"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Friday, May 30, 2008

Sultan's Delight (or, Braised Lamb over Silky Egglplant Puree)

Lamb is not my go-to meat when I'm thinking about what to make for dinner, but for some reason yesterday I just had to have it. Maybe it's that whole springtime thing. I haven't cooked many of the lamb recipes in the book (although a notable exception is the Hibiscus Marinated Lamb, which was excellent) and truthfully cost is a deterrent, at least for the rib chops.

I was kind of leaning in the stew direction, but ended up with Sultan's Delight, which called for fewer ingredients and has the virtue of being unattended for most of the cooking time.

I was unprepared for the lamb selection at Stop-n-Shop. First, I was surprised they had lamb shanks (I might have gone in that direction instead) and then vexed that they didn't have boneless shoulder. Why? Because they don't cut their own anymore--it's all contracted out. So I bought six bone-in shoulder chops--a little over three pounds thinking that I'd get the two pounds I needed for the braise.

Do you know how much freakin' bone is in bone-in shoulder chops? I might have gotten maybe a little more than a pound of meat, and I cut away tons of fat too. Phooey on Stop-n-Shop.

I was surprised by how incredibly rich the final product was, though considering that you mix your grilled mashed eggplant into a roux thinned with whole milk I guess I shouldn't have been. I had intended for it to be a meal O'Malley and I could eat before karate class, but this meal makes you want to go like this:

with a glass of red wine, not this:

Oh well, life is all about readjusting, and I'll tell you it was GREAT after karate with gin and lime on the rocks while we watched the season finale of Lost.


Eileen said...

I love lamb in restaurants, but never cook it myself.
I don't know... Lamb just feel like it's hard to cook for some reason.
By the way, I just found your blog from Wall Street.
I'm so inspired by you and your fellow cook-the-whole-cookbook bloggers.
I wish I have the determination and skill to accomplish something like this.
Keep up the good work!

Melissa Bach Palladino said...

Hi Eileen, and welcome! If you ever want to try lamb at home, probably the easiest way to do it (for a crowd) is to get a leg of lamb, rub it with salt and pepper (and maybe a little rosemary) and throw it in the oven. Cook to 135 and you're gold.

I hope you visit often!