Posts tagged ‘lamb’

January 14, 2011

Lentil and Lamb Sausage Stew

it’s been 30-35F degrees outside as i walk out to my car these past few mornings. THIRTY.

IN TEXAS.

so i told my self as i shivered miserably in my car, inching my way through traffic, that im gonna get me some SOUP, damnit!

PS this is a great prep ahead of time meal.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 lb (about 4 or 5 links) of lamb sausage
  • olive oil
  • 1-2 cans of chicken and or beef stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine*
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1-2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves of glaric, halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp white pepper
  • 1-2 tsp nutmeg
  • dash of turmeric (optional)
  • 1-1.5 cups of lentils **

*optional. i probably would’ve used a strong red if i had it on hand. just needed a bit of acidity to cut the heaviness of the lamb. also i didn’t bother deglazing with the wine although i’m not sure how much of a difference this would make… i figured by the time the stew was done the wine would pretty much be cooked out..

** i used mostly french green lentils for their unique flavor and the fact that they hold their shape well. i also mixed in half a cup of red lentils at the same time to thicken the soup since they tend to cook quickly and get mushy.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. heat a tbs or so olive oil in a medium sized dutch oven (i used my spankin new 5 qt canary yellow le creuset)
  2. fry sausage links on each side, evenly, on med/high heat.
  3. remove from heat, cut into 1′ thick coins, and set aside
  4. in residual grease (mmm, grease), saute celery and carrots. 3 min
  5. add onions and stir until softened a bit. 3 min.
  6. deglaze pot with 1/4 cup broth, scraping up all the browned goodness.
  7. stir in tomatos.
  8. add more broth until veggies are all submerged. reduce to a simmer.
  9. add garlic and cooked sausage.
  10. cover and simmer on low
  11. about 30 min before serving time, add washed and soaked lentils to pot.
  12. keep on medium heat until lentil are cooked (~30min)
  13. serve with crusty bread

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December 1, 2010

Moussaka!

i’m not sure what possessed me to make this for thanksgiving this year. maybe it’s ’cause my cousin wanted to make hummus and i figured “well we might as well complete it with a Mediterranean feast!”

i’m a masochist.

anyway, it’s really not as difficult as it looks. just time consuming. and messy.

really. i’m still cleaning up from last Thursday.

I kind of threw this all together with 5 different recipes I found online, so nothing is really exact. i’ll include tips throughout on what i learned what what i’ll do differently next time.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 lb lean ground beef (85%)
  • 3/4 lb ground lamb
  • 1 large yellow onion, minced
  • 2 eggplants
  • 2 medium white potatoes (not russet)
  • 1 can tomato sauce or a few tbs tomato paste.
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1-2 tbs oregano
  • 1-2 tbs parsley
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp all spice (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt

Béchamel Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup cheese, hard. grated.
  • 4 cups milk
  • 8 tbs butter
  • 8 tbs flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • nutmeg
  • pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. in a hot pan, heat oil and saute onions until translucent on med-high heat. ~10 min. season with cinnamon, oregano, bay leafs and enough salt that it tastes a bit over salted. remove from pan and set aside.
  2. wash and skin eggplants, leaving a few stripes for extra texture, support.
  3. slice eggplants into thin, 0.5 cm thick circles. salt generously and set aside to pull out moisture. 30 min.
  4. skin potatoes and slice 0.5 cm thick strips. (along the long meridian, not the short). i found that long strips were easier to arrange in the pan than circles. think tetris… when purchasing potatoes, get rectangular-ish tubers that stay pretty uniform in girth throughout. not egg shaped.
  5. heat 1/2 cup or so of vegetable oil on high in a pan until it shimmers. fry potatoes until golden brown, flipping when necessary.
  6. after each batch, set fried potatoes on a paper towel lined rack to drain off excess oil.
  7. while potatoes fry (it will take several batches), rinse off eggplant slices and pat dry with paper towels. broil in oven ~10 min. remove from oven and set aside.
  8. pour out excess oil and dispose of it properly. heat pan again and brown meat, breaking it up as you cook.
  9. when meat is still slightly pink, add onions and tomato sauce. mix in and remove bay leaf. i may substitute with tomato paste in the future. i used half a can of diced tomatoes and half a can of tomato sauce and found the resulting meat mixture to be a bit too liquid-y.
  10. pour in wine and reduce heat to simmer until liquid reduces. remove from heat.
  11. salt to taste.

