Moroccan-style Oven-braised Lamb Shank

Ingredients

3 tbsp cumin seeds
3 tbsp coriander seeds
4 lamb shanks, about 12 to 14 oz each, trimmed
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, chopped
1 large Spanish onion, grated
1 large pinch saffron
1 cup white wine
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp ground ginger
1-1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 bay leaves
1 cup whole dried apricots
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
1 tbsp butter
sesame seeds, for garnish

Method

  1. Toast the cumin seeds in a skillet for 4 minutes, stirring a few times. Grind the cumin seeds and the coriander seeds coarsely with a mortar and pestle or in a coffee grinder you use exclusively for spices. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  3. Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper. Put the olive oil in a large ovenproof pan over medium-high heat. Brown the lamb on all sides, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the lamb, pour off the fat and add the carrots and celery. Cook over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes, or until just beginning to soften.
  5. Add the fresh ginger, onions and saffron and cook until the onion is translucent and soft, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the wine, ground cumin, ground coriander, cinnamon stick, ground ginger, ground cloves, bay leaves and whole dried apricots. Cook 5 minutes.
  7. Place shanks back in the pan and add the stock. Cover the pan and cook in 350° F oven for about 1-1/2 hours or until meat is tender and falling off the bone.
  8. Remove the lamb shanks and cover with foil. Set aside and keep warm.
  9. Skim the fat off and strain liquid into a saucepan. Discard solids. Reduce the braising liquid to a saucy consistency by slowly simmering. Time will vary widely; it may take as long as 15 to 20 minutes.
  10. Adjust the seasoning by adding salt and pepper. Add dried chopped apricots and butter.
  11. Place the lamb on a serving platter, pour the sauce over it. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve the lamb shanks with couscous and a green vegetable like asparagus or spinach on the side.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Met Home magazine

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Soup with Apple and Pumpkin Puree

Ingredients

2 slices bacon, diced
2 tbsp. butter
4 large tart apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 leek, white part only, cleaned and chopped
1 stalk celery, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
a few gratings of nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup apple cider
2 tbsp brandy, apple brandy or Calvados
8 cups vegetable stock (water or chicken stock may be substituted)
herb sachet with 1 tbsp black peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 4 cloves and small bunch parsley
1 smoked ham hock (for extra flavor)
2 cups canned pumpkin puree
salt and freshly ground pepper

Croutons

6 slices white bread, crusts removed
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp sugar
chopped parsley

Method

  1. In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, render the bacon over medium heat.
  2. Add butter, apples and chopped vegetables and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are lightly cooked, 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, and stir for a minute or two.
  4. Add wine, cider and brandy and reduce until almost dry.
  5. Pour in stock, add herb sachet (tie ingredients in cheesecloth) and ham hock, and stir in pumpkin puree. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer gently, with lid ajar, for about 1 hour, until all vegetables are soft.
  6. Remove sachet and ham hock. Take meat off the bone of ham hock, and reserve.
  7. Put soup through a food mill or process with a hand blender. Season with salt and pepper and adjust the consistency, if necessary, with additional stock.
  8. Chop reserved ham and add to soup. Let cool, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  9. To prepare croutons, preheat the oven to 350ºF Stack bread and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
  10. Melt butter in a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, and toss croutons with the butter, cinnamon and sugar. Toast in oven, about 20 minutes, shaking pan once or twice so croutons brown evenly.
  11. To serve, reheat soup, season with salt and pepper. Garnish with cinnamon croutons and chopped parsley.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Source: Met Home magazine

Rum Balls

Ingredients

3/4 cup crumbs of plain genoise (see recipe below)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup ground almonds
2 teaspoons dark rum
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1-1/2 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons whipping cream
chocolate sprinkles to decorate

Icing

1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter, chopped
1 oz semisweet chocolate, grated
2 teaspoons dark rum
warm water

Method

  1. In a medium bowl, combine cake crumbs, sugar, almonds, rum and lemon juice.
  2. Melt chocolate in a bowl or top of a double boiler set over a pan of simmering water.
  3. Add to rum mixture with sufficient cream for mixture to hold together when pressed between fingers.
  4. Form teaspoonfuls of mixture into 18 small balls. Refrigerate on a baking sheet 4 hours or until firm.
  5. To make icing, combine and warm sugar, butter, chocolate and rum in a small saucepan. When chocolate and butter softens, add a tablespoon of water.
  6. Warm again and add sufficient water to liquify.
  7. To coat rum balls, insert a poultry skewer in center of a rum ball. Tilt pan of icing and dip each ball. Let excess drip.
  8. To decorate, roll in chocolate sprinkles to coat completely. Refrigerate in a covered container with waxed paper between layers up to 10 days.

