"I have the simplest tastes. I am simply satisfied with the best." - Oscar Wilde

"I came, I saw, I ate." - Au Gourmand

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Braised Lamb Shank in Red Wine with Eggplant Puree; Farrotto with Fresh English Peas and Brazil Nuts

It is at times like this, my megalomania leaps to the surface: What a great cook I am!

*Ingredients are measured for two individuals with overcapacity in their stomachs.
**This is not a recipe: This is my culinary creation, like, let's say, Sargent's "Madam X." You can imitate it, but whether you get art or trash is up to you.

Braised Lamb Shank in Red Wine with Eggplant Puree


2 lamb shanks (trim excess fat off - don't need it for taste or waistline)
1 onion (sliced)
1 clove of garlic (minced, sliced, crushed - I cannot care less)
2 sprig of thyme
2-3 laurel leaves
15 pink pepper corn (no, it does not have to be 15...)
A pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and black pepper (go light on pepper: People just use black pepper without thinking - it hides bad cooking)
Oh, red wine (half a cup or a cup or what's left in the bottle in the fridge)


1) Sautee the onions and garlic in olive oil in a dutch oven (if never heard of such a thing, whatever oven-proof pot, and if still no, then regular pot and just stew it, OK?) until tender, then add pink pepper corn, red pepper flakes and bay leaves. Add a bit of salt and black pepper. How much? A bit, I said.

2) When the aroma starts to make your stomach growl, add the lamb shanks and sear them well. Season with "some" salt. How much salt? I can't tell you that - it is between your lamb shanks and you.

3) Add the red wine and bring it to a boil. Add thyme. Here is your last chance to add salt and whatever else that is lacking. (*Tip: The final product will incorporate all the complex flavors, so try to season with discretion and a healthy dose of imagination.)

4) Close the lid and leave it alone in the oven at 400 degrees for 1 hour. Then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees for another hour. If the smell of the braised lamb has not awaken your hunger yet or if you are just panicking about the side dishes, leave it at 300 degrees in the oven until you are ready (but make sure there is enough liquid in there or it will burn).

Eggplant Puree

Take a couple of large eggplants (not the Asian ones), grill them. You can slice and grill in the oven or wrap them in foil and grill on stove top. When tender and bit charred, take them out or off and let them cool.

Take some garlic cloves, olive oil, salt, some tahini (sesame butter).

Put everything into a blender, done.

*How much of each ingredient, you know, you have to find your balance.

Farrotto with Fresh English Peas and Brazil Nuts


1 cup of farro (I added some wild rice, flax, chia seeds, quinoa flakes, etc.)
1lb of fresh English peas
Brazil nuts (or walnuts or pine nuts or almonds) - as much as you like, chopped
Stock (chicken)
Half of a small onions (diced)
Parsley (chopped)


1) Sautee the onions in olive oil until transparent.

2) Add farro (or just rice) and keep cooking (you can still stir) for about 5 min or when your instinct tells you to stop.

3) Add stock and water (how much of each? Depending on how much stock you like). Now, unlike risotto, you can stir without creating glue, instead of food. It will take about 15 - 20 minutes to cook the farro. TASTE, TASTE, and TASTE. Add salt accordingly.

4) When the farro is almost ready, add English peas.

5) When the peas are done, taste again. When ready, add the nuts.

6) Garnish with parsley (I know I just mixed it in, but it was supposed to be garnished).

**The green things are sauteed broccolini. You do not need a recipe for that, right?

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