Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lamb and Lentils with a Root Vegetable Salad with Anchovy Vinaigrette

Lamb and Lentils

These recipes come from a cookbook I purchased years ago, Farm House Cookbook by Susan Herrmann Loomis ISBN: 0-89480-772-2. Travelling all across America with her husband visiting family-owned farms Loomis includes farming family favorites. Who knows better than those who till the soil and provide us with a wealth of sustinance straight from Mother Nature? After recently reading Animal, Vegetable, or Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, I've rekindled a passion for healthy, organic foodstuffs. I was lucky to happen upon free-range lamb free of hormones or drugs. Fred Meyer carries organic and pesticide-free meats and vegetables.

The original recipe called for carrots, but I wanted and had organic yams on hand and substituted them instead.

2 tsp olive oil
1 lb lamb (recipe calls for 1/2" chunks but I used ground)
2 cups water
1 cup lentils
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
10 black peppercorns
4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried
4 large fresh sage leaves or 1/2 tsp. dried crumbled
2 TBSP lemon juice
zest of 1/2 a lemon
2 carrots or yams, peeled and cut into bite-sized cubes
2 cups green cabbage, rough chop
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a dutch oven or soup pot. Brown lamb, add onion, garlic, salt, pepper, herbs, lentils and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. While this simmers, gently boil carrots or yams in salted water in a seperate pot (drain when tender). After 20 minutes test to see if lentils are almost done. To the lamb and lentils add lemon juice, zest, carrots and cabbage. Cook just until the cabbage is tender.

Root Vegetable Salad with Anchovy Vinaigrette

I love tubers! They store well and can be bought in large quantities and stored for months in a cool, dry place. This is a great colorful winter salad and off the grid as far as salads go. The fennel provides a clean, cool and crisp crunch. Don't be daunted by the anchovies--like a putanesca sauce, it is a necessary ingredient and no one needs to know the "mystery" ingredient in this vinaigrette.

The Salad
2 large red bell peppers, cored, seeded and quartered (reserve 1 1/2 cups to mix with fronds and vinaigrette)
2 fennel bulbs with fronds (finely chop the fronds-reserve a heaping 1/4 cup of the fronds for the vinaigrette)
8 oz rutabaga, peeled and diced
8 oz small turnips, peeled and diced

For the Vinaigrette
7 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
3 TBSP sherry
1 TBSP balsamic vinegar (but the good stuff---don't skimp on this)
1 tsp whole-grain mustard
1/2 tsp sugar
1 cans anchovy fillets in oil, drained and minced
salt and pepper to taste

Mix chopped salad ingredients together. In a mixing bowl, whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together. In another bowl combine the reserved 1 1/2 cups red pepper and the 1/4 cup fronds with 1 TBSP of the vinaigrette. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad vegetables and toss. To plate, transfer the vegetables to a large platter. Surround the salad with the reserved pepper and fennel garnish.

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