Orecchiette with Lamb Ragù and Cream of Smoked Eggplant (Orecchiette al Ragù di Agnello e Crema di Melanzana Affumicata)

This delicious pasta dish is the result of serendipity. I had cooked and smoked too many eggplants to serve as antipasto with mozzarella and tomato confit, and I was in the process of experimenting with lamb ragù in the sous-vide. … Continue reading Orecchiette with Lamb Ragù and Cream of Smoked Eggplant (Orecchiette al Ragù di Agnello e Crema di Melanzana Affumicata)

Lamb Chops ‘Scottadito’

I already blogged about lamb chops ‘scottadito’ (“burn your fingers”) in March. Back then I prepared them in the oven, but thought they would be better on a griddle or on a charcoal grill. I now tried the griddle and it turns out I was right: because of the higher heat they get a nicer crust on the outside while staying succulent on the inside. Lamb chops scottadito are so simple and so good and this time around my photos turned out better so I’m giving you the recipe again 🙂 Continue reading “Lamb Chops ‘Scottadito’”

Lamb and Goat Cheese Roulade

Summer has finally arrived and that means it time for grilling, or BBQ as we call it. For me grilling is strictly a charcoal thing, as a charcoal fire is hotter and imparts more flavor than a gas grill. Most grilling done in the Netherlands is very ‘low brow’, with cheap meat from the supermarket, with the lack of flavor masked by a reddish marinade. That is clearly not my kind of grilling. I like to use proper meat and pre-cook it sous-vide so it’s always cooked through, juicy and tender on the inside, and nicely browned on the outside. Since the meat is already cooked, visual inspection (i.e. using your eyes) is all that’s needed to decide when to remove the meat from the grill. Since I discovered last year that lamb and goat cheese go well together, I decided to make a roulade of lamb shoulder with goat cheese, pancetta, thyme, and balsamic vinegar. It turned out great! Continue reading “Lamb and Goat Cheese Roulade”

Coq au Vin Sous-Vide

Coq au Vin was ‘invented’ to turn a tough old rooster into a feast. Nowadays it is hard to find such tough old roosters, and most Coq au Vin is made with chickens that have only lived to be about six weeks old. They do not really require to be simmered for a long time in red wine to become edible, and have a lot less flavor. Coq au Vin is still good anyway. If you are looking for a good Coq au Vin recipe for regular chicken, click here.

After I had discovered a type of free range chicken that is allowed to grow more slowly and thus develop more flavor, which reminded me of my grandmother’s chicken, I was curious how it would work when served as Coq au Vin. My parents were coming over for dinner and they had dropped some hints that they were curious about the “kip van tante Ali” I had found. And so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and prepare that type of chicken sous-vide, served as Coq au Vin. Continue reading “Coq au Vin Sous-Vide”

I didn’t know Shawarma could be that good

Shawarma (or shoarma as it is called in the Netherlands) is Middle-Eastern way of preparing meat with spices on a vertical spit, which is subsequently served in pita bread with salad and garlic sauce. It is a fast food staple around the world, and not something you’d expect to read about on a foodie blog such as this. Most places that sell shoarma in the Netherlands have their peak hours in the middle of the night on weekends, when people get hungry after having drunk a lot of beer. If you were the owner of a shawarma place and you were serving your fare mostly to customers who are too drunk to care, would you care about the quality of what you are serving?  I’ve had such a shawarma sandwich (broodje shoarma) on a few occasions, but never cared much for the soggy, greasy, overspiced and overgarlicked concoction with a taste that lingered way too long. Not surprisingly however, it turns out that if you make a shawarma sandwich from scratch, it is actually outstandingly delicious! And when I say from scratch, I really mean from scratch, including baking your own pita bread. Continue reading “I didn’t know Shawarma could be that good”

Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin is a prime example of classic French cooking. It is a lot of work, but worth it. “Coq” is French for rooster, and in times when people still ate roosters they were old and thus so tough that they needed to be stewed in wine to make them edible. Nowadays most chicken only gets to live about 6 weeks, so it is not needed to cook it like that anymore. But the flavor of the classic dish is so good that people keep making it anyway. Those old roosters had a lot of flavor, so this dish will benefit from using an older chicken like the one I discovered recently.

I have looked at various recipes online, most of them in French, and noted that they are all very similar. Chicken is browned, covered in red wine and stock, and then stewed until tender. It is served with sautéed mushrooms and braised pearl onions. Since Julia Child has been very important for introducing French cuisine to America, I thought it would be nice to follow her recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She made some adaptations to ingredients available in America, for instance she cooks the chicken only for a short time (because young chickens don’t need that long) and she blanches the bacon before using it (I think this is because bacon in America was — or still is? — too salty).

I believe the key success factors for a good Coq au Vin are: the quality of the wine, the quality of the chicken, the quality of the chicken stock, and cooking the onions and mushrooms separately and only adding them at the end. This will allow the mushrooms and onions to keep their own flavor. If you’ve never made braised onions before, I bet you’ll like them so much that you will make them again. Braised onions are very tender, flavorful, and sweet, and very different from raw or sautéed onions. Continue reading “Coq au Vin”

Pasta with Lamb, Vegetables, Honey & Thyme

I used to make this Italian-French fusion dish that I had invented myself on a regular basis, but hadn’t for a while as I was concentrating on more traditional dishes. I wanted to make something with lamb, remembered this dish and realised that I hadn’t blogged about it yet. So I made it again and decided to make it again more often since it is very flavorful. You can make this with any tender lamb such as lamb loin, lamb tenderloin or leg of a young lamb. Ingredients For 2-3 servings 300 grams (2/3 pound) boneless tender lamb 150 grams … Continue reading Pasta with Lamb, Vegetables, Honey & Thyme

Lamb-stuffed Eggplant

I invented this dish myself, so as far as I know it is not an authentic recipe unless I recreated it by accident. It’s definitely Mediterranean though. I love the combination of lamb, eggplant and rosemary and that’s why I created this dish. I’ve been making it for years and have made small improvements over time. It is not a lot of work but it does take a while to make, so when I want to eat this after work I will prepare the night before. Ingredients For 2 servings as a main course or 4 servings as a substantial appetizer … Continue reading Lamb-stuffed Eggplant