Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Amazing, Outstanding, 4-Thumbs-Up Lamb Ribs

Mr. Kluges took charge of the lamb ribs for Sunday supper, and boy, am I glad he did! He looked up a bunch of recipes on-line, narrowed it down to a winner, shopped for the couple of things I didn't have on hand (like fresh rosemary) & cooked up a storm (including very garlicky mashed potatoes & brandy-sauteed carrots).

Was it every worth it! I'm not just saying that 'cuz for once I wasn't the one cooking, but man, oh, man were those ribs amazing!

Here's what they looked like...

...and the smell? Heavenly!

And EVERYONE liked them!!! They're totally how we're going to make our 2nd package of lamb ribs after a while. Definitely!

Here's the link at Blue Kitchen, but I'm copy-pasting it so that it's here, too! Also, note to self - have Mr. Kluges print it out, so I have it forever. The caraway in it is brilliant! I agree that 1 1/2 lbs serves 3 well, or 4, as it is so rich (& still a bit fatty, but only in a good way!). The garlic didn't flavor the lamb a whole lot, but it did turn into delicious little garlic chips on the top, so yum anyway!

Roasted Lamb Ribs with Rosemary and Caraway
Serves 3

3 large cloves garlic
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved
1 carrot, peeled
1-1/2 to 2 pounds lamb ribs
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt, plus additional
1 generous tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon dried caraway seeds
freshly ground black papper
olive oil

Peel two of the garlic cloves and bash them lightly with the side of a knife to break them open and release their oils. Place them along with the onion, carrot and ribs in a into a lidded stock pot or pan large enough to hold them easily and add water to cover. Add bay leaf and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a slow simmer and skim off any scum that rises to the surface during the first few minutes of cooking. Cover and simmer for about an hour. Transfer ribs to plate. Discard the remaining solids and cooking liquid. Ribs can be made ahead up to this point and refrigerated for up to 2 days before roasting.

Roast the ribs. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Thinly slice the remaining garlic clove and drizzle with a little olive oil. Season ribs on top with some salt and a generous grinding of pepper. Sprinkle chopped rosemary and caraway seeds over ribs and arrange garlic slices on them. Place ribs on a rack in a lightly oiled roasting pan and place in oven. Roast ribs until nicely browned, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and let them rest for about 5 minutes. Slice into individual ribs and serve.

Mr. Kluges found that because he did the roasting right after the boiling step that they were still hot and so needed less time roasting - more like 40-45 minutes instead of an hour.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cheddar Chicken Chowder

Yes, yes, I know - another recipe from Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2002. I can't help it - it has a lot of yummy ones in it. I needed a recipe for soup that used chicken broth and leftover chicken from a whole one I'd made earlier in the week. As a bonus, I used up the leftover not-crispy-like-it-was-supposed-to-be Potatoes-Anna I'd made the day before instead of chopping & peeling new potatoes. AND I happened to have a package of 3 bacon slices in the freezer, which totally isn't enough for a meal, but perfect for this recipe!

Cheddar Chicken Chowder

2 [or 3!] bacon slices
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces [or sub in leftover chicken or turkey]
1 c. chopped onion
1 c. chopped red bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 1/2 c. fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth [I used broth from our basic one-pot chicken, which had been cooked with sweet potatoes so it was especially lovely and rich!]
1 3/4 c. chopped peeled red potato [or if you've got leftover cooked potatoes, chop them up and use those.]
2 1/4 c. frozen whole-kernel corn
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. 2% low-fat milk
3/4 c. (3 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese [sharp gives more flavor]
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

1. Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble; set aside. Add chicken [if raw], onion, bell pepper, and garlic to drippings in pan; saute 5 minutes. Add broth and potato [if raw], and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until potato is tender. Add corn; stir well. [If you're using leftover chicken and/or potatoes, I'd add them at this point.]

2. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Place flour in a bowl. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended; add to soup. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 15 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Stir in cheddar cheese, salt and black pepper. Top with crumbled bacon.

