Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Primitive Dinner

I went over to a friend’s house to dinner tonight.  Steve has been interested in the paleo diet in recent and we put the menu together with that in mind.   He had just went food shopping at Corrado's and Whole Foods,
had some nice looking produce and a couple of interesting ingredients, namely fresh turmeric, and macadamia nut oil.  The menu ended up being spiced and broiled lamb belly ribs, Lentils with fresh turmeric and leeks, red chard with leeks and andouille sausage, and spicy israeli salad.  I removed the sausage from its casing and chopped it finely, then browned the sausage until it was mostly brown bits.  Then I deglaze the pan with beer, but you could easily use wine.  Don't forget to scrape up the brown bits after deglazing; they are a powerhouse of flavor.  Under Steve’s bad influence i put a splash of lamb fat in both the lentils and chard, about a tbsp. each, this was completely optional and slightly overkill but very delicious.

Dinner was delicious, the ribs were fatty and tender and flavorful.  The lentils were honestly amongst the tastiest I have ever had, the turmeric adding a subtle but amazing flavor, that is difficult to describe, similar to the dried spice, but less intense with a some  vegetable flavor.  As for the chard, well I tend to love dark leafies and this was no exception, bright and flavorful, any trace of bitterness removed by the squirt of lemon juice.  The israeli salad came out nicely as well, the bright acidic flavor helping to cut through the richness of the rest of the meal.

Recipe after the break.

Broiled Lamb Breast Riblets.
Preheat the broiler on low, dust the riblets with allspice, hot paprika salt and pepper.  Broil 15 minutes on one side and 10 on the other remove and let rest covered for 5 minutes.

Lentils with Leeks and fresh Turmeric.

3 leeks halved washed and sliced
1 tbsp. fresh grated turmeric (sub with less then half a teaspoon of dried turmeric)
2 cans lentils (can be substituted with dried lentils cooked in water with a bay leaf and salt for 10-15 min and al dente)
2 Thai bird chili’s halved
2 bay leaves
Pinch cumin seeds
Low sodium chicken stock
Juice/zest of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic chopped
Macadamia nut oil
Splash of lamb fat from riblets (optional)

Brown the leeks in macadamia nut oil, once the leeks start to brown add the garlic and chilis.  Add lentils, if the liquid from the can is fresh and tastes good you can use the liquid from one can (be careful this might have a bunch of salt).  Add chicken stock, turmeric, cumin seeds, lemon zest, and lemon juice.  Simmer until the cooking liquid has mostly reduced. Optionally you can take a bit of the lamb fat from the riblets, throw a pinch of cumin seeds, and mix that in to the lentils.

Spicy Israeli Salad.

1 cup cubed cucumber
1 cup cubed tomato
1 to 4 Thai bird chilis sliced thin
Juice of 3 lemons
Zest of one lemon
Handful of flat leafed parsley chopped
Garlic powder to taste
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Macadamia nut oil

Combine all ingredients and season to taste.

Red Chard with Leeks and Mushrooms.

2 bunches red chard
3 leeks sliced
Juice of half a lemon
3 andouille sausages, chopped fine
8 crimini mushrooms roughly chopped
Macadamia nut oil
1/4 cup beer
Vegetable stock
2 cloves garlic chopped
Splash of lamb fat

In a not-nonstick pot heat up macadamia nut oil, sauté sliced leeks, add mushrooms and garlic once the garlic gets fragrant set aside.  Brown the sausages until they are mostly brown bits.  Deglaze the pot with beer and make sure to scrape up all the brown bits.  Cut the stalks off of the chard, cut the chard in to bite sized pieces and the stalks in to 1 inch pieces.  Add the stalks and cook for 3 min.  Add the chopped leaves a pinch of salt, and the chicken stock.  Cover the pot simmer until the greens are wilted.  Finish with lemon juice and optionally lamb fat.

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