Thursday, April 22, 2010

Chefs compete in first-ever Boston American Lamb Jam

The American Lamb Board partnered with www.BostonChefs.com last month to host the first-ever Boston American Lamb Jam at The Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Mass. Fifteen chefs competed for top honors by creating unique American Lamb dishes using the leg, loin, shank and shoulder. Each dish was paired with Boston beers and hand-picked wines.

A panel of media judges awarded the following "Best in Show" honors:
  • Leg Best in Show: Gourmet Caterers, for its baked American Lamb kibbeh with tahini dressed chickpea salad, tatziki, pita and basil
  • Loin Best in Show: Sel de la Terre, for its roasted American Lamb loin with tart of smoked lamb, baby leeks, crushed peas and Meredith Farms marinated feta with carrot
  • Shank Best in Show: 606 Congress, for its crispy American Lamb shank with mustard, horseradish aïoli, upland cress and pickled radish
  • Shoulder Best in Show: Pain D' Avignon, for "The Royale with Cheese"--ground American Lamb shoulder and lamb confit burger with Mayflower Ale mustard and crispy onions
The fifth Best in Show prize went to The Fireplace Restaurant, Brookline, Mass., for its braised American Lamb shank on Wampanoag chickpea porridge with pomegranate yogurt cream (recipe below). In addition to the award, a $1,000 donation to the Brookline Community Mental Health Center was made in its name. For more information about the American Lamb Board and to view winning recipes from the Boston American Lamb Jam, visit www.americanlamb.com.

Braised American Lamb Shank on Wampanoag Chickpea Porridge with Pomegranate Yogurt Cream
The Fireplace Restaurant, Brookline, Mass.;
wine pairing by Marlene Rossman

Yield: 5 servings

5 American Lamb shanks

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 c. vegetable oil

2 c. green Sicilian olives, cracked or sliced

2 c. kalamata olives

1 1/2 c. capers

8 garlic cloves, crushed

1 1/2 c. shallots, sliced

3 sprigs fresh thyme, rough chop

3 sprigs fresh rosemary, rough chop

3 bay leaves

3 large onions, halved and sliced 1/2-in. thick

3 large carrots, cut into 1/4-in. round slices

3 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch round slices

2 c. crushed canned tomatoes

1 T. tomato paste
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar

6 c. lamb stock (preferable),
veal stock or low-sodium chicken broth
3 c. red wine
Wampanoag Chickpea Porridge (recipe follows)
Pomegranate Cream (recipe follows)


Method (1) Pat shanks dry with paper towel. Liberally sprinkle salt and pepper on one side of the ribs to evenly cover. (2) Heat a cast-iron skillet, Dutch oven or stainless-steel pan on high heat. Add oil; allow to heat until it just begins to smoke. Sear each side of the meat long enough to brown, approximately 10 minutes. Remove ribs; set aside (refrigerate). Pour off all but 2 T fat. (3) Return pan to the flame. Add reserved fat; heat until it lightly smokes. Reduce to medium-high heat; add green olives, kalamata olives and capers. Fry 5-10 minutes, stirring slightly every few minutes. Add garlic, shallots, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves; continue cooking, occasionally stirring until garlic becomes soft. Add onions, carrots and celery; slow cook, stirring occasionally until vegetables are well caramelized. Add tomatoes and tomato paste; cook for approximately 15 minutes or until the tomatoes become well caramelized. Add brown sugar, vinegar and wine; reduce until the liquid is mostly absorbed by the vegetables. Add stock; bring to a slow boil. Remove from heat. Return lamb to the pot, and cover. Place in oven, and cook at 300°F for approximately 2 1/2 hours. (4) Remove pot from oven; check for doneness. Remove meat from sauce; allow shanks to cool for 1 hour. Skim any excess fat from sauce, and discard. (5) To serve, spoon Wampanoag Chickpea Porridge onto the center of a plate. Place a whole shank or meat pulled from the bone on top of porridge. Spoon Pomegranate Yogurt Cream over lamb and porridge. Serve sauce beside in a gravy boat, or poured over shanks.

Wampanoag Chickpea Porridge
1 qt. heavy cream
4 qts. water
1 c. honey
8 T. salt
3 c. semolina
2 c. corn meal
2 1/2 c. chickpeas, cooked and puréed
2 c. Asiago cheese
8 oz. butter

Method (1) In a large saucepan, add cream and water; over medium-high heat, bring to a very low boil. Add honey and salt; whisk until fully absorbed. (2) While whisking, add semolina, cornmeal and chickpeas. Add cheese and butter; whisk until incorporated.

Pomegranate Yogurt Cream
1 qt. plain yogurt
1 c. pomegranate syrup
3 T. molasses
4 T. prepared horseradish
Salt and pepper, to taste

Method (1) In a bowl, whisk together yogurt, pomegranate syrup, molasses, horseradish, salt and pepper.

Wine pairing: Northstar Merlot "Columbia Valley" 2006 (Washington State)

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