Yield: 7 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 c.)
[If made as originally described...]Calories: 306 (22% from fat); Fat 7.5g (sat 4g, mono 2.2g, poly 0.6g); Protein: 25g; Carb 33.7g; Fiber 2.9g; Chol 58mg; Iron 1.6mg; Sodium 376mg; Calc 193mg

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Beaujolais nouveau release week

Hey all, this week is the release week for the Beaujolais nouveaus! go pick one (or six) up for some delicious juicy drinking. Get them now and drink them soon... would go well with many Thanksgiving and X-mas meals. If you want something that will last longer and have more complexity then do a Cru Beaujolais, these are some great wines that rarely top $20.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tidbits about Lamb Cuts

Now that we've gotten our lamb meat back from the butcher, it got me wondering about the different cuts. I mean, a lot are the same as pork - you've got your chops, and your ribs, and your roasts - and "leg of lamb" is obvious, but are there other cuts of meat specific to lamb and/or mutton?

So I did a little searching and found some charts.

Here's one from Treasure Valley Sheep Producers. It looks like it's a scanned in copy from the National Live Stock and Meat Board. (Who knew there was a National Live Stock and Meat Board? Not me.)

(You can click on it to have it bigger.)
If that's a little too "butchery-y," check out this link over to American Lamb's "Lamb 101 - Cuts" page. It breaks it down a little more basically, and has photographs of some of the different cuts.

And if you want to start from the "ok, it's called THIS; now, what does that mean?" side of things, here's a page at The Nibble that's a glossary of lamb terms.

Ok, my question's answered & I hope you've had a chance to learn something new, too!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lamb Shish-kabob

Simple marinade that's delicious on lamb.

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon oregano

2 lbs. lamb, cut into 2-inch cubes
Onion, mushroom, bell pepper, whatever other veggies you like on a kabob

Whisk all marinade ingredients together and pour into a gallon ziplock bag. Add lamb, smoosh it all around, and throw it in the refrigerator for 3-6 hours. When it's done, slice your veggies, put everything on skewers and grill or broil. I like to go nice and high with the heat; a little char is delicious against the richness of the lamb and acidity of the marinade, and I like lamb a little rare in the middle. Serve with basmati rice and your favorite Middle Eastern sides — pita and hummus, tabouli, etc.

Irish (Lamb) Stew

I have been assured that what makes Irish Stew so awesome is its simplicity. So this is really straightforward, and I must say, it's pretty damn good that way.

3 lbs. lamb, cubed
1/2 cup onions, sliced
6 medium potatoes, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 or 3 white turnips, peeled and cubed

Lightly dredge lamb in flour, salt and pepper. Brown in cast iron pan, transfer to soup pot. In same cast iron, cook onion until softened and golden, transfer to pot with lamb. Add boiling liquid just to cover. (If I get a bone-in piece of lamb, I do a quick stock for this part by breaking the bone open and boiling it with onion, celery and carrot then straining; otherwise you can use broth or even — per the recipe — water.) Cover pot, simmer on low for two hours. Add veg, cook 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Thicken if necessary, but I just try to adjust the heat on the veg-cooking part to reduce the liquid to the appropriate thickness.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

WW - Me, giant! You, itty bitty lamb chop! NOM NOM NOM

(c) 2010 Ms. Huis Herself at musenmutter.blogspot.com

(Well, "NOM NOM NOM" after I cooked it, anyway.)
Cross-posted over to Musings & Mutterings.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Shepherd's Pie (and some basic mash)

I first made shepherd's pie, perhaps not surprisingly, when we were living in Ireland. We liked to watch a show called "The Restaurant," where each week a guest chef would have the chance to design & prepare a menu for a restaurant full of people and several critics. These guest chefs were tv personalities, sports stars, politicians, journalists, radio announcers, etc. Good fun, both for the food as well as for the insights into Irish food and culture.

One time the guest chef made Shepherd's Pie, and I said, "I could make that! I should make that. Let's have that next week!" And so we did.

