Precious, little lambs. They are so cuddly and adorable. And delicious! But as one of the world's most heavily consumed meats, lamb is surprisingly underrepresented on American dinner plates. Seeking to change that, the American Lamb Board (yes, that's a thing), launches a national event next week, entitled Brews, Ewes & BBQs.
Four chefs, one each from S.F., Seattle, Boston, and D.C., will tear down a whole lamb for the sole purpose of crafting a lamb-centric menu to pair alongside craft beer. Representing our city is chef Robert McCarthy of ThirstyBear
. Here's an exclusive sneak peak of what he plans to shepherd into the SOMA next week.
Lamb leg canalones
, braised for hours in sherry and vegetable stock, is a sensational entry point for the amateur lamb gourmand. The meat is shredded, skilleted, and bathed in a slightly sweetened reduction, before it's wrapped in a canalone — an Italian burrito, of sorts. Another accessible, if slightly more advanced entry, is a lamb chop with mint and lemon Gremolata
. Cuts from either the rib or the loin are grilled to order and topped with a chimichurri-like mixture of chopped parsley, cilantro, mint, garlic and olive oil. Simple, fresh flavors to brighten the ever-so-slight game of the meat. And a lamb belly pastrami with poached asparagus
needs no further explanation.
Offal aficionados won't waste a moment digging into the lamb head cheese
. Not for the faint of heart, McCarthy's rendition consists of head meat, brined with other unmentionable parts of the animal, simmered until tender in a vegetable stock. The resulting meat, and accompanying reduction, is diced and placed in a terrine before refrigeration. It sounds sinister, but a well-executed head cheese is a decadent, savory affair. Don't be scurred.
"I'm thrilled to have the option of receiving a whole lamb for this week-long event," McCarthy says. "Nose to tail cooking is about as good as it gets for a chef. When faced with all the menu possibilities, it's best to not have too many dishes planned out in advance, but rather let the inspiration come through in the process."
And there will be ample room for improvisation with all that leftover lamb. So expect to see a few last-minute surprises added to the menu if you make your way to ThirstyBear during the weeklong feast. All dishes will be paired with the brewpubs own house-made, organic beers, including their newest release: Citra Double Down
, an 8.9 percent ABV Imperial IPA.
Brews, Ewes, and BBQs
, Aug. 10-14, at Thirsty Bear Brewery, 661 Howard, 415-974-0905.