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.

Lovely.

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. 

3 comments:

  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.

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  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

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  3. That is one tasty looking ragu!

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