This Portuguese lamb dish is ideal for a Sunday roast
Photo: Anabela Valente
Discover Portuguese lamb dish from expat Anabela Valente
In “My taste of home”, Luxembourg expats contribute recipes from their home countries, but with a twist: they are challenged to use a local, seasonal ingredient.
A Portuguese dish that is cooked on special occasions, lamb Vinha d’Alhos requires a bit of time to make, but it makes for a nice Sunday roast, according to Anabela Valente.
“My mother used to get up early on Sundays to make the roast,” she says, “but I fry the meat a bit so the liquid stays inside while roasting--something different than what my mother did.”
Anabela, who co-founded the Diariesof “bookazine” with her partner, Jorge, hails from Aveira. She arrived in Luxembourg 17 years ago after university to intern at the European Parliament.
After later working for a company that specialised in machine translations, she and Jorge took a sabbatical and went to South America, travelling by motorbike.
Anabela adds a twist to the traditional recipe by including red chili peppers to season. Photo: Anabela Valente
When they returned, they gradually decided to work full time on their magazine, which started in 2013, and now they generally spend most of the year travelling to exotic locations, returning to Luxembourg for the odd one or two months to work on the magazine’s production, sponsorship and distribution.
She jokes that she’s the better cook of the two, and on the road they travel with a cooking stove but also enjoy tasting the unique flavours each country offers. “Except for things like insects which I actually tasted in France, I’m open to just about everything.”
Here’s Anabela’s version of the traditional Portuguese dish, which she recommends serving with roasted potatoes and fresh green beans from a local market.
Lamb vinha d'alhos
1 kg roasting lamb
4 carrots, chopped
3 onions, chopped
1 mug broth
10 cloves garlic
10 bay leaves
Red wine (enough to cover meat)
Optional: a few glugs olive oil
Salt and pepper (or chili peppers) to taste
The dish is simple to make but requires advance preparation and over four hours to cook. Photo: Anabela Valente
Mix ingredients of the marinade. Place lamb in large dish and pour over marinade. Prepare and store one day in advance to let the marinade really flavour the meat.
When ready to cook, preheat oven to 150°C for 20 minutes.
While oven is preheating, remove lamb from marinade and fry it over high heat to brown it on all sides. (This helps lock in the juices of the lamb so that it doesn’t get too dry during roasting.)
After meat is browned on all sides, place lamb in an oven dish. Pour the marinade over it and add the carrots and onions, chopped in large pieces. Pour the mug of broth over the meat.
Place dish in oven four around four hours, checking the meat every hour.
When ready, let meat rest before serving. Season according to taste.