Guinness Lamb Stew

20160829_173927(1600x1200)This recipe was at the top of the first search page, I went pretty much with it as written.  I keep a few bottles of Guinness tucked away in the cupboard for recipes that call for a dark beer.  We had a leg of lamb, bought during the last holiday and saved to the freezer, it’s not an everyday item at groceries in our neck of the woods.  The recipe insists on a shoulder, saying that a leg won’t ever become tender enough, but that is nonsense.  Maybe she was thinking mutton rather than lamb?  I had frozen peas but decided to leave them out, opting for a chive garnish for eye appeal.

Advertisements

Leg of Lamb

20160410_132001I brought up a leg of lamb from the basement freezer and decided to go the pressure cooker route.  It was a little over 4 pounds and fit nicely in the Instapot.  I added 2 cups of broth and dusted the leg with a spice mix made up of garlic powder, onion powder, rosemary, marjoram, oregano, salt and pepper, and set the timer for 65 minutes per the table in Bob Warden’s cookbook (45 minutes plus 20 for frozen).  Needing thin slices for a gyro, I cut them from the cooked roast and browned them in oil in a skillet, dusting them with more of the spice mix.20160410_133147_HDRThat HDR software works pretty well on gyros, too!  I used fresh dill in the tzatziki this time, and a squeeze of honey, otherwise it’s the basic Alton Brown recipe (sans mint).

Food Pr0n – Gyros

DSC_1337 (1600x1060)I was tempted to use the entire 16 inch tannour loaf as a single gyro but better sense prevailed. (Note:  That photo is of a typical tannour oven of a design thousands of years old, my loaf was made by more modern methods.) This one uses 1/4 of the loaf.  Note the cunningly deployed mint stem used as a toothpick.  LOL  I think about buying some foil/paper wraps that street vendors use to hold one together.  Every time I make these things and try to get a photo I am reminded that I have yet to do so.DSC_1336 (1600x1060)The slices of lamb/beef meatloaf are about the best that you can do at home, a serious gyro vendor will have a vertical rotisserie going.  There are recipes all over the web for the meatloaf: I’ve used Alton Brown’s recipe to good effect.  His uses all lamb, I’ve gone half and half with ground beef and added a few more spices – cinnamon and allspice.  I add dill to his tzatziki sauce but mint works.

Mmm… homemade pita for gyros

DSC_0228 (1600x1060)We had gyros yesterday using store bought pita loaves and they just weren’t that good.  I’m guessing the turnover on flat breads isn’t very high and they were a tad stale.  I’ve made pitas before but it’s been a while so I looked up a recipe.  The NY Times recipe came up first and it looked to be easy.  We didn’t have any whole wheat flour, fresh milled or otherwise, so these are made with plain AP flour.  The only thing you need to watch for is getting them too brown.  The recipe warns:  “The pita should be pale, with only a few brown speckles.”  The brown parts are very dry and fragile and crack apart rather than fold.  I have a pizza stone in my oven, big enough to do two of these at a time without crowding.  A couple of them puffed up like little pillows but most of them just blistered here and there.DSC_0230 (1600x1060)The loaf is from Alton Brown’s recipe, as is the tzatziki sauce. I make a few alterations in his recipe, adding 1/3 part hamburger and several slices of bacon to the loaf recipe and this time I added fresh chopped dill to the yogurt sauce.  I haven’t used lettuce before but I thought it needed a little more green and we had no mint for a garnish.

Friday Recipe Exchange: Lots of Kabobs

Kabobs

Happy Labor Day weekend. This will be a quick exchange before I run out the door. Oh, I’m not going anywhere for the weekend, we’re still working on potty training with Bixby. LOL. His latest update is here.

I decided on shish kabobs for the recipe exchange because they are a favorite for large get-togethers. I can prepare them a day ahead and then pop them on the grill when guests arrive. They cook up quick and everyone can get theirs cooked to their idea of perfection. And if you’re lucky and everyone is staying at your house, you can form an assembly line to put them together.

