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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Foolproof Recipes

I love recipes that seem entirely impossible to screw up. The lamb hash I made last night is one of those--I originally found it in Craig Claiborne's New York Times Cookbook, but I've made it several times, several different ways, and it always turns out yummy.

Here's the original post I wrote about it, which appeared several months ago on the TKA blog:

Lamb Hash (Adapted from THE NEW YORK TIMES COOKBOOK by Craig Claiborne)

Ingredients:

1 tbsp butter
1 large onion, minced
2 tbsp chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
2 slices bacon, cooked till crisp, then cooled and chopped
1 1/2 lbs ground lamb
1 cup canned beef broth
1/2 cup canned tomato sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream, approximately
2 tbsp finely grated sharp cheese, like Parmesan or Gruyere

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Heat a large, heavy skillet (one that has a lid and is safe for both stovetop and oven) over medium high heat until the pan is almost smoking, then add the ground lamb. Stir the lamb with a wooden spoon to break it up, add salt and pepper to taste, then cook until all pink is gone. You'll get better color and caramelization if you don't stir the lamb too much, and if your skillet is large enough to give the meat plenty of room to sear rather than steam.

Remove the lamb from the pan and drain on paper towels. Allow to cool.

Wipe out the skillet and return to stovetop. Add the butter and melt over medium heat until the foam has subsided. Then add the minced onion, garlic, and chopped bacon. Stir it around to coat everything in the melted butter, then add the lamb, beef broth, and tomato sauce. Salt and pepper the whole thing, cover the skillet, and bake for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning.
*The recipe can be completed up to 1 day ahead of time up to this point, then the hash can be brought to room temperature and then refrigerated. To reheat, bring the hash back up to room temperature and preheat the broiler before continuing.*

Lightly butter 6-8 ramekins (depending on their size) and portion the cooked hash into them. Cover each portion with a tablespoon of cream and sprinkle with the grated cheese. Brown under a preheated broiler.
Served with a simple green salad and a good vinaigrette, this hash makes a lovely lunch or light supper. And the individual portions make it attractive enough to serve to guests. We drank an Oregon Pinot Noir with it, which was delicious.

****
Last night, I had leftover pan-fried lamb chops, so I diced that up instead of dealing with the ground lamb. Also, I had no stock or meat gravy or anything like that to deglaze the pan after sauteeing the onions and bacon, so I used red wine. The results were slightly purple, very fragrant, and utterly scrumptious! I have a friend who has made this several times for her family; it's a huge hit with her kids, no matter what she does with it. I think she's added mushrooms, stuff like that. (We're having the leftovers this morning for breakfast, heated up with a poached egg on top! Yummmm...)

So let your imagination run wild! If you try this, and vary it in some fun way, I'd love to hear about it.

7 comments:

Definitely trying this ASAP! Quick question: for the tomato sauce, what's the measurement? I'm guessing 1/2 cup...

I'd like that with two poached eggs, thanks.

I like this Kristen lady.

Shoot, I changed it on the one I sent to a friend, but not here! Yes, half a cup of tomato sauce.

And yes, Meg and Kristen, you two will never be allowed to meet. You would each love each other so much more than you love me, and I couldn't take that.

Oooh, BTW, my foolproof recipe is Ina Garten's gougere recipe from Barefoot in Paris. It's super-easy (as you saw in Sonoma), and you can really use any kind of hard, sharp cheese (though the combo of Gruyere and Parmesan is delish). I bet cheddar would be really good...

Here's a paraphrase:
-Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
-Heat over medium heat 1 cup of milk, 1 stick of unsalted butter, 1 tsp kosher salt, 1/8 tsp black pepper, and a shake of cayenne pepper until just before the milk begins to boil. When the milk is just about to boil, dump in 1 cup of flour and beat it with a wooden spoon until everything comes together. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring all the time.
-Dump the flour ball into your food processor. Pulse in all at once 4 extra-large eggs (or 5 large), 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan; pulse until incorporated into a smooth, thick dough.
-Pipe or spoon dots onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. The dots of dough should be 1.25 inches wide and .75 inch tall. Brush the tops of the gougeres with a wash of 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water. Sprinkle a little extra grated Gruyere on top. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown.

Oooh... I think I'm the "friend" who made it for her kids. Yes, we've sometimes added peas or potatoes and changed the tomato sauce into diced tomatoes with juice. Basically I use what I have to add some veggies to it. So yummy - Love this recipe!!

This looks really good! I just got some organic pepper and Himalayan sea salt from Sustainable Sourcing https://secure.sustainablesourcing.com and I think I'll try them both out in this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

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