bechamel sauce:

  1. heat milk slowly (to avoid curdling) in a small sauce pan: on low heat, simmer one cup until small bubbles form. then slowly pour in more and more milk each time you begin to see bubbles until all 4 cups are heated.
  2. melt butter in a medium sauce pan. introduce flour, one tbs at a time, until a thick roux is formed. stir constantly!
  3. add milk, a little at a time while stirring non-stop, into a thick creamy mixture.
  4. add nutmeg and pepper to taste.
  5. stir in 1-2 egg yolks. (i used 2 large egg yolks. texture was more custard-y and less sauce-y.)

putting it together!:

  1. preheat over to 350F
  2. in a deep baking dish (i used a large 9×13 pyrex dish), evenly line bottom with potatoes. then layer on overlapping eggplants slices.
  3. pour meat mixture evenly over eggplants.
  4. top with another layer of eggplants.
  5. pour in béchamel sauce
  6. grate a hard cheese of your preference over the top. (not sure why i bothered this this step. should’ve just melted it straight into the béchamel sauce before pouring.)
  7. bake for 45min – 1hr
  8. remove from oven to cool. reheat before serving for serve room temperature!
November 16, 2010

Lamb Stuffed Peppers

baking:cooking :: watercolor:acrylic painting

you just don’t have room to fuck up when it comes to baking. when you cook over a stove, you can always blend, adjust, taste as you go. but baking? not so much. you throw it together, toss it in the oven, and hope for the best.

and seeing as you can’t find a single measuring spoon in my kitchen, baking has always been my nemesis. and what’s a masochist like me to do but to force herself into uncomfortable situations.

anyway, here goes.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 lb ground lamb
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbs toasted pine nuts
  • 1-2 cups left over white rice
  • 1 medium egg, beaten
  • salt (more than you think you need.)
  • 3 large bell peppers (preferably red or yellow. green is too bitter)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. mix spices/seasoning in small bowl.
  2. heat oil in pan. saute onions ~2 min.
  3. mix in half the seasoning. add salt to taste. should taste over-salted. continue sauteing until onions are translucent. ~3-5 more minutes. remove from pan and put in fridge to cool.
  4. in a large stock pot, boil enough water to cover bell peppers.
  5. cut tops off peppers and scoop out seeds.
  6. blanch peppers in water ~5 min. not until soggy. make sure they stay submerged (fill the peppers with water to weight them down.)
  7. remove peppers and set aside, upside down, to drain.
  8. line a pan with aluminum foil and preheat oven to 375F
  9. in large mixing bowl, add lamb, beaten egg, rest of the seasoning, and rice. mix with hands. careful not to squeeze too much. you don’t want it too dense.
  10. add cooled onions. fold in and distribute evenly.
  11. drizzle peppers with olive oil, inside and out. (i drizzled a bit of olive oil in the pepper, then rubbed it around with a folded paper towel.)
  12. place on foil covered pan and bake ~40 min. (edges of peppers will just begin to brown)
  13. tip: if the stuffing looks a bit dry while baking, pour a few tbs of beef broth in the center.

aw. look at my little rockstars, all lined up in the spotlight.

well. so much for thinking i can’t bake. alright, to be honest, i’ve made a successful meatloaf before. (it’s the one baking dish i’ve not only been able to finish successfully, but successfully reproduce.) and this really wasn’t much different. add an egg to help binding, use rice instead of bread crumbs, use some similar seasoning as my lamb meatballs, but let’s not give away all my secrets of laziness and cheapen tonight’s success here….

next on the list? thomas keller’s mountain of a quiche. with a little help from alton brown’s pie episodes, i’m gonna learn to make me a flakey pie crust if it KILLS me.  oh, and thomas keller’s leek bread pudding (i recently recieved a TK cookbook as a gift. can you tell?)

anyway. just ’cause i’m so damn proud of myself, one more shot:

and btw, it tasted pretty darn good.

October 3, 2010

De-virginizing my Le Creuset

photo 1

and what better way to do it than with an Apricot Lamb Tagine?

