Mint is a classic accompaniment for lamb. And it wasn't until Jennifer May shot this classic braised lamb recipe with its mint condiment that we really appreciated its beauty. It's something we imagine on the Sunday table of Mayor Drapeau, who brought Expo 67 and the '76 Olympics to Montreal (and chased away the hookers and the gangsters -- albeit temporarily). —Joe Beef
(about 1 kg) boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed, rolled, and tied
Preheat the oven to 375° F (190° C). Season the lamb on all sides with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan over high heat. Add the lamb and sear for 3 or 4 minutes on each side, or until you get a nice golden crust. Transfer to a plate.
Reduce the heat to medium, throw in the onion, carrot, peas (thawed, if using frozen) and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add the thyme, nestle the lamb on top of the vegetables, and pour in the wine.
Cover the pan with aluminum ?foil, place in the oven, and braise for ?4 hours. Every 30 minutes, baste the top of the lamb with the pan juices. If the pan begins to dry out, add some water.
While the lamb is cooking, make the condiment. In a small pot, combine the dates and water, bring to a boil over high heat, and boil for about 10 minutes, or until soft. Reduce the heat to medium, add the sugar, vinegar, and cayenne, and stir well. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until the sugar is dissolved and the condiment has the consistency of jam.
Remove from the heat, add the horseradish, mint, and Worcestershire sauce, and buzz with a hand blender or whisk in. Let cool completely before serving. (Leftover condiment can be stored in a tightly capped jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.)
When the lamb is ready, transfer it to a warmed platter with the vegetables. Snip the strings and serve à la cuillère, with a spoon. Serve the condimint on the side.