Now, whenever I want to make shepherd's pie, I always pull out my print-out of her recipe... and never, ever, ever follow it. :) I don't even have any notes written on it. But it does remind me of how generally to make it, that I need to remember the thyme & rosemary, and how it should taste at the end. Which is yummy.

Shepherd's Pie
  1. Make mashed potatoes from scratch. For me, that means wash & cut-up some red potatoes & boil until soft. No need to peel them first, just cut out any iffy bits. Drain & mash with butter. Lots of butter. And some salt. If you've got sour cream or plain yogurt or cream cheese, go ahead and add some of that - it'll just make it yummier. Set aside. You're better off making too much mash than not enough, 'cuz it makes fine leftovers, but not enough to cover the pie looks scanty. If you're really fancy, you could peel your potatoes and whip them and later use a pastry bag to pipe them all pretty on top & then sprinkle with parsley to garnish, you overachiever, you.
  2. Peel & dice or slice some nice carrots. I like carrots, so I do 3 or 4 of them. Saute in olive oil or a mix of butter and olive oil until they're just starting to get a few brownish bits. Set aside.
  3. Peel and dice some onion fairly finely. Red is milder and what I prefer, but whatever you have on hand is fine. Saute to your preferred level of softness/translucence & set aside.
  4. Cook up some ground lamb (aka lamb mince) and/or ground beef, about a pound & a half total (A pound is 454 g. Ah, the memories. *grin*) until it's browned, but not crispy. This last time I did half of each.
  5. Add a good splash of red wine, maybe a dash of Worchestershire, and some beef broth. (Have I mentioned my love of Better than Bouillon lately? 'Cuz it tastes so much better than the granules and is just as convenient!) The amount will depend on the leanness of your ground meat, but you want it to have enough gravy that it doesn't get dry when/if the potatoes soak up some of the sauce. Too soupy is not great though, so find a happy medium.
  6. Sprinkle in some salt & pepper to taste and about a teaspoon each of thyme & rosemary (a bit more if you're using fresh). Let it simmer for a while - 15 minutes? - enough to let the flavors meld.
  7. Stir back in the onions & carrots. I add some thawed frozen peas in at this point, too. Taste & adjust the seasoning, gravy amount, etc. if it's not awesome.
  8. Put it in a pretty casserole and level it out. Carefully spread the mashed potatoes over the top evenly, then pop it in the oven & broil it until the top has some nice color to it. If your broiler is on the fritz, don't worry your pretty little head about that step - it'll still taste just as good, as long as you make sure it's heated though. You could do this up into biggish ramekins if you'd like individual servings, or if you want to make a bunch & freeze them. Not that I've done that, but you could. ;)

Enjoy, especially with a nice stout (Murphy's or Beamish if you can find them) or a glass of red wine!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November's Theme - The Other Red Meat(s)

Welcome to November - a new month & a new theme. I hope you enjoyed last month's Pumpkins & Other Hard/Winter Squash, and remember, you're ALWAYS welcome to post a recipe whether it fits the current month's theme or not.

This month we're focusing on The Other Red Meat(s). That may very well be because Mr. Kluges and I bought a lamb through our neighbor (story here at House of 42 Doors) & now have a fair amount of lamb chops, lamb roasts, lamb ribs, ground lamb, and one remaining leg of lamb in our basement freezer. Maybe. I'm not telling.

Sure, it's pretty young, mild lamb, so I could probably sub it in for a lot of recipes that call for beef, but I'd rather hear/find/read/create some recipes that actually call for and highlight the tastiness of lamb. So far we've made leg of lamb studded with garlic and wrapped in rosemary and sage, threw a lamb roast in the crockpot along with a beef roast, and used some ground lamb mixed with ground beef for some delicious shepherd's pie.

But I got a lot of lamb left!

So, if you've got any good recipes for red meats besides beef, say lamb or goat or venison or moose or bear or squirrel or elk or buffalo or ?, please share them here or point us to them. I'd link to ones that are already posted, like usual, but we don't have any... yet!