Posted on Mar 21, 03:56 PM
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Artisanal French Toast the easy way
Cheese on the Lamb, out like a champ
Cottage Pie is synonymous with Shepard’s Pie in that it’s a meat pie, of Beef or Lamb, with a crust of mashed potatoes. These Cottage Pies came from a night of roast Lamb and vegetables and I’ve got two things to discuss with you: Flavor pairings for Lamb that are outside the usual flavors, and, how to covert most any roast meat into a Cottage Pie. Lamb, roasted, is often had with mint and mint jelly and can tend toward the “gamey” for eaters not used to the meat. Mint is one of those strong flavors that are best for overpowering what they’re with. In my opinion, it falls under what I dread as, “Christmas Spices,” which are historically used to cleanse and ‘heat’ people and food in the dead of Winter. They’re meant to be strong.
One recommended pairing I’ve experimented with before was celery. Of all things! If you’re kicking around a boneless leg of lamb, you’ll season it while it’s flat with salt and pepper and then roll it around the celery and use twine to truss it shut. That provides for some excellent celery when dinner is served! A pairing discovered more recently was a lot more complex in nature but offered no challenge to prepare…
For a four-pound boneless leg of Lamb, three chopped Garlic Cloves with two teaspoons of Ground Coriander, plus one or two teaspoons each of black pepper and some gray sea salt (depending on your taste for either) is best rubbed all over the front and back of an open leg or butterflied cut from the butcher. Roll the Lamb and truss it shut with twine anyway you can. The top of the roast then got a mix of pistachios roughly chopped as a half-cup, the zest of two lemons and a drizzle of honey – just a drizzle so it’s noticeable but not mistaken for SWEET. So, just a drizzle. The topping here is called Gremolata: A chopped herb condiment classically made of lemon zest, garlic and parsley. Found commonly on some regional ossobuco dishes.
The roast did too well for an hour when after which time, vegetables were added and the heat increased making the next half-hour too much for the meat. It was dry though the flavor was absolutely wonderful and the vegetables were some of the best I ever had. I was dubious what to do with the remaining meat – dry as it was.
Cottage Pie. Granted, it will be the next day perhaps and the dines you shared the dry roast with might not be around the dinner table anymore but this can redeem you in your mind.
Three grand-sized Yukon potatoes were skinned, softened in boiling salt water then lowered to simmer ten minutes, then beaten with butter and a couple Tablespoons of Heavy Cream. That alone was delicious! I chopped the roast Lamb and vegetables into smaller pieces and added them with a Cup of Frozen Peas to a liquid base of a cup of beef broth, two Tablespoons of Tomato Paste and the same of Cornstarch. This was distributed between two pretty and oven-safe dishes, topped with mashed potatoes and cheese and in twenty five minutes near 400-degrees, I cracked in.
The spices and seasonings were muted slightly from the liquid base but, by the same new neighbor, that Lamb meat was rehydrated to Operatic heights. It was positively the best part beating out the vegetables and potato topping! So: Worry not; you can save a dry roast by examining Cottage or Shepard Pie recipes to use it in.
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