Thursday, September 1, 2011

Braising away during Irene...

So, Richmond, hoping everyone is safe and sound after this week's excitement. Now seems like a good time to talk comfort food... sans refrigeration.

Irene has left us mostly powerless, literally. So what power do we have left but to feed ourselves? No doubt after the storm passed your first thoughts turned to take out, but how did you weather the storm?

At my house on Friday- when faced with an entire day inside waiting out the storm- my husband's thoughts turned to.... braised meat, with no hesitation. Turns out roasting a local lamb shank from Belmont Butchery was his idea of comfort through the storm. Moroccan cous cous and fresh garden green beans with mint and tomato rounded out a quite delicious and legitimately candle lit dinner. And as a newly adapting carnivore I was quite happy.

I'm curious how the rest of the RFC and our other RVA family faired on the culinary front... hear tell Erin may speak of peaches and bourbon(!)

So using up whats left in the fridge with gas power? Grilled fare? Or just take-out, what is your hurricane comfort food?

Ned's Lamb shank

Humanely procured lamb shank
Olive oil
One medium Onion diced
One Carrot diced
One stalk Celery diced
3 cups stock (we used homemade chicken stock
One large (or two small) diced tomatoes
Garlic 6-7 whole cloves
2 Bay leaves
1 Rosemary sprig
2 Thyme sprigs
A cinnamon stick, (or 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon powder)
8-9 whole cloves
Fresh ground pepper
1 1/2 cups red wine

In a dutch oven or large oven proof pot heat olive oil in a pan med high heat, salt and pepper lamb shank then brown on all sides until nice and golden. Take the lamb out, cover with foil and let rest.
Sauté onion, carrot and celery mixture with whole garlic cloves in the same pot.
Add a cup and half of nice red wine, scrape pan, deglaze and reduce liquid by half.
Add three cups of nice stock, we used homemade chicken stock, let reduce.
Add to the mixture a couple diced tomatoes, we used a large beefsteak from the garden.
Add bay leaf or two, rosemary sprig, fresh thyme sprigs, cinnamon, cloves, and more black pepper grinds. (Ned says a lot, like 30)
Cook down liquid and then return lamb to pan when liquids about half cover the meat.
Put in a 300 degree oven for 5 hrs, covered tightly, leave alone, smell happy smells.
Five or so hours later pull lamb out of pan, put under loose foil.
Put remaining liquid through sieve and get rid of solids, (you can also separate the fat out.)
Cook down liquid until the sauce can coat the back of the spoon.
Add sugar or cayenne, basically season to taste at this point, then serve meat with the sauce.


  1. Yes, well you know I am not going to let a hurricane pass without some kind of bourbon expression! Plus, I got a HALF BUSHEL of peaches from Agriberry at the market on Saturday, you know, to keep me busy. So thanks to a neighbor's working dishwasher for sterilizing jars, I am now the proud owner of peach butter (some with bourbon...) More on that soon!(Yes we CAN!)
    Soooo excited to have one of Ned's recipes on le blog- sounds amazing!

  2. Yum! Yum! Yum! I am very impressed with your hurricane preparedness! I'd say our best success was grilled eggplant and roasted red peppers. We harvested both from our garden the day of the storm and tossed them on the outside grill. Once all grilled, Rob diced both, mixed in a bowl, and dressed with olive oil and garlic. Salt and pepper. It was sooooooo flavorful. We put this on bread and fish. Soo good!

    That was day two of the power outage. From there it quickly declined to Lara Bars and peanut butter spread on whatever was laying around.

  3. We went with an indian food feast: dal, curried vegetables from Horse & Buggy Produce, and homebrew. But seriously, for the next hurricane: I'm stocking up on lamb shank.

  4. We went with an indian food feast: dal, curried vegetables from Horse & Buggy Produce, and homebrew. But seriously, for the next hurricane: I'm stocking up on lamb shank.

  5. We went with Indian food stovetop feast: dahl, curried vegetables, and homebrew. But next time a hurricane is forecast: I'm stocking up on lamb shank.