Pictured above is one of my go-to skewers, easy marinade and simple to assemble for a small family dinner or a big get-together. It’s equal parts vegetable oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, and toss in some crushed garlic cloves. Mix together and marinate cubed pieces of steak (sirloin works well) for at least an hour or overnight. I remove the steak pieces from the marinade and then toss the veggies with the marinade quickly before alternating meat, vegetables and pineapple chunks on skewers. The ones above really need some cherry tomatoes, too. Grill over high heat, turning frequently until steak is cooked to desired style.

Some other fun food on a stick:

Fajita Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs can be found here.

Grilled Chicken and Papaya Skewers are here.

Lamb Kabobs recipe is here.

And a variety of other Marinades can be found here, to create any number of skewers to grill.

What’s on your plate for the weekend? Grilling anything tasty?

For tonight’s featured recipe, I thought it would be fun to make sure dessert was included in the mix.

Spicy Fruit Kabobs

You can substitute or add any fresh fruit you’d like in this recipe. 

  • 1 cantaloupe or honeydew melon, seeded
  • 2 pears, cored
  • 2 apples, cored
  • 2 bananas, peeled & quartered
  • 8 wooden skewers, soaked in water
  • ½ cup warmed honey
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ¼ cup limejuice
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded & chopped
  • 1 to 2 tsp chili paste

13×9 glass baking dish, blender

Cut fruit into large chunks, alternate fruit on skewers, ending with banana chunks to hold fruit in place. Place in baking dish. Blend together honey, water, lime, jalapeno & chili paste until smooth. Pour over fruit. Let set during dinner (approximately 30 minutes at room temperature. Grill over low coals 5-7 minutes, basting with marinade. Serve immediately.

Banana Split Kabobs

(serves 4)

  • 12 fresh large strawberries, hulled
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 bananas, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 12 fresh pineapple chunks
  • pound cake, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • chocolate syrup
  • shredded, unsweetened coconut

4 long bamboo skewers, 4 dessert plates

Roll strawberries in sugar, coating lightly. Alternate fruit and cake on the skewers. Place on plates and drizzle with chocolate syrup and garnish with coconut. Serve with additional syrup for dipping if desired.

That’s it for this week. Have a safe and fun holiday weekend.  – TaMara

========================

 

Mmm… gyros

DSC_8538 (1600x1060)Back by popular demand! (Mrs J wanted some.)  These are made with 2 lbs of ground lamb, 1 lb ground beef, 5 slices bacon, an onion, a couple tablespoons of garlic, some ground thyme, rosemary, oregano, black pepper, and salt.  Whirl the onion in your processor and squeeze out the water, then run everything in the processor until it’s just a paste.  I divided the result into two loaf pans and cooked them in a water bath until they reached 165 degrees.  Drain the fat and weight the cooked loaves with foil wrapped bricks as they cool on the counter.  Chill and slice thin, then broil until the edges brown.  The tzatziki is the usual: Greek yogurt with minced cucumber – squeeze out the water, garlic, oil, and a splash of red wine vinegar.  I went looking for mint but had to settle for some fresh oregano to chop into the sauce.  Worked fine.

Friday Recipe Exchange: Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Risotto

DSC_8156 (1600x1060)

I’m neck deep in painting a porch glider before the weekend rains come, so this will be quick tonight. When JeffreyW posted the photo above, I knew I wanted to try the recipe, so it became the featured recipe tonight.

He also posted this delicious recipe this week: Moroccan Spicy Lamb Soup, pictures and recipe here.

And earlier this week, I made one of my favorite pasta dishes, Pasticcio, full dinner menu, recipes and shopping list here.

It’s meager offerings, so spice things up and share some of your favorite recipes in the comments. You know what I’m doing this weekend, what’s on your to-do list? And if I missed a recipe step in my haste, let me know in the comments and I’ll fix it.

For tonight’s featured recipe:

From JeffreyW:

I’m on a chicken recipe spree!  At least until I run out of chicken breasts, anyway.  This recipe from Emeril Lagasse looked pretty good, with the added bonus of  the side dish calling for the truffle oil that rounded out a recent online order I placed a while back and was looking for a place to use.

