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Roman Lamb or Kid in Lemon-Egg Sauce - Abbacchio Brodettato

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Abbacchio Brodettato: This is a Roman dish; the egg-and-lemon combination in the sauce is quite similar to what one finds in either Jewish Italian dishes or Greek dishes, so this dish could be quite old. In introducing it in La Cucina Romana e Del Lazio, Mr. Jannattoni says...

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

  • From 2.2 to 3 pounds (1 to 1.5 k) kid, shopped into fairly large pieces
  • 1 heaping tablespoon lard, or 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 ounces (50 g) diced prosciutto
  • 1/2 a medium-sized onion, thinly sliced
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • The juice of a lemon
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley, with several leaves fresh marjoram
  • Boiling water

Preparation:

Continuing with the introduction,
Mr. Jannattoni says, "In gastronomic jargon the verb brodettare means to thicken a dish with egg yolk and lemon juice. In this case, lamb, kid or goat. It is especially the fate of the kid to star in this most classic of Easter dishes. Indeed, until quite recently it wasn't Easter in Rome unless there was capretto brodettato on the table.

"This is not an easy dish, and it appears that some of the tricks it requires are slipping from the collective memory -- from the seasonings to the variations in temperature, from the movements that were once instinctive to the worrisome mating of kid and sauce."

All the major Roman cooks discuss Capretto Brodettato, and Mr. Jannattoni draws from Adolfo Giaquinto and Giggi Fazi. To serve 6, you'll need the ingredients listed above.

Heat the lard (or oil) in a pot with the prosciutto and onion, and as soon as the mixture is hot add the kid. Cook over a moderate flame, being careful not to let the onion overbrown. Season with salt and pepper, and dust the meat with the flour as it browns.

Sprinkle the meat with the wine, and once it has evaporated, add enough boiling water to almost cover the meat. Cover and continue simmering, checking every now and again to make sure the water hasn't completely evaporated. You don't want the sauce too liquid, but rather thick and flavorful.

A few minutes before the meat is done (it should be fork tender), beat the yolks with the minced herbs and the lemon juice. Reduce the heat to a bare minimum and pour the yolk mixture over the meat. Turn everything gently until the yolks thicken; the low heat is necessary because you want the sauce to be velvety, not to contain shreds of cooked egg.

Serve at once.

Note: Mr. Jannattoni, whose Italian text I worked from, doesn't give a cooking time, probably because it will depend upon the quality of the meat. I would figure at least an hour, and perhaps two. As for a wine, I might be tempted to go with a white, for example an Orvieto Classico (Cantine Falesco's is quite nice) or perhaps a rich Vernaccia di San Gimignano (Montenidoli's Vernaccia Fiore or Vernaccia Tradizionale). The more traditionally minded will want a red, for example a good Montepulciano D'Abruzzo.
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