Saturday, February 4, 2012

My French attempt: Lamb Stew and Gratin Dauphinois

It's winter, it's cold, and I need something hearty. What better to warm you up than some lamb stew? Lamb short rib is naturally nice and fatty, so it has the extra calories to keep you going when the temperature gets low. Also, the gratin dauphinois, a sliced potato gratin, should be a comfort food staple. The crispiness and creaminess of the potatoes beats mashed potatoes in my books any day. This meal, with a nice glass of wine, will definitely warm you up from the bottom of your belly to the tip of your nose! 

With the lamb stew, I decided to use the short rib (a very Cantonese choice), because that is where the meat is still on the bone, and the meat is more tender, flavorful, and fatty. Though traditional French lamb stew does not call for dried fruit or curry powder (try Moroccan), I thought it'd provide a nice flavor kick to it. 

...don't forget to serve it with some fresh baguette
(though my brother wished there was white rice instead) !

Lamb Stew (serves 4-5)
3lb lamb short rib, cut
1 onion, sliced
1 carrot, cut
3-5 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 cup dried dates
bay leaf, rosemary, salt, black pepper, cornstarch, curry powder 
12oz chicken broth 
2 tablespoon vegetable oil

1. Season the lamb with bay leaf, and about 1.5 teaspoon of each of the following: rosemary, salt, black pepper, and curry powder. Then sprinkle corn starch on the lamb, to hold the juices in while cooking. 
2. Sautee the garlic and onion in the vegetable oil in high heat, until slight browned. Then add the lamb. Once lamb is pink (about 3 minutes), pour in the chicken brother (it should cover 2/3 of the meat). 
3. Cover the lamb and let simmer on medium-low for 30 minutes. Then remove from heat and let it cool for about 30 minutes. 
4. Add the carrots and dried dates to the stew and let it simmer again on medium-low heat for 30 min. 

I actually let it sit overnight to let the flavors seep in more, before reheating it for dinner, but it can be ready to serve the day of preparation as well. 


Pomme Dauphinois (serves 4-5)
3-4 potatoes, peeled and sliced to .5cm thickness
1/4 cup creme fraiche
16oz milk
2 teaspoon salt
2 cloves of garlic, sliced

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
2.  Combine the potatoes, milk, salt, garlic and a pinch of nutmeg in a pan over medium-low heat. Mix regularly so that the potato does not stick to the bottom. Do this until the milk becomes a creamy consistency.
3. Transfer half of it into an earthenware pot, then spread half of the creme fraiche over the potatoes. Repeat this again with the remainder potatoes.
4. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the top layer is browned.

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