Our own Linda Sterckel joins celebrity chef Fabio Viviani for a two-part special holiday column, featuring recipes from Fabio’s 30-Minute Italian cookbook. Recently voted 2017 Chicago Chef of the Year by the Chicago Culinary Museum and Chef’s Hall of Fame (and honored by the Mayor of Chicago with a Fabio Viviani Day), Fabio says this recipe is perfect for celebrating with family and friends. “The Applewood bacon gives the meat appealing smokiness and mingles with the pan juices on the bottom of the cooker,” he notes. Stay tuned for Fabio’s Christmas dessert in December.
Roasted Leg of Lamb With Applewood Bacon, And Roasted Mushrooms
By Chef Fabio Viviani (Serves 4)
• 1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1 leg of lamb, ask your butcher to cut it for you
• 1/2 cup diced onions
• 1 pound medium-diced Applewood bacon
• 8 garlic cloves, cut into chunks
• 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 1/4 cup Marsala wine
• 2 cups chicken stock
• 3 fresh rosemary sprigs
• 10 juniper berries, crushed
• Salt and pepper
• In a small bowl, place mushrooms and 1 cup hot water to reconstitute. Heat a large Dutch oven to medium high. Season the lamb with salt and pepper generously, add the olive oil to the pan, and sear on each side for 3 minutes.
• Remove the lamb and add the onions, bacon, and garlic. Cook for 8-10 minutes, then deglaze with balsamic vinegar and marsala wine.
• Add the mushrooms and their liquid, chicken stock, rosemary and juniper to the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then pour into a slow cooker.
• Place lamb inside slow cooker and cover with lid. Cook on low overnight, or start in the morning and it will be ready for dinner, around 8 hours.