Oh the spiciness of Mongolian Lamb is what keeps the shepherds from overheating in the summertime. Honestly! Those wanderers in Eastern Asia of old knew how to cook with spices.....hot spices, that is. And they knew that the spicier the dish, the cooler they were working in the hot sun. I took the liberty of adding a subtle touch of nature to offset this heat. And served over another one of natures sweet gifts, peas, is perfect.
Sweet and Hot Mongol LambINGREDIENTS
3 tablespoons brown sugar2 teaspoons each chili powder and cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon each garlic and onion powder
1 teaspoon each dried ginger and white pepper
1½ pounds lamb shoulder, trimmed and cubed
Easy Hot Rice and Peas:2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup short grained rice1 cup cooked peas
Salt and black pepper to taste2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons oil1 cup apple cider or juice
2 hot chili peppers, halved, stemmed and seeded
1(8-ounce)bag baby spinachINSTRUCTIONS
Mix first 7 ingredients well in a large, shallow bowl. Add the cubed lamb, toss to evenly coat, cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
When ready, prepare Hot Rice and Peas. Bring vegetable broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until boiling. Add rice and peas, stir to combine, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Stir in salt and black pepper to taste and Parmesan just before serving.
While rice is cooking, heat oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Add lamb and peppers. Stir to combine and brown meat and peppers on all sides. Add cider, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer about 15 minutes, or until just cooked through. Remove lid, add spinach, stir well and cook until wilted. This will only take a minute or so.
When ready, scoop some Hot Rice and Peas on a serving dish and ladle a third of the Mongol Lamb over the top. Repeat with 2 more serving dishes and serve hot.
The Yankee Chef Jim Bailey is a third-generation chef, food columnist, cookbook author and food historian. Bailey lives in Maine with his wife and four children.