Christmas means meeting up with family, spending good times with loved ones and spending excellent quality time around a table surrounded by laughter and light-heartedness. This time of year is the best to enjoy good food and explore flavors that mix the Christmas tradition with certified products and a strong focus on sustainability. These are precisely the three elements that inspired the proposal of chef Roberto Valbuzzi, owner of the Crotto Valtellina restaurant in Malnate (VA) and a well-known television face, since October 2023 Ambassador of Irish beef and lamb for Italy.
From the love for genuine products, bred and cultivated with passion, the "Lamb from the Emerald Isle, pistachios, chocolate stock and flaked potatoes" was born, a dish designed to offer this Christmas a certified meat like that of Irish lamb whose sweet and delicate flavor is the result of traditional breeding practices, carried out in harmony with nature. The fertile soils, abundant rainfall and the temperate climate of the island, in fact, contribute to the growth of green meadows, where animals are free to graze for 220 days a year. With the longest grass growing season in Europe, the green expanses of Ireland therefore ensure the lambs are fed Grass Fed, which guarantees not only the certified sustainability of this product, but also its authentic and delicate taste and rich nutritional properties.
“The concept of the supply chain behind the production of Irish meat is one of the reasons why I chose to embrace the use of this delicious meat. The breeding method - respectful of the animals, nature and the people who work - allows us to obtain meat with a unique and refined flavour" - comments chef Roberto Valbuzzi - "I have tried to enhance this certified and quality product with a truly unusual combination combining chocolate, pistachio and potatoes, a great classic always loved by everyone.”
A simple and easy recipe to replicate at home, ideal for bringing to the table the clean air of the Emerald Isle, the authentic and delicate flavor of "Good by Nature" meat and the safety of certified products that speak of sustainability.
Christmas in Ireland, some fun facts Alongside a good dish of Irish meat, there are two customs of the Emerald Isle that symbolize hospitality: lighting a candle by a window on Christmas Eve or putting several dishes on the table during the meal will complete the your Christmas with an Irish flavour.
Paired with Irish lamb, the delicious chocolate sauce recalls the legend of Saint Nicholas and the gift of three bags of gold coins to a needy family, today transformed into the famous chocolate gold coins which are sold throughout Europe given as customary gifts, from the feast of Saint Lucia to the Epiphany.
Lamb from the Emerald Isle, pistachios, chocolate sauce and flaked potatoes - Ingredients for 4 people:
800g Irish lamb chops
150g of natural pistachios
200 g of brown base
50g of 72% dark chocolate
8 large potatoes
1 mixed aromatic bunch (sage, rosemary, bay leaf)
extra virgin olive oil.
Method: Clean the lamb chops, season them with oil, salt, pepper, the aromatic bunch and cook sous vide at 64°C for 2h30.
In the meantime, with the help of a mandolin, cut the potatoes into very thin slices, season them with oil, salt and pepper, then place them in a plum cake mold forming several overlapping layers (press each layer well to eliminate all the air and make them adhere well to each other). Cover the last layer with baking paper, place another mold filled with water on top and bake at 180°C for 1 hour. Once ready, let them cool, remove them from the mold and cut into rectangles of approximately 5X10 cm.
Coarsely chop the pistachios with a knife, then toast them quickly in a pan.
Prepare the sauce: weld the brown bottom in a saucepan (it must not boil), then add the chocolate and whisk until completely melted; season with salt and pepper (if the sauce is too thick, thin with a drop of hot water).
Once the lamb is ready, open the bags, quickly pat the meat with kitchen paper, then sprinkle with pistachios and bake at 210°C for 5 minutes.
Fry the flaked potatoes until golden and crispy, season with a pinch of salt.
Serve the lamb with the flaked potatoes and complete with the chocolate sauce.