Janny de Moor Janny de Moor

Lamb with lemon


Serves two:


  • 2 slices boned leg of lamb
  • 2 peeled garlic cloves
  • 4  tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • pepper, salt
  • 2 tbsp concentrated butter
  • 250 ml water
  • peeled waxy potatoes



  • 1 small fennel bulb
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½  tbsp mustard
  • lamb’s lettuce
  • lemon slices with rind

Arni lemonato from Greece. For Greek people the lemon is what the tomato is for Italians. But all Europeans like to eat a sour dish now and then. Sweet food easily bores.

About the origin of  the Citrus limon opinions do not differ: the fruit comes from Assam and North-Burma.

More difficult is to determine the point in time when the lemon turned up around the Mediterranean Sea. On frescos in Pompeï fruit somewhat resembling lemons is found, but it is more likely the fruit of the citron tree (C. medica). Probably Arabs have exported the lemon to the countries of the old world, as far as China. They planted lemon orchards on Sicily as early as  the 10th century. In the 17th century the fruit remained the privilege of rich English and Dutch merchants who liked to show off the exotic fruit on their costly paintings. Hence the saying from that time: ‘to sell somebody turnips for lemons’ (= pull the wool over one’s eyes) because simple folk did not yet know the fruit. It is sad that the seamen who transported the fruit had the medicine for scurvy on board without knowing it. For that was discovered by ship’s doctor James Lind only as late as the middle of the 18th century.

  • With a knife cut small slots into the meat. Fill with slices of garlic. Brush with 1 tbsp lemon juice. Sprinkle with oregano, pepper and salt.
  • Heat the butter in a pressure cooker. Cook the meat on each side until well browned. Add 3 tbsp lemon juice and the water; cook for 25 minutes under highest pressure. Normal pan: simmer for one hour and 15 minutes.
  • Take away the pressure, add the potatoes, cook for 3 minutes under highest pressure. Normal pan: 20 minutes (maybe with some more water).
  • Slice the fennel finely, mix with oil, juice and mustard. Onto a wide dish make a ring of lamb’s lettuce, spread the fennel over it. Arrange the meat in the middle, potatoes all around, in between lemon slices. Serve the (reduced) sauce separately.

Wine: Sangiovese.


Menu suggestion:

  • First course: fish soup. Sauté 1 chopped onion and 1 clove garlic with sliced carrot and blanched celery in 1 tbsp olive oil. Cook for 20 minutes in 500 ml boiling water with 1 tbsp tomato purée and 200 g frozen fish fillet. Season to taste with salt, (dried) thyme and dill. Wine: Pinot grigio .
  • Dessert: orange jelly. Soak 4 g (= 2) gelatin leaves in a bowl of cold water. Bring 2 tbsp water with 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp anise seed to the boil. Remove the pan from the heat, squeeze out the gelatin and dissolve in the anise water. Halve a navel orange; press out. If needed fill up the juice to 100 ml. Peel a second orange with a knife. Dice the flesh of the fruit without skin and mix it with juice and dissolved gelatin. Cool until it begins to set. Fill the two rinds.

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