Braised lamb shank

braisingHere is a recipe for you lamb lovers.  While waiting for summer to arrive so you can set your grill for burgers and kabobs, you can braise in the oven.  This is a very simple recipe, it can be made ahead of time, in fact it is best to make it in the morning or the day before as the flavors intensify as the dish sits.  The cinnamon stick might sound weird but is a must.  Served on a bed or rice or roasted potatoes, green beans and chunks of crusty bread it makes the perfect meal for those cool spring nights.raw lamb shanks


  • 3 lamb shanks (3 to 3.5 lbs)
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 28 oz San Marzano diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • salt and pepper

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees.

Heat the oil in a large dutch oven or in an oven proof pan.  Salt and pepper the shanks and sautée in the pan until nicely browned on all sides (about 3 minutes per sides).  Remove from the pan and set aside.ingredients

Melt the butter in the pan, add the onions and cook until soft (about 5 minutes).  Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute.  Add the tomato, beef stock and cinnamon.  Stir and bring to a simmer.  Add the meat, return to a simmer, cover and put in the oven.  Cook for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, take out of the oven.  The meat should be soft and coming off the bone.  Let the dish cool down a bit and remove all the meat from the bones. Discard the bones and return the meat to the pot, stirring into the sauce.  Remove the cinnamon stick and cook for another 45 minutes at 350 degrees.lamb shank

NOTE:  should you have leftovers, serve the meat on top of roasted eggplants and topped with mashed potatoes for a moussaka like dishstew

From my kitchen to yours,

CK, la fille du boucher

Boeuf Bourguignon

boeuf bourguignonAs I am moving into the new year and recovering from the flu I am drawn to less complicated foods.  The days are not as short as they were a month ago, but the cold still makes me want comfort food – slow food, braised meats, and sauces I can dip big chunks of crusty bread in.  Boeuf Bourguignon comes to mind, a comfort dish served often in the winter in my childhood.  This dish can be served family-style on a weeknight or for company on the weekend.  I like to serve it with a side of sautéed green beans and roasted potatoes.  It is also good with mashed potatoes or on its own with a tossed salad at the end of the meal.  No matter what, do not forget the bread!! If you have the patience, serve it a day later as all the flavors will be enhanced after sitting an extra day in the fridge.raw beef and bacon

BOEUF BOURGUIGNON                     (serves 6 to 8 )

  • 4 pounds beef chuck (roast or steak) cut into one inch cubes
  • 8 oz bacon cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 3 cups red wine
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt, pepper
  • 3 tablespoon flour
  • 4 carrots peeled, cut into 2 inch matchstick
  • 2 cups pearl onions ( I use frozen one that I thaw before using or you can use fresh ones, drop them in boiling water to loosen the skin and peel. Place in a sauteed pan, cover with water half way and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender)
  • 10 oz mushrooms quartered
  • 3 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped italian parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 degree.

In a large dutch oven sautée the bacon until nicely browned.  With a slotted spoon transfer the bacon to a plate with paper towel to drain.  Transfer all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat to a small heatproof dish.  Sautée the beef in the remaining tablespoon of bacon fat until brown on all sides.  You might have to do this in 2 to 3 batches as you don’t want to crowd the pan.  Transfer the beef into a separate dish as you brown it, adding more bacon fat as needed in the dutch oven.  Once the meat is all browned, add a bit more fat in the pan and sautée the onions until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.sauteed mushrooms

Dust the pan with the 3 tablespoon of flour and cook for about 2 minutes making sure the flour absorbs all the moisture in the pan.  Quickly whisk in the stock and wine, making sure there are no flour lumps and bring to a slow boil while stirring.  The sauce will thicken slightly.  Whisk in the tomato paste.  Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper and the thyme.  Transfer the beef and bacon back into the pan, cover and cook in the oven for 2 hours.

In the meantime prepare the vegetables. In a pot of boiling water blanch the carrots for 5 minutes, drain in a colander, rinse under cold water, and set aside.  In a large sautée pan melt 2 tablespoon of the butter and sautée the quartered mushrooms until golden and crispy around the edges ( about 15 minutes ), put aside.  In the same pan, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and sautée the pearl onions until they are a nice golden color ( about 10 minutes) and set aside.

When the Bourguignon is done, stir the vegetables in and return to the oven for another 15 minutes. Taste and seasoned with more salt and pepper if needed.   Add the chopped parsley before serving.  Should you decide to eat it the next day, let it cool to room temperature, keep in the dutch oven or transfer to a container, and refrigerate until ready to serve.  You can reheat in the oven or on top of the stove, stirring once in a while to make sure the bottom of the dutch oven does not burn.sauteed mushrooms and onions

NOTE:  Why cut a piece a beef rather than buying already prepared stew meat? The stew meat from the supermarket is often from different cuts of beef that will not cook the same way thus sometime causing “tough” pieces in the stew.

From my kitchen to yours,

CK, la fille du boucher

Lobster Stew with cheddar crostini

Two weekends ago,  my family and I all holed away together in New Brunswick for Canadian Thanksgiving.  We wanted to celebrate and mark this special occasion with a traditional feast, but I did not want to commit to staying home all day nursing a turkey and all its accompaniments and miss out on a beautiful hike.  Plus, we will have our turkey next month in the U.S. – not to mention that, lets face it,  by the time October rolls around I am a bit “turkey-ed out,” as I have been cooking (aka styling) thanksgiving spreads for different clients since July.

Lobster seemed to be the perfect solution, and quite fitting since we are on an island where the economy is based on  fishing and lobstering.  My only problem:  how to prepare it.  I wanted it to feel special yet uncomplicated.  I didn’t want to serve it grilled or steamed – something closer to “comfort food” seemed more fitting for October.  Lobster mac & cheese? Lobster pot pie seemed appealing, but I was worried of overcooking the lobster.  Then I thought: how about deconstructing the pot pie? More of a lobster stew with crostini?

Lobster Stew with Crostini

  • Meat from 4 medium lobsters steamed and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 2 medium carrots diced
  • 2 medium parsnips diced
  • 1 large yukon gold potato diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt and pepper

In a large stock pot melt 1 tablespoon butter with the oil.  Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes .  Add the diced vegetables and sautée on medium/high heat covered for 15 minutes, stirring once in a while and checking that the vegetables don’t brown.

Add 2 tablespoon butter. Once melted, add the flour and mix well until fully incorporated.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Add the chicken broth and parsley.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the milk and return to a simmer.  Add the lobster meat, give the stew a stir and turn off the heat.  All you want to do here is heat the lobster.

Serve in large shallow bowls with the crostini.

Cheddar Crostini

  • one baguette
  • about 1/2 pound mild cheddar

Preheat oven at 400 degrees.

Cut the baguette into 1/2 inch slices on the diagonal to get long slices. Grate or slice the cheddar. On a sheet pan, cover the baguette slices with the cheese and bake in the oven for 8 minutes or until the cheese is melted, bubbly and golden.

NOTE: When getting lobster on the island we steam it in a bit of fresh sea water – if not you can get most fish markets to steam it for you.  As for the crostini, I count 2 per person when serving the stew but make sure there are extras on the table, since we found them quite addictive!

From my kitchen to yours,

CK, la fille du boucher