A Smokin’ St Paddy’s Day Menu


Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook –Leave a comment

Smoked Pulled Lamb Sandwiches

Split Pea Soup with Barley

Roasted Pears with Caramel Sauce 

Who needs a long list of ingredients for a complete meal-especially for a holiday? Not here! The recipes are simple even if the lamb takes a bit of advance planning. The pulled lamb smoked-inside on your stovetop or outside on the grill, is incredible! The cozy split pea soup is a cool weather staple and with the addition of barley, could be a complete meal in itself. Roasted pears are perfect with just a drizzle of decadent caramel sauce (Trader Joes brand is a national favorite). Quarter lengthwise, roast in a hot preheated oven for 15 minutes; go for the sauce!

Rita’s Indoor Stovetop Smoking Method for Pulled Lamb

Here in the Mid-Atlantic, the winters are fairly mild (this year off the charts for a warm winter) so I keep my grill active, even through a bit of snow. It always has been my modus operandi to grill year-round. However, with my love of smoky grilled foods, I have also adapted some indoor smoking techniques to create that deep, rich, earthy character without creating a room full of smoke. I originally developed the process for the Stovetop Smoked Tomatoes I prepared on an Emeril Lagasse television show which is a showcase recipe in The Grassfed Gourmet Fires It Up.

My stovetop smoking method is excellent for tomatoes and perfect for a number of veggies, poultry, or seafood. Now for the early spring St. Paddy’s Day…lamb is the choice. I use a simple wok set-up, a small rack (close to the size found in a toaster oven), heavy aluminum foil, and aromatics, such as green herbs, rice, and white sugar (brown sugar would burn too quickly), for adding scent to the smoke.

Since lamb steaks take more low-slow cooking time to fet tender enough to fall apart, This version finishes them in a simple slow cooker topped with the sliced onions.

serves 4 to 6

  • lamb shoulder steaks, approximately 2 pounds
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 whole bulb of garlic, top ¼ cut off to expose the cloves
  • 2 sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 Ciabatta or Kaiser rolls, heated just before serving
Smoking Mixture
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons green or black loose tea leaves or leaves from 4 teabags
  • 2 tablespoons rice
  • small sprigs of herbs, such as rosemary or thyme

For the flat heavy pan or wok: 



In a small bowl, create the smoking mixture by combining a small amount of rice, tea leaves, and sugar.



Line the pan or wok with a sheet of heavy foil (enough to fit inside the wok and enclose the food). Place the pan or wok over medium high heat and add the smoking mixture, then add herb sprigs; make sure not to make the pile too heavy because air circulation is necessary.

Generously salt and pepper the lamb. Place on a rack.



When small bursts of smoke begin to rise, place the rack holding the lamb over the smoke source, cover with the foil—allow a small, gentle wisp of smoke to escape—and cook about 15 minutes on medium-high heat.



Remove the entire setup from the heat, but leave covered an additional 5 minutes or longer to infuse with smoky flavor.

Heat the slow cooker to high heat. When hot, lay the lamb steaks on the bottom then cover with the sliced onions and the garlic bulb; Pour in 1 cup of water. Cover with the lid and cook on high for  about 1 hour. Reduce the slow cooker to medium heat and continue cooking covered, until the lamb is very tender-approximately 2 more hours.

Remove the lamb and garlic to a work surface until cool enough to handle. Keep the onions in the slow cooker. Pull lamb apart with the times of two forks. Squeeze the garlic out of the skin and mix the garlic with the lamb.

Assemble the sandwiches

Place the bottom half of each roll on a plate. Load up the lamb garlic mixture and then top with the onions. Drizzle with some of the lamb cooking liquid, if desired.


Split Pea Soup with Barley 

Serves 6

  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 quart low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups green split peas, sorted, rinsed
  • 2 each, thinly sliced diagonally: celery ribs, carrots
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt  and freshly ground pepper

Place the bay leaves, water, broth and split peas in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil , reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes until peas are very tender.

Add celery, carrots and onions; cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the barley and cook 15 minutes until barley is plump and soft. To finish, add the garlic and salt and pepper while discarding the bay leaf.