Andalusia is a province on the Iberian Peninsula that occupies mostly the Southern tips of Spain, Portugal, as well as some parts of Southern France, Andorra and Gibraltar, which is actually British though located at the tip of Southern Spain. The Iberian Peninsula is the westernmost part of Eurasia. This area has been inhabited by humans for at least 1.2 million years, so it has a very rich and diverse culture, from many lands and many people. And it still flourishes today.
Life on the Iberian Peninsula, and especially the Andalusian areas, are heavily influenced from the early Romans and Greeks, the Spanish and Portuguese, as well as the Muslims of North Africa. These multi-cultural influences are found in everything from their architecture to their music and to their foods. I find all of that truly fascinating, since I love history and learning new languages and learning about different cultures, but I especially love these influences on all of the foods of the area. I do love food, just in case you hadn’t noticed. 🙂
I love all foods, from most parts of the world, but one of my favorites types or styles of food is Mediterranean food. It is also one of the healthiest diets around as well. When I last cooked lamb An Indian Curried Lamb I only cooked half of the lamb. It was time to cook the rest of it. Since I prepared it Indian style last time, this time I chose to prepare it differently, and made it Andalusian style. The recipe I chose, and semi-followed, goes back about 700 years, getting its flavors from both the Moors and the Spanish inhabitants of the area. I’d say this recipe has aged very well and has stood the test of the times. It was delicious and full of different and flavorful layers of goodness.
5 lbs lamb (I used a roast, but the recipe calls for shanks)
2 onions, diced fine
1/2 yellow bell pepper, 1/2 green bell pepper, diced fine
2 TBSP garlic
1 1/2 tsp either saffron threads dissolved in water, or dried saffron or turmeric – I used the turmeric
1 TBSP paprika
1 1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup brandy
salt & pepper to taste
4 tomatoes, diced
1 can cannellini or white beans, drained and rinsed
1 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro
I marinated the lamb in the sauce and then grilled it, but you can also slow cook it in a Dutch oven too. For the sauce, combine the brandy, wine, turmeric and paprika together. Add the lamb and marinate for at least 3-4 hours before cooking. This made the lamb very tender and full of flavor. If you prefer, especially if you are using shanks instead of a roast, you can skip the marinating portion and cook everything together.
Saute the onions and peppers together in the olive oil for about 5-7 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and they are soft.
Add the tomatoes and the marinade (more of my own additions) and the salt & pepper. Combine thoroughly, cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and continue to cook for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the beans and the cilantro around the last 5-7 minutes of the cooking process.
When everything was done, I served it all over some pearled couscous. I layered it all, like I usually do, with the couscous first, a little sauce next, then the grilled lamb, and then topped it all with more sauce. To accompany the meal and make it complete, I served it with some warmed pita bread and a smooth velvety Portuguese red wine. !Delicioso!
Explore the world and travel to far off exotic lands, even if only through the foods we eat. Life is short; live life to the fullest with everything you do. Stay safe and stay well. ‘Til next time.