Who's That Girl

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WHO'S THAT GIRL: A higher education obsessed foodie who is documenting her life in the kitchen. I love to cook delicious, gourmet-style foods for those I love and always welcome a challenge in the kitchen. With that challenge comes an impromptu nature. I tend to avoid following recipes to the exact, so you are not likely to find very many posted here. Being that I am a Libra and am learning to be free in the kitchen, the story always goes, "A pinch of this and a smattering of that!" Thank you for visiting -- and happy reading!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Lamb Ragù Makes its Debut

During our Indianapolis visit, Nancy and I had one of the most luscious dishes in recent memory. The chef called it lamb ragù served with Parmesan shavings and polenta.

I had never had this before, though it reminded me of doro wat, without the spice. The flavor was intense, and the way the chef prepared it resulted in a subtle burst of sage.


We fell instantly in love with this dish. I promised to try and make this from my memory of smell, taste and sight, but I couldn't remember it all, so I relied on Winter Recipe: Rich and Meaty Lamb Ragù for guidance.

This amounted to our Thanksgiving dinner. Yep -- unconventional, I know.

The kitchen was nearly stocked for this. I already had thyme, sage, rosemary, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, tomatoes, cumin, stock, mushrooms, tomato paste and red wine for the mix. I purchased lamb loin chops for this recipe.

I began with the vegetables and sauteed them until they were softened. I then added the tomato paste and the red wine, letting this simmer while I browned the lamb.

Sounds easy enough.

But, silly me. I began on the vegetables before measuring out anything or chopping up the meat. Cooking the vegetables took less than 10 minutes, so I had to do a rush job to get everything else ready. What was I thinking? I wasn't. What a fiasco. It was madness trying to get everything else prepped in time. Too bad I could not have grown four extra arms.

With the vegetables ready and the lamb browned, I added the lamb to the dutch oven, adding the stock and the garlic at the end. I did not crush the garlic this time. Instead, I merely removed the skin and tossed them into the pot. I also added some bay leaves and parsley last minute. I may have added a couple other spices as well.

I let this boil shortly, then simmered it for about two hours.

Meanwhile, I prepared polenta.

I have never prepared polenta before, but after having failed to find it at two grocery stores, I opted to make it from scratch. It is, literally, water, salt and cornmeal. I didn't realize it was that simple.

Of course I now know polenta is quite versitle and works well in both sweet and savory dishes. I want to try cornbread from scratch or an attempt at making a cobbler with this mush.

I boiled the cornmeal as directed, then let it cool before chilling it in the fridge for about a half hour. Then I baked it for about 20 minutes. This created an interesting firm texture on top, but a nice semi-soft feel inside. Slightly fluffy, but not too soft that it melted in your mouth. It retained it consistency but did not taste at all grainy as I had expected. 

When the liquid had reduced completely in the dutch oven, I cut out circular pieces of the polenta, sprinkled it with Parmesan, then added the lamb ragù. I also made a side of corn on the cob and broccoli and, during the serving, finished off the ragù with a small sampling of cilantro.

The only disappointments were that you couldn't taste the sage at all and that the meat, while soft, was not as soft as I would have liked. In all, the dish wasn't as flavorful as the chef's, but it is certainly worth the time and certainly worth making again in my kitchen. 


  1. It sounds really simple to make, but in case you don't want to, I bought some pre-cooked polenta at Cost Plus World Market. I'm making a veggie polenta lasagna tomorrow with it.

  2. Hello, I just came across your blog and have enjoyed reading quite a few of your posts and look forward to following. I also wanted to know if you might be interested in one day cooking with my little chefs. You can check them out at www.kids-cancook.org and let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. ` Charmaine Thomas

  3. That is one tasty looking ragu!


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