Roast Lamb with Artichokes and Lemons from bon appetit

Eze Village

While some of my most memorable meals have featured lamb – carre d’agneau at the Chàteau de La Chèvre d’Or in Eze Village springs to mind – I am not a huge fan of lamb.  Furthermore, I am rather picky on how the lamb is cooked:  I like the rack of lamb cooked medium rare and a lamb shoulder or a leg of lamb cooked well done.   Now Sheila considers me crazy and has tried to reform my eating habits for 40 years or so, but I have so few other vices that I believe she can cut me a little slack when it comes to lamb.

In any event, we had some guests over this weekend and Sheila decided to test her hand at a delightful new recipe from the latest bon appétit for roast lamb with artichokes.  While the artichokes are great, the lemons provide the perfect counter-balance to the rich flavor of the lamb.  We didn’t think the anchovy fillets oil added anything to the recipe and suggest doubling the amount of mint.  In any event, this recipe is delicious for those craving a different taste experience with lamb.  I reproduce the recipe from bon appétit:

 Roast Lamb with Artichokes and Lemons

INGREDIENTS

LAMB AND ARTICHOKES
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 5–7-lb. bone-in lamb shoulder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 14-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 lemons, halved crosswise
  • 6 baby artichokes
ANCHOVY-HERB OIL AND ASSEMBLY
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 4 anchovy fillets, packed in oil, drained  (Gourmay recommends skipping these little beasties)
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves (Gourmay recommends doubling this)
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt

PREPARATION

View Step-by-Step Directions
ANCHOVY-HERB OIL AND ASSEMBLY
  • Preheat oven to 325°. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Generously season lamb on all sides with salt and pepper and cook, turning often, until well browned, 12–15 minutes. Transfer lamb and oil to a roasting pan.
  • Carefully add wine to skillet, scraping up browned bits. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by one-third, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, crushing with your hands as you go, garlic, red pepper flakes, and 2 cups water and pour into roasting pan. Squeeze lemons over lamb; add to pan. Roast 3 hours.
  • Meanwhile, remove tough dark outer leaves from artichokes. Using a serrated knife, trim 1” from top. Trim stems and remove tough outer layer with a vegetable peeler. Halve artichokes lengthwise. Toss to coat with pan juices and tuck under and around lamb. Roast, turning artichokes occasionally, until artichokes are tender and meat is falling off the bone, 1½–2 hours. (Remove artichokes if they become too soft before meat is done.)
ANCHOVY-HERB OIL AND ASSEMBLY
  • Pulse oil, anchovies, garlic, parsley, mint, and red pepper flakes in a food processor until smooth; season with salt.
  • When done, place lamb in a large bowl, then transfer artichokes, lemons, and garlic with a slotted spoon to bowl. Pour anchovy-herb oil over; tent with foil. Transfer pan juices to a glass measuring cup. Let sit a few minutes, then spoon off fat from surface. Serve lamb with artichoke mixture and pan juices.

Enjoy!

Editor’s Note:  I see that Chèvre d’Or has 2 stars in the Michelin Guide.   I know they had at least one star when we spent a delightful lunch there in the early ’80s, but this restaurant/hotel is the “real deal.”   It should be on everyone’s “bucket list.”  I recommend cuisses de grenouille as a starter.

More Ramps: Ramps with Poached Eggs

bon appetit poached eggsThey say that getting to like ramps is an acquired taste, but for me it was love at first smell. Short of a nice cup of coffee, there is nothing better than the smell or ramps gently sautéing in butter in the kitchen. This delightful recipe for Ramps and Poached Eggs served over toast comes from a recent Bon Appétit.   The recipe is quoted in its entirety below, but just follow the hyperlinks and you can see how they do it on an embedded video:

Poached Eggs on Toast with Ramps

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound ramps
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 slices ½”-thick country-style bread
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 oz. fresh goat cheese, room temperature
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)

Preparation

  1. Cut dark-green leaves from ramps and slice crosswise 1” thick; slice bulbs and red stems crosswise ¼” thick.
  2. Heat butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add bulbs and stems, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until beginning to soften, 5–8 minutes. Add tops and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 3 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, bring 2” water to a boil in a large saucepan; reduce heat so water is at a gentle simmer and add vinegar. Crack an egg into a small bowl, then gently slide egg into water. Repeat with remaining eggs, waiting until whites of eggs in water are opaque before adding the next egg (about 30 seconds apart). Poach until whites are set but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggs to paper towels as they are done.
  4. Toast bread, brush with 2 Tbsp. oil, and season with kosher salt. Spread toasts with goat cheese and top with ramps and eggs. Drizzle with more oil and season with sea salt and pepper.

Editor’s Note:  If you have issues with goat cheese, you can substitute it with something more to your liking, however, the goat cheese is a nice counter-balance to the ramps.  Also, we generally use Ezekiel bread which is lower in carbs and can generally be found in the frozen goods section at most Whole Foods.

Chicken & Dumplings from Bon Appétit

There is one thing that Germans and Italians can agree on:  Chicken and dumplings make for a most satisfying meal.   (Note:  Actually, the only “Italians” who enjoy dumplings are from the remnants of the Habsburg Empire — South Tyrol, Trieste, Trentino, and Istria – that were ceded to Italy after World War I.  In fact, Knödel soup is still served in many homes in the region).

I have again become a huge fan of chicken now that it is possible to find farm-raised organic chickens rather than the Tyson variety which has been genetically modified and produced in factory-farms for the likes of McDonalds and KFC.   Let’s face it, chickens will eat most anything and if you put them in a decent environment where they are free to roam (but not too far!), you will have a great tasting bird and it will cut down on the tick and spider population.

 

Chicken & Dumplings from Bon Appetit

Found below is a delightful recipe from Bon Appétit for Chicken and dumplings with mushrooms.    What made this recipe stand out from previous “stew” recipes is the overabundance of lovely mushrooms which take the place of the traditional carrots, celery and potatoes.  This is a meal fit for a king.  Enjoy!

Chicken & Dumplings with Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 6 oz. slab bacon (Benton’s bacon please), cut into ¼” pieces
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 chicken legs (drumsticks with thighs; about 2 lb.)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ pound mixed mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic crushed
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth

Dumplings and Assembly

  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup whole milk

Preparation

  • Crisp bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat; transfer to a paper towel–lined plate.
  • Place flour in a shallow bowl. Season chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. Working in batches, cook chicken, skin side down, in same pot over medium heat until deep golden brown and crisp (do not turn), 12–15 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  • Working in 2 batches, cook mushrooms in same pot, seasoning with salt and pepper and stirring occasionally, until brown, 5–8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add onion and garlic to pot; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent, 5–8 minutes.
  • Add wine to pot; simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add chicken, bacon, thyme, bay leaves, and broth; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and gently simmer, partially covered, skimming occasionally, until chicken is falling off the bone, 2–2½ hours. Add mushrooms and simmer until flavors meld, 10–15 minutes; season with salt and pepper.

Dumplings and Assembly

  • Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Whisk flour, baking powder, nutmeg, pepper, and ¾ tsp. salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in eggs and milk (batter will be slightly lumpy). Reduce heat until water is at a strong simmer. Drop teaspoonfuls of batter into water; cook until dumpling are cooked through and doubled in size, about 5 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon; add to stew just before serving.
  • DO AHEAD: Stew (without dumplings) can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill.

Clearly, this is a hearty meal and best served during the late Fall or Winter when the weather is cool.  It also makes for great leftovers, although the dumplings are not nearly as light and flavorful the next day.