 5 to 6 minutes until caramelized and soft. Add the wine to the pan while doing this, scraping the pan to pick up the toasted parts of the browned meat.
Return the lamb to the pan and add the reserved marinade, crushed tomatoes, cumin, paprika, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, rosemary and bay leaf. Cover and simmer over low heat or in a 350º F oven until the lamb is tender, approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Turn/stir the meat every 30 minutes or so to ensure that it keeps moist. Add water if the sauce reduces too much.
Transfer to a serving bowl, discard the bay leaf, stir in the parsley and serve over rice, mashed potatoes or over bread slices as an appetizer/tapa. Garnish with the olives.
Recipe by, PCC Cooks instructor