Save the Lamb: Scotch Ale Braised Leg of Lamb with Ginger Glazed Parsnips

Under the Golden Gate Bridge we go! Then reality sets in. The ocean… Or more so the motion of the ocean. Waves are rocking me back and forth, my stomach stirring inside my body. This awful queasy feeling reminiscent of a truly terrible hangover begins to take over the pleasant landscape. Seasickness is a bitch. After a few moments of whining, trying to stare at the horizon, a wave of nausea overcomes me. My head flies over the lifeline and out goes the contents of my stomach. Life sucks and I hate the world.

But the world continues to try and get me down. After some discussion, we realize we’re not going to make it to Half Moon Bay before dark, and any intelligent sailor will tell you not to enter into an unfamiliar anchorage after dark. Thus discussion begins regarding to reality of sailing through the night in order to attempt to get to an anchorage in the light of day. Yippee!

So, I’m seasick and facing a reality of a long night ahead of me and I realize. Shit! I have to make dinner soon. Here’s the thing. When you’re seasick, going down below can be death. It is usually best to stay up in the cockpit. But I had already taken a leg lamb out of the freezer and god forbid I change the menu plan. That’s just not going to happen. Of course, the crew is wonderful. They had offered to prepare the meal I planned, I just need to tell them how to do it. For the sake of ease, we decide to write it down. However, I cannot stare at a page long enough to write three words without wanting to toss my cookies. So I have Daniel dictate the recipe. Then, he goes down below he goes.

At this point, I’m actually feeling a bit better. Maybe it was the purging of my system. Maybe it was the Dramamine. But more likely it was the utter terror I felt that my father and Daniel would turn a leg of lamb into a hockey puck. I began peaking my head into the companion way to trying to get a view of the progress. One person who will remain nameless seemed to lack the same sense of urgency I felt for feeding a hungry crew. While he may not have been hungry at that point in time, I knew the meal would take at the very least an hour and a half to prepare in a sailboat. I, therefore, was anxious to get this boat on the road… or I guess water… anyways. It was then I saw my other crewmember beginning to prepare the parsnips. Watching him trying to peel these colossal roots with a somewhat blunt vegetable peeler terrified me more than the possibility of a hockey puck. After the ordeal with my father’s fingers on the table saw, I didn’t want to watch him shave his finger tips off. Getting the blood off the Formica would have been a nightmare. I couldn’t help myself. I jumped down below and faced down the possible up chuck. Turns out I was fine.

Scotch Ale Braised Leg of Lamb with Ginger Glazed Parsnips

For the Lamb:

2 lbs Leg of Lamb, cut into four equal sized pieces

2 cans of Scotch Ale

1 pkg of Campbell’s Tavern Pot Roast Sauce*

3 tbsp bourbon

2 onions, quartered

2 tbsp canola oil

2 tbsp corn starch

1 cup cold water (or coldish, ice cubes are not necessary)

2 tbsp agave nectar

1 tsp salt

½ tsp freshly ground pepper

After cutting the meat, pat season with salt and pepper and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Heat the oil over medium heat in a pressure cooker. Brown the pieces of lamb on all sides. Try to get a good caramelization on the exterior. Take the meat out of the pot and set a side for a moment. Pour in the pot roast sauce, bourbon and beer. Stir it well to ensure the two are blended together. Add the onions. Then put the lamb back in the pressure cooker. Make sure liquid is covering the top of the lamb. If not, add water.

Close the lid and set the pressure gauge to 15 psi or the highest pressure your cooker will allow. Once the cooker is up to pressure, allow tocook for 25 minutes. If you do not have a pressure cooker, simply allow to simmer for roughly an hour and a half. After 25 minutes of cooking under pressure, turn the stove off and release the pressure valve. NEVER OPEN A PRESSURE COOKER UNDER PRESSURE! Remove lamb and onions, set aside.

Turn the stove back on leaving the lid off. Bring braising liquid to a steady simmer. Add the agave, salt and pepper. Then reduce the braising liquid roughly 30%. In another container, mix together the corn starch and water. Corn starch will not blend well in hot liquids. If you add it straight to the braising liquid, you will get gross clumps of starch in your gravy. Add the starch water mixture to the braising liquid. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.

Pour the gravy over the meat and onions. Bon appétit!

For the Parsnips:

2 lbs parsnips, woody core center removed and cut into 2 inch strips

2 tbsp canola oil

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp ground ginger

2 tbsp honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put parsnips into a roasting pan and add everything but the honey. Stir to ensure even coating over the parsnips. Pour 4 tablespoons of water into the roasting pan to sort of steam/roast the vegetables. Roast for 20 minutes. Shake them up occasionally to prevent burning. Then take out, drizzle honey over the parsnips. Throw them back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Take out and enjoy.

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*I have never normally been a fan of such premade products, but let’s be real people… I live on a boat!

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