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lamb shanks (or 2 lb lamb shoulder)
  • 1/4 cup flour (optional)
  • 1 med yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced in coins
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 1 can chickpeas (sans sodium)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbs tumeric
  • 1 tbs paprika
  • 3-4 cardamom pods
  • 3 cloves, whole
  • salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. place spices in a blender (go magic bullet!) and blast it to oblivion.
  2. rub down shanks with as much of the spices you need. Salt generously. Typically I let the meat sit out for 30 minutes or so, to let it come to room temperature. Otherwise you’ll get uneven cooking.
  3. preheat oven to ~250F
  4. heat dutch oven on med-high heat. (optional: dredge shanks in thin coat of flour.) add oil and let it come to a shimmer. sear shanks, one at a time (if pot is too small) until brown on each side, 5 min each. thongs are your friend. Don’t crowd, as this will steam and not sear your meat. 
  5. remove shanks. add onions and carrots to pan and saute until soft – 3min, scraping off all the fatty goodness stuck to the sides of the pot. add a bit of broth to de-glaze. Salt generously.
  6. add tomatoes, enough stock to completely submerge veggies, and rest of the seasoning. bring to a boil then reduced to simmer.
  7. place shanks over veggies and spoon stock over it. top off stock to a level half way up the shanks. cover and pop it in the oven. the key to braising is long time at low heat! there shouldn’t be an audible bubbling.  sIMMER. bubbles should surface periodically, not constantly. each hour or two, flip shanks over to submerge the previously exposed side, spooning stock over before you re-cover. Do a taste test and salt again if needed.  Braise for 3+ hours. Add apricots and chickpeas and continue to braise until cooked through. (30-45 minutes or so)
  8. Remove from oven, let it cool, and stick it in the fridge over night. spoon off fat the next morning and heat over medium low heat on the stove to warm it up. It WILL taste better the next day. I promise.

yum yum yum. we ate it with chinese 抓餅, a flaky doughy flat bread –>

notes:

add apricots towards the end! those little f-ers disintegrate like none other.

i actually braised 2 hours stove top, then 3 hours oven. way too hard to control the level of heat via stove top, and the part of the shank that was exposed to air dried out. luckily this was salvageable, as 1 hour in the oven with the dried part submerged remedied this quite nicely. next time i braise ONLY in the oven at low heat. (225? 5 hours?) more even cooking, less turning required. and turning/stirring = having to remove the lid =lose moisture.

the way i broke up the time (2 hours, then refrigerate, then 3 hours, etc) is completely arbitrary. does not matter. as  long as the damn thing cooks. under cooking = tough. don’t be afraid of cooking it a little longer. sounds counter intuitive, i know.

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August 17, 2010

Cinnamon Cumin Lamb Meatballs topped with Lemon Mint Yogurt. Served with Raisin and Pistachio Quinoa

tonight’s dinner was another get-rid-of-crap-in-fridge night. these little projects of mine have been turning out surprisingly well. i really should do this more often. ratio of quinoa to meatballs was pretty good. i had about 4 meatballs and the boy had 6. i found this to be a good portion size. he however, asked for leftover mashed potatoes after dinner. fine by me. they’ve been sitting in the fridge for a few days now anyway. (:

note: over salted the quinoa and under salted the meatballs. ): fine when eaten together. but in the future, after salting the onions to taste, add more salt to meat mixture and no more extra salt in the quinoa (even with low sodium chicken stock.)

INGREDIENTS:

for meatballs –

1/2 onion
1/2 lb ground lamb
2 -3 tbs breadcrumbs
2 tbs milk (or 1/2 egg)
cumin
cinnamon
parsley
salt and pepper

1 cup greek yogurt
2 tbs lemon zest
fresh mint leaves

for quinoa –

1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 onion
cinnamon
3 tbs honey
golden raisins
pistachios, unsalted.

PREP:

  1. chop 1 onion and saute, adding cumin, cinnamon, parsley, salt to taste.
  2. remove to cool.
  3. with hands, mix in 1/2 of onions with ground lamb. add milk and sprinkle in breadcrumbs slowly while mixing.  salt and pepper. set meat in fridge.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. heat pan. toast quinoa until it pops and sizzles.
  2. pour in liquid and sautéed onions. bring to a boil.
  3. reduce to low-med heat. add more cinnamon, honey, and raisins. simmer and stir ~20 min.
  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. roll lamb mixture into 10 mini meatballs.
  3. line baking pan with foil, butter. space meatballs evenly and bake on 350 for ~ 15 min.
  4. in a small bowl, combine lemon zest, mint chiffonade, and yogurt.
  1. turn off heat on quinoa. stir in pistachios.
  2. serve and top with meatballs. spoon on yogurt generously. eat!
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