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cucina di molly, run + eat + drink, weekend spice

cucina di molly (+Aliya!): Lamb sirloin tacos + pickled cherry peppers + chipotle crema

“I’m not worried about the years. I’m worried about the life and the body of work that I can put out while I’m breathing.”

Believe it or not, that’s a straight Kanye quote from last week’s interview with Vanity Fair. It’s borderline profound, right? (Granted later in the interview he also added “sweatshirts are f*cking important”–that’s more like it Kanye)

But honestly, that first statement spoke to me. Because despite the obvious similarities I share with Kanye West, we differ here.

I spend A LOT of time worrying about the years…planning, setting goals, wondering constantly how I can do more and be better in the shortest amount of time.

I spent the summer adventuring through New York’s amazing food and bar scene–eating and drinking my way through brunches, happy hours and Sunday night pasta.

And as memorable and wonderful as that was, I momentarily forgot the joy of creating. The joy of cooking at home.

But thanks to the wonderfully talented (and GORGEOUS) Aliya LeeKong, I reconnected with the home cooked experience. On perhaps the most beautiful fall Sunday, I hopped the A train to Brooklyn and spent the afternoon cooking, conversing, (and obv drinking wine) with Aliya.

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Here’s her recipe for the amazing lamb tacos she prepared, plus of course a few photos to drool over.

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Grilled Lamb Sirloin Tacos with Corn, Pickled Cherry Peppers and Chipotle Crema

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Ingredients:

For the tacos:

  • Wood chips wrapped in foil (optional; I like to use applewood)
  • Canola Oil
  • 2 ears corn
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (8 oz) lamb sirloins
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • ½ cup shredded red cabbage
  • ¼ cup pickled cherry peppers
  • ¼ cup cilantro, leaves only

For the sauce (yields a bit more than a cup):         

  • 8 oz Mexican crema or crème fraiche
  • 2 to 3 chipotles in adobo (canned)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Kosher salt to taste

Procedure

Preheat the grill to medium-high (400-450° F).  Place the foil-wrapped wood chips on the grill, if using, making sure you’ve cut holes for the smoke to escape.  Oil the grill well.

For the corn: I prefer roasting them in their husks in a 400° F oven for 25 to 30 minutes prior to grilling.  This keeps them really tender and moist, and the husks and silk just slip right off.  Then, I brush them with oil and season with salt and pepper before finishing them on the grill for 5 minutes, just to char the outside.  You can also grill them from start to finish – after removing their husks and silk, 15 to 20 minutes in a closed grill, turning every 5 minutes or so.  Cut corn from the cobs.

For the lamb: Coat with oil and season generously with salt and pepper.  Place fat cap-side down on the grill and grill for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the piece, turning once midway through cooking.  The internal temp should be around 130° F, but basically it should feel like the fleshy part of your palm for medium-rare.  Cook longer if you prefer medium to well done lamb.  Tranfer the lamb to a cutting board and rest for 5 minutes under a foil tent.  Slice thinly against the grain for the tacos.

Brush the corn tortillas lightly with oil and grill for 2 to 3 minutes flipping a few times just to warm through.

For the sauce: While the lamb is resting, to a food processor, add the crema or crème fraiche along with the chipotles in adobo and garlic.  Process until smooth and adjust seasoning if necessary.

To assemble the tacos: Spread a bit of the crema in the middle of the tortilla.  Pile on a slice or two lamb.  Top with a spoonful or two of the grilled corn, shredded cabbage, a few pickled cherry peppers, and a few cilantro leaves.

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Fall is here, sweatshirts are f*cking important, and so are tacos.

Thanks Kanye.

Run far, eat well, drink better,

xo Mol

 

 

 

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About Molly Tavoletti

Stay hungry, stay foolish I NY, NY

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