Abbacchio Brodettato, Lamb or Kid in Lemon-Egg Sauce

This is a Roman dish, drawn from Livio Jannattoni’s La Cucina Romana e del Lazio. 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. It is also an Easter tradition, to the point that Mr. Jannattoni says a Roman Easter wasn’t Easter if there wasn’t Capretto Brodettato on the table.

In introducing it, he discusses brodettare:

“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 Fazzi.

To serve 6:

  • 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

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 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).

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Categories: Holiday dishes, Lamb and Kid, Recipes from Rome & Lazio, Cucina Romana e Laziale

Author:Cosa Bolle in Pentola

Italy boasts an astonishing number of varietals, denominations, and wines, and tremendous changes are sweeping the land. New wines are being created, new DOCs are being introduced, and the existing denominations are overhauling their regulations both to reflect the practices adopted by their member wineries and to favor improvements in quality. Even the most staid and stolid region can flower seemingly overnight, emerging with exciting new wines and wineries that require rewriting the enological maps and rethinking one's positions. And, of course, recipes too, because cuisine and wine are closely intertwined and it's difficult to imagine one without the other.

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