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prosciutto wrapped tomato

prosciutto wrapped tomatoThe holiday season is just around the corner and it’s that time of the year when we’re out socializing and entertaining at home. The thought of entertaining can be intimidating for both the novice and the experienced.  When I know I am having friends over, I generate a plan, cook ahead, stay within my limits and remember it is only a party – a time to have fun.  Everybody loves a party where they can reconnect, celebrate and get away from the stresses of daily life.  Entertaining is also about trying new things, new ideas and new techniques.  Which brings me to this insanely delicious dish:  prosciutto wrapped tomato. Continue Reading →

Braised Lamb with Roast Carrot and Mixed Grains

braised lamb with roast carrot & mixed grains by The Culinary ChaseLamb is traditionally associated with the end of winter and so as a sign that Spring is almost here, I present to you Spring-in-a-Dish!   Braised anything in my family is very well-received and I knew this one was going to be a winner.  I made this last week and enjoyed it so much I made it again.  Typically braised lamb is serve with root vegetables but I like this recipe for its inclusion of clean eating foods – bulgur, barley and quinoa.  They top the charts in nutritional health benefits and should be incorporated in our diet.

Serves 4
adapted from Gourmet Traveller

extra-virgin olive oil
500g boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
300ml beer
6 sage leaves
1 star anise

Roasted carrots and mixed grains –
2 bunches carrots, scrubbed and cut lengthways in half
5 thyme sprigs
1 garlic clove, crushed
splash of fresh lemon juice
splash of extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup each coarse bulgur, barley, red quinoa
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
juice of 1 lemon
fried sage leaves, topping (optional)

braised lamb by The Culinary Chase

  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Add lamb and cook until browned (3 to 4 minutes).  Remove meat from pot and set aside. Heat another 2 tablespoons olive oil in the pot, add onion and garlic and stir occasionally until tender (8 to 10 minutes).  Return lamb to pot and add beer, sage and star anise, bring to a boil.   Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender (3 to 3½ hours; top up with extra beer if necessary).
  • Preheat oven to 350f (180c).   Prepare carrots by combining thyme, garlic and a splash of lemon juice and olive oil in a roasting tray.  Season and roast until golden and cooked through (35-40 minutes). Set aside. While carrots are roasting, combine bulgur and enough boiling water in a bowl to just cover and set aside until tender and fluffy (covered 20-30 minutes). Rinse barley and quinoa separately under cold running water, drain.  Cook in separate saucepans of boiling water until tender (15 to 20 minutes for barley; 10 to 15 minutes for quinoa). Drain well.  Combine all grains in a large bowl with parsley, lemon juice and a splash of extra-virgin olive oil. To serve, add mixed grains topped with braised lamb, fried sage leaves and carrots to one side.

roasted carrots by The Culinary ChaseThe Culinary Chase’s Note: Go for a lighter beer (pale lager) to compliment the gamey flavor of the lamb.  I cooked the barley and quinoa in the same pot cooking the barley first for 5 minutes then adding the quinoa…I dislike using more pots than necessary.  The juice from roasted lemons taste better and tend to become somewhat sweeter when roasted. Cut a whole lemon into quarters and add to the pan of carrots.  Squeeze this juice over the cooked grains.  Enjoy!