Posts Tagged ‘red meat’

Dean Leg of Lamb 1


This time it’s not an Aussie but a Kiwi who is introducing us to a favorite dish from down under. We had our Easter celebration with our dear friends Daniella (Australia), Stuart (Australia via England), and Dean (New Zealand). Daniella supplied a copious amount of delicious wines and Dean and Stuart prepared a glorious late lunch. I feel very spoiled when I visit as I get to sit up on a stool at their kitchen counter and sip a glass of wine as I watch them do all the work. The dinner was lovely with two stand-outs, Dean’s leg of lamb and Stuart’s pavlova. I asked Dean how he prepared the lamb and this is what he told me:


“I made a paste of garlic, rosemary, olive oil and a whole jar of anchovies packed in oil. I scored the leg and massaged in the paste and then wrapped it in plastic film for 24 hrs. I roasted it on high heat on a roasting rack for about 1¾ hours. I added some homemade stock (made with lamb shank bones and chicken necks) to the roasting pan along with a bottle of sancerre. I let the liquid reduce down to make the sauce”.


The lamb was superbly roasted and the sauce was divine. See how lucky we are to have bought Oz into our lives!


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grape leaf


Sarah Afana, who had come to New York to go to culinary school, came to me some time ago as an intern to help us on a couple of projects.  She quickly went from being an intern to being “the boss.”  Not only can she cook, she is an unbelievable baker, a whiz on the computer, and far more organized than I have ever been.  I don’t know what we’d do without her.
Earlier this year, she brought me a jar of grape leaves that had been canned by her family on their ranch in California.  I kept saying “we have to make stuffed grape leaves” but, until this past week, the job was left undone.  And, guess who did it…Sarah, of course.  The end result was delicious and very unlike any commercially canned I had tasted.  Here’s Sarah’s recipe along with some photos of her at work.    You can have the recipe, but you can’t have Sarah!

½ pound lean ground beef
1 small onion, finely diced
1 small carrot, peeled, trimmed, and finely diced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup uncooked long grain rice
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste
About 30 canned grape leaves, rinsed and dried or about 30 fresh leaves
1 lemon, preferably organic, cut, crosswise, into thin slices
3-5 cups chicken stock or canned  nonfat, low-sodium chicken broth
Juice of 1 lemon

Combine the ground beef with the onion, carrot, garlic, rice, pine nuts, parsley, and mint in a large mixing bowl.  Add the olive oil and season with salt and pepper, mixing to evenly distribute.
Working with one leaf at a time, lay a leaf, vein side up, on a clean, flat work surface.  Place about 1 tablespoon of the meat filling at the widest end of the leaf just below the center.  Fold the leaf up and over the filling and tuck in the sides.  Then, roll the leaf up and over the filling to make a neat, cigar-like roll.  As finished, place the stuffed leaf in a large Dutch oven, seam side down.
Continue stuffing the leaves until you have used up all of the filling.  Pack the stuffed leaves tightly into the Dutch oven.  You don’t want to leave any space between them as this will held hold them firmly in place.
When all of the leaves are filled, lay the lemon slices over the top.
Combine 3 cups of the stock with the lemon juice.  Pour the stock mixture over the leaves to cover by about ½-inch.  Add more chicken stock, if necessary.
Cover the leaves with a heavy lid or heat-proof dinner plate to keep them from rising as they cook.  Place over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer.  Simmer for about 35 minutes or until the rice and meat filling is thoroughly cooked, adding adding additional stock if necessary.
Remove from the heat and set aside to rest for at least 20 minutes, still weighted.
Serve warm or at room temperature.


grape leaf2

grape leaf3


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I don’t think there is anything I value more in my kitchen than my grill pan.  It really does turn cool days into backyard barbecue days.  I grill almost every kind of meat on it, but I especially love it for chicken breasts, steaks, chops, and hamburgers.  We don’t eat red meat often, but when we do, it is often a burger.  I thought you’d like to see how a good grill pan can turn out perfect burgers.  And here they are.  I usually have a quart jar of barbecue sauce in the fridge – it keeps forever – so when the urge to stack up a burger, a quick brush of the sauce just at the end of the grill truly turns your burger into a summertime taste treat.



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The other night we were feeling in the mood for a steak house dinner – something we don’t have very often – but when I visited the butcher shop I just didn’t see a steak that fit my bill of fare.  Everything was either too big or way too expensive.  But, the thick, center-cut pork chops looked great and would work just as well on the stove top grill.   And if I honored them well, they would be just as satisfying as a juicy steak.
What exactly does it mean to honor a pork chop?  Well, if you just pop pork chops on the grill they will usually be dry and stringy – unless you’re cooking heritage pork which is generally well-marbled and extremely flavorful – and just not very good.  But, if you brine them (check out my roast chicken for brining hints) you can usually reverse this.  So, I when I got home I immediately placed the chops in a brine for about an hour.  Once nicely brined, I patted them dry and seasoned them well with salt and pepper.  Placed them in a very hot stove top grill pan (mine is so well-worn that I’m thinking I have to get a new one – if you don’t own one, get one, it will become your most-used pan) and seared one side for about 3 minutes and then turned the chops to mark and sear the other for about the same amount of time.  Then, on somewhat lower heat and I continued to grill, turning a couple of times, for about another 12 minutes or until the meat was just barely cooked through.  I took them off the stove and let them rest for about 5 minutes.  I often serve pork chops with a fresh, lively chimmchurri (you’ll find a recipe in my post of September 15, 2010) or my mom’s pepper relish (you’ll find it in posts also but it can’t be made quite as quickly as the chimmchurri).  On this night we had a great pan of hash browns and some sautéed chard.  Not exactly steak house, but still mighty tasty.
About brining pork:  You can use a simple brine as I do for chicken OR you can make up a mix of beer, or cider, or cider vinegar and brown sugar with some chile flakes, citrus zest, and any herbs that suit you.  The latter brine infuses the pork with additional flavor which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since today’s pork is so lean and mild in flavor.




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