Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter Dinner, CO Style : Lamb with Mint Demiglace, Mushroom Risotto, Roasted Asparagus

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This year's Easter dinner...was exactly the same as last year's Easter dinner. Luckily for you, readers, I didn't have this blog last I get to tell you all about it now :). Besides, when your mother specifically requests her favorite meal...well, how can you say no to your Mom ?

The centerpiece of this meal is Lamb For Lovers - rack of lamb with the most amazing demiglace that, properly made, takes three days to make and is worth every single second. Day 1 is all in the crockpot, and Day 2 is mostly just reducing on the stove, so it's not really hands on for three'll hardly know you're cooking, except the house smells absolutely amazing. The basic recipe can be found here :

Lamb for Lovers

The only change we make to the demiglace is to use lamb shanks instead of the trimmings, because the racks we get tend to be pretty well trimmed. This year we used a bone and trimmings from the leg of lamb we used in the tagine , which worked perfectly. The demiglace recipe made plenty for the five racks of lamb we cooked for dinner. Mark also mixes mustard powder and paprika in with the panko crumbs when he sears the lamb.

racks ready for the oven

soooo good !
Roasted Asparagus is really super simple - fresh asparagus tossed with olive oil, kosher or sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper, roasted on a rimmed baking sheet in a 400 oven for 10 minutes or so, until done to your liking.

The Mushroom that is just the perfect third corner in this orgasmic triangle. Risotto is really a labor of love...anyone that tells you that you don't really need to stir it the whole time that it cooks just really doesn't get it. Stirring releases the starch from the surface of the rice grains, which - when slowly incorporated into the stock that you add bit by bit - creates the creamiest, most luxurious version of rice you've ever had - risotto does not typically contain cream, which surprises some first timers. Using the correct rice (one with the right shape and amount of starch) is also critical to a good risotto. Arborio makes a fine, fine risotto...but I prefer Carnaroli. It's a bit harder to find (really not an issue to the girl who goes to five stores looking for rabbit) , but so worth has a higher starch content and better consistency than even the best Arborio. Definite Culinary Orgasm.

Mushroom Risotto

• 8 cups chicken broth (plus 1 more cup)
• 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
• 2 -4 shallots, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, minced, divided
• 1 pound fresh mushrooms (portobello, crimini, white button, etc) sliced
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
• 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
• 2 – 4 tablespoons butter
• Salt and pepper
• 1 tablespoon truffle oil
• 2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms, wiped of grit
• 2 cups carnaroli or arborio rice
• 1/2 cup dry white wine
• 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
• Garnish with fresh Italian parsley or chives or scallions…
Heat the chicken broth in a medium saucepan and keep warm over low heat.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add half the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the fresh mushrooms, herbs and butter. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes until lightly browned, season with salt and pepper. Drizzle in truffle oil then add the dried porcini mushrooms which were reconstituted in 1 cup of warm chicken broth. Season again with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Sauté 1 minute then remove from heat and set aside.
Coat a saucepan with remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Sauté the remaining shallots and garlic. Add the rice and stir quickly until it is well-coated and opaque, 1 minute. This step cooks the starchy coating and prevents the grains from sticking. Stir in wine and cook until it is nearly all evaporated.
Now, with a ladle, add 1 cup of the warm broth and cook, stirring, until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Add the remaining broth, 1 cup at a time. Continue to cook and stir, allowing the rice to absorb each addition of broth before adding more. The risotto should be slightly firm and creamy, not mushy. Transfer the mushrooms to the rice mixture. Stir in Parmesan cheese, cook briefly until melted. Top with a drizzle of truffle oil and your chosen garnish before serving.
stay tuned for the dessert posting !!

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