As Muslims across Europe and beyond celebrate Eid al-Adha by sacrificing a lamb (or other livestock) for a community feast, The Kitchen explores how some Italian regions prepare their lamb for very similar reasons.
As Muslims across Europe and the world celebrate Eid al-Adha by sacrificing a lamb (or other livestock) for a community feast, lets take a look at how some Italian regions prepare their lamb for very similar reasons.
Eid al-Adha is celebrated as the feast of the sacrifice in Islam. People who are financially able sacrifice livestock, usually a lamb, and distribute it to those less fortunate in the community.
For all three Abrahamic faiths, especially in the area of the Mediterranean, the lamb is considered a symbol of innocence and sacrificing it is a reference to when Abraham was tasked with sacrificing his son.
Although Italy is largely Catholic, during the celebration of Easter a very similar practice takes place in the country. Most people do end up simply going to the local butcher to buy some lamb or goat but there are places in rural parts of the country where the sacrifice is still preformed.
For this meal of the week we’ll be looking at how to prepare agnello in umido, a kind of lamb in a savory sauce popular in rural and southern areas of the country.
This dish is most popular in the mountainous region of Abruzzo in the southeast part of the country, as well as on the equally mountainous island of Sardinia off of Italy’s western coast.
In both of these regions, meat dishes like lamb and to a lesser extent beef are quite common and are known as regional specialties.
This dish calls for a glass of wine so if you keep halal you can simply leave it out without needing to substitute it. It just adds a bit of depth but it is not necessary for it to be a delicious dish.
What you need
300-500g of lamb
One white onion
4 cloves of garlic
A tablespoon of capers
Two tablespoons of tomato paste
300g of vegetable broth
One glass of red wine
Crushed black pepper
How to prepare it
You’re going to start by dicing up your carrots, celery and onions into small cubes and setting aside. Put some oil in a pan and heat it up on a medium flame and toss in your smashed-up garlic until slightly brown. After put in your carrots, celery and onions and stir for a few minutes until they become slightly soft.
Now put in your bundled up herbs, salt, black pepper and tomato paste and stir for another five or so minutes.
While that is cooking, heat up a separate pan with a small amount of oil on high heat to sear your lamb. When it gets a nice brown color, transfer it and the oil to the other pan and stir.
At this point you are going to carefully add in your broth and your wine to the mixture mixing well for another few minutes.
Put the flame on very low and cover. You are going to let it cook covered for an hour but you should stir it every 15 minutes or so to make sure nothing is getting stuck to the bottom.
After the hour is up, take of the cover and let it cook for another half an hour so the sauce can reduce and become thicker.
When the sauce has thickened you are ready to plate your lamb and enjoy it with some nice bread you can use to scoop it up.