Makes 18 rum balls.


Plain Genoise

Ingredients
3 eggs
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Grease and flour bottom and sides of a 14″ x 10″ baking pan. Shake out excess flour.
  2. Combine eggs and sugar in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Place bowl in a pan of hot water. Beat until mixture is very thick and just warm. Mixture should form a ribbon when beaters are lifted.
  4. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Continue beating until mixture is almost cool.
  5. Fold flour into egg and sugar mixture. Mix in butter.
  6. Pour batter into prepared greased pan; level top. Bake in a preheated oven 20-25 minutes or until set on top.
  7. Cool pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Run a knife carefully around the edge. Remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Use within 36 hours or wrap and freeze up to 6 weeks.

Source: Chocolates & Petits Fours

Grilled Oysters with Garlic and Tarragon

Ingredients

2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
1 large slice coarse country bread, crusts removed and bread broken into small pieces
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 celery stalk, minced
salt and freshly ground pepper
2-3 cups coarse salt
16 small oysters, such as Kumamotos, shucked and on the half shell

Method

  1. Using a mini food processor, with the motor running, drop the garlic cloves through the feed tube. When they are finely minced, add the tarragon and process until minced and combined with the garlic.
  2. Add about two-thirds of the bread and process until crumbly. Add the butter, minced celery, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and process until well combined. (If not using a processor, mince the garlic cloves and tarragon and place in a bowl. Crumble the bread into fine crumbs and add two-thirds to the bowl along with the butter, minced celery, salt, and pepper. Mix with a fork until well combined.)
  3. Preheat the broiler (grill). Pour the coarse salt into a large, shallow flameproof baking dish, making an even layer about 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick to serve as a bed for the oysters.
  4. Smear about 1-1/2 teaspoons of the tarragon mixture on top of each oyster. Then, rubbing the reserved bread between your fingers, top each oyster with a dusting of bread crumbs. Nestle the oyster shells in the salt, keeping them as level as possible.
  5. Place the baking dish under the broiler about 4 inches (10 cm) from the heat source and broil (grill) until the topping is bubbling at the edges and beginning to brown, 4-5 minutes. Serve at once.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Hors D’oeuvre

Crepes with Sun-dried Tomato, Basil and Cheese

Ingredients

3 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened unsalted butter, for cooking

Filling

1/4 cup oil-marinated sun-dried tomatoes, drained
1-1/2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons wheat germ
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
sea salt and black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1-1/2 cups ricotta cheese

Method

  1. To make the crepe batter, mix together eggs, milk, water, flour, salt, and 3 tablespoons butter in a blender. Blend until smooth. Cover and refrigerate batter for about an hour while you prepare the filling.
  2. To prepare the filling, combine sun-dried tomatoes, basil leaves, cheese, pine nuts, wheat germ, and garlic in a food processor. Hit pulse until blended well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stream in olive oil while the food processor is on low until fully blended together.
  3. Blend pesto mixture with ricotta cheese and add more sun-dried tomatoes if you want. Set aside.
  4. To cook the crepes, grease a crepe pan or skillet with butter and set over medium heat. When the pan is hot, pour in enough batter to cover the surface in a thin layer. When the crepe edges start to brown and the middle does not stick when you try to lift it up, use a spatula to gently lift the edges and flip.
  5. When the second side is lightly browned, remove crepe from pan and place on a warm plate. Keep covered until all the crepes are made.
  6. Preheat oven to 300ºF.
  7. Fill each crepe with about 3 tablespoons of the filling mixture, roll up, and place close together in a baking pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until warmed through. Serve immediately.

Makes 5 servings.

Source: The Organic Family Cookbook