Sheeperoni. Photo by James Ramsay (stylist: Susan Benson Cohen).
Miles Macdonald’s SheeparoniBy Miles Macdonald - Published November 3, 2011
Miles Macdonald’s culinary life began when he was a wide-eyed 18-year-old racing for the Canadian national cycling team. “I found myself racing in a World Cup stage race along the Liguria Coast of Italy. Our Russian coach, who during his famed racing career had befriended much of Italy, gained the Canadian team an invite to a hilltop manor for a feast. The meal was prepared and served by the house’s 80-year-old matriarch. Bountiful courses of colourful, warming dishes arrived on the table, the wine flowed, the Russian drank a litre of Vodka, the grandma’s smile infused the whole evening and my interest for cooking was born.”
Ten years and a proper culinary education later, Macdonald was introduced to a whole new style of cooking when he was hired as the chef for Tour d’Afrique, a Canadian-organized cycling tour across the African continent. “My food education began again. It was the western world [cooking] flipped upside down, and there didn’t seem any point flipping it right side up again.” Since then, Macdonald has cooked meals in more than 35 countries on five continents.
This recipe is one of Macdonald’s go-to favourites for groups of cyclists when the Tour d’Afrique visits Ethiopia each year. Ethiopian Berbere should be available at spice shops in major cities or, if you’re lucky enough to have one nearby, at an Ethiopian or Eritrean grocer. Berbere is a mix of spices that usually includes allspice, cardamom, cloves, fenugreek, ginger, black pepper, salt and cayenne pepper. Live sheep are easy to find in Ethiopia and Macdonald said the group usually buys five or six just for this one meal. In Canada, butchered lamb is an easier option.
600 g lamb shoulder, cubed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, diced
3 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 cup cream
500 g macaroni
¼ tsp Ethiopian Berbere spice
¼ tsp salt
Pepper to taste
1. Season lamb with salt, pepper and Berbere spice.
2. In a large pan with olive oil, sear cubed lamb until browned on all sides, then place in casserole.
3. In the pan used to sear lamb, cook the onion until lightly caramelized.
4. Add caramelized onion and raw garlic to lamb in casserole, add enough water to just cover, bring to boil and then simmer. As water level reduces, replace with enough water to just cover lamb. Let simmer approximately one hour or until tender.
5. Boil salted water for macaroni and drop in the pasta when ready.
6. Let water reduce in casserole until it’s just covering the bottom, then add cream and mustard.
7. Let reduce until desired sauce consistency is reached. Taste and add a touch more Berbere for a spicier version.
8. Mix macaroni with lamb and enjoy.