I didn’t have the proper arborio rice so I used the  jasmine variety that I do keep on hand and has worked for me before.  Instead of Parmesan I used fresh grated pecorino.  The mushrooms were the usual supermarket white buttons, nothing fancy.  I think I can take or leave the truffle oil, it not adding any particular enjoyment for me but I’ll wait a while and try it elsewhere before I make up my mind.

The goat cheese filling worked very well, every time I made a cut a little more oozed out and was quickly mopped up.  I used a lot more garlic than the recipe wanted.

Adapted from Emeril:

Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken

  • 4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 3 ounces goat cheese
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced chives
  • 1 teaspoon minced parsley leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon  cajun spice mix or Emeril’s Essence
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1/4 cup clarified butter or vegetable oil
  • Mushroom Risotto, recipe follows, if desired
  • Julienned carrots, accompaniment, recipe follows
  • Chopped fresh parsley, garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

With a chicken breast flat on a cutting board, using a sharp knife, about 1/3 of the way down the thick side, cut a deep pocket horizontally into the center of the meat about 3/4 of the way down, being careful not to cut through to the other side. (The pocket will be about 2 1/2 inches long and 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep.) Repeat with the remaining breasts. Wash hands well.

In a small bowl, mash together the goat cheese, butter, chives, parsley, thyme, lemon juice and garlic. Season with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Divide into 4 equal pieces and form plugs to fit inside the chicken breasts. Insert 1 into each breast and press the edges of chicken meat to seal. Lightly season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

In a large shallow bowl, combine the flour and the Essence. In another bowl, beat the egg with the water.

One at a time, lightly dust the chicken on both sides with the flour, then dip in the egg, shaking to remove any excess. Place again in the flour and turn to completely coat, shaking to remove any excess. Set aside.

In a large, oven-proof skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sear until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Place the pan in the oven and bake until the chicken is cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven. Arrange the risotto in the center of 4 plates and place the chicken to the side. Arrange the carrots along the bottom of the plates, and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.

Mushroom Risotto

  • 5 to 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 12 ounces assorted mushrooms washed, thinly sliced,
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup fresh grated pecorino.
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons truffle oil, optional
  • 4 ounces prosciutto or Serrano ham, thinly sliced

In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to very low to keep hot.

In a large heavy saucepan, heat the oil and melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic, and cook, stirring until fragrant and soft, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until wilted and their liquid is evaporated, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until the grains are opaque, about 1 minute. Stir in the thyme. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until nearly all evaporated. Add 3/4 cup of the stock, the salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until the stock is nearly all evaporated. Continue adding more stock 1/2 cup at a time as the previous addition is nearly absorbed, until the rice is tender and the risotto is creamy, 18 to 20 minutes. Stir in cream, 1/2 cup of the cheese, and the parsley and mix well.

Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste. If desired, stir in truffle oil to taste.

Serve immediately, topping each portion with a sprinkling of the remaining cheese and ham.

Moroccan Spicy Lamb Soup

DSC_8191 (1600x1060)We roasted a boneless leg of lamb for Easter dinner and had a lot leftover.  I remembered looking at recipes for lamb and thought they sounded pretty good so I did a search and ran across this recipe.  I used it as an ingredient guide for the proper amounts of the spices and kept with the spirit of the recipe although I made some additions and subtractions.  I did have some canned chickpeas, but no lentils of any sort so I left them out, as I did with the cilantro.

I used a can of San Marino tomatoes with their juices, roughly chopped, and added some garlic, orange and lemon zest, and a half teaspoon of Madras curry powder that has been lonely in the cupboard.  I dithered a bit on the pasta, thinking ditalini, but went with the pearl couscous.  I’m not a huge fan of the tri-color pastas but that’s all I had in the larger sized couscous.  It was very good.  We don’t often get out of the familiar spice “comfort zone” but I think we will try something like this again.