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Friday, September 9, 2011

“Famous Restaurant Recipes, Pt. XXV: Blanquette d’Agneau—Continental Lamb Stew braised in Cream and Stock”

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                                                   STINKBUG 2011



                                                                               


Chef Goldie “Goldfish” MacNamara

END Commentary 09-10-2011

Copyright © 2011 by MHB Productions

Word Count: 1,341.



CULINARY POLITICS



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Elemental News of the Day Commentary-Opinion-Sports-Foodservice for Saturday, September 10, 2011 by Chef Goldie “Goldfish” McNamara

FAMOUS RESTAURANT RECIPES, PT. XXV

 Famous Restaurant Recipes, Pt. XXV: Blanquette d’Agneau—Continental Lamb Stew braised in Cream and Stock
Bakersfield, CA, 09-10-2011 S:  Today’s recipe is one of my favorites, another French dish that can be considered to be Continental Cuisine.  Lamb is very much a staple of many of the European and Mediterranean nations and this one is classic French, a braised lamb stew in a Béchamel-like sauce, lamb stock combined with heavy cream and roux.  It is extremely tasty and is one that I think most of you will enjoy, even those who don’t care so much for the taste of lamb as it’s so soft and tender and the flavor so muted and mild that it’s a pleasure to eat. The dish we are going to make is even in its French title, “Blanquette d’Agneau,” or stew of lamb.  This is one that I learned at the famed Maisson Jusseau’s in Bakersfield, CA, back when I was a young chef standing at the shoulder of the Executive Sous Chef, Alberto Ricci, and a longtime staple at the establishment.  He was a gifted man and knew a wide range of foods but specialized in the French and Continental Cuisines which was a very fortunate thing for me. Imagine being able to learn all of these fabulous foods from professionals without having to spend thousands of dollars and going to a place like the Culinary Institute of America?  Nowadays, that’s practically what one has to do if they wish to learn the foods that will take one to top as otherwise; it’s a long climb up from the fast food morass and chain restaurant horror show that most of the young cooks emanate from in today’s modern world.  Tragic, if you ask me!

BLANQUETTE D’AGNEAU


Yield: 6-8 servings / Mis-en-place: 1.5 hours at the most:


Qty.
Measure
Item
Other
3-4
#
Boneless lamb shoulder, cut into serving pieces, drained overnight
2.5
Quarts
Cold water

3
Each
Leeks, cut into ¾” sticks (white parts only)

3
Each
Medium-sized turnips, cut into pieces

3
Each
Medium-sized carrots, cut into pieces

2
Each
Garlic cloves, minced

2
Sprigs
Parsley

2
Teaspoons
Whole thyme

2
Teaspoons
Kosher salt

1
Teaspoon
Black peppercorns

2
Cups
Sliced button mushrooms
Peeled & blanched
1
Quart
Reserved lamb broth

3/8
Cup
Melted butter

5/8
Cup
All-purpose flour

2
Teaspoons
Lawrey’s seasoned salt

1
Teaspoon
Kosher salt

.5
Teaspoon
White pepper

.25
Teaspoon
Ground nutmeg

1
Teaspoon
Whole marjoram

2
Cups
Heavy cream

.75
Cup
Cognac

1-1/3
Tablespoons
Freshly minced parsley
Rinsed



Method:

1.      Mis-en-place: have everything ready to work with.  Peel the mushrooms by removing the stems and then peeling the outer skins back from the underside and discarding.  By doing this, you will have a snow-white mushroom.  Wash and slice and blanch quickly in simmering water and then drain and plunge into a bowl of ice water to retard further cooking.

2.      Put the lamb into a large soup pot and cover with the cold water.  Combine the next EIGHT items into a mirepoix ball (using cheesecloth and secured with twine) and toss into the pot.  Turn the heat to medium-high and bring to a near-boil, then lower heat to a gentle simmer, cooking for 30 minutes.  During this time, skim off all the scum that rises to the surface (this is the residual blood and oils).

3.      Check during cooking time for tenderness as lamb generally starts out fairly firm but softens quickly so don’t allow it to turn to mush.  When it’s tender, separate the meat from the stock and discard the mirepoix ball.  Strain the stock through cheesecloth into a saucepot and return to the flame to keep at a simmer.

4.      Meanwhile, in another larger saucepot sprayed with PAM or some such other food release spray, combine the butter and flour over a medium-flame to form a roux and cook it, stirring constantly, for several minutes; add the spices and blend them in prior to adding the liquid.  In this manner, you avoid them clumping up.

5.      Bring the stock to a boil and begin pouring it in whisking all the while.  Whisk vigorously until the stock has been combined with the roux and raise the temperature to a high simmer and keep there for several minutes for a veloute to develop.  Then, add the cream and cognac and blend together well.  Allow this sauce to simmer for several minutes and then return the lamb and add the mushrooms.

6.      To serve, ladle your lamb stew onto portions of either steamed pasta or spaetzle or even a bed of rice pilaf and accompany with a medley of buttered carrots, peas, and green beans.

This is a classic lamb stew served in a creamy veloute sauce that could be considered to be a Béchamel by our standards.  This is a pleasing lamb dish, not overpowering as is the usual complaint about by lamb by those who don’t care for it. In fact, it’s hard to discern what it is; many thinking it could be either beef or veal.  Accompany with mint jelly for those diehards who will request it.

Well, there you go a dish to savor and to enjoy with friends and family.  This is an easy one to make professionally as you have everything ready to work with—mis-en-place—and then combine the ingredients together and braise it to order.  It’s the shortcuts that make us professionals as that is how we do the most difficult of dishes, by learning the tricks that allow us to create something wonderful within a reasonable amount of time.

As I intimated yesterday, I have had a great time today and as always enjoy my opportunities to write for the Elemental News of the Day. We urge our readership to write to us and leave comments and if there are any of you, who would care to write an article for us, please get in touch via Magnolia Hilltop Brewers, P.O. Box 20669, Bakersfield, CA 93390-0669.  We obviously don’t pay anything but you will be given a full byline and that’s worth its weight in gold.  We want as many people who want to write to be able to do so and we believe that by presenting a forum for our fellow chefs, we are doing something for our beloved industry.  We love diversity and hope to add new and different authors to our pantheon of chefs, food and beverage directors, and culinary professionals.  Come on and join us, it’ll be fun!

Please remember to avoid doing business with AARC Technology in Bakersfield, CA.  These people don’t care about the small customer anymore but instead put all of their attentions onto their corporate customers. It’s sad to not remember why one has the success they do or from where it came.

This is my second to last blog post for this time around and it’s been fun.  If there is one thing I share in common with everyone here at the Elemental News of the Day, it’s a love for the classics of European cuisine as well as that of other cultures.  There is something very worthwhile in preserving the cultural heritage of all the different groups of people on the planet via their culinary styles, tastes, and habits.  We love to cook and hope that it shows and that you appreciate it all.  Knowledge is a very important thing and culinary knowledge is extremely important as so many pretenders—i.e., fast food and fakes such as Olive Garden and others—disrupt and warp traditional cooking.  I mean, take the Olive Garden, for example, virtually none of their advertised dishes existed before some dummy in one of their test kitchens started throwing them together and calling them “Italian.”  Learn the true culinary culture of every nation so that when you go out to eat, you know what the heck you’re eating!   Anyhow, please leave some comments and/or become a follower and why not spend some money and purchase an album by the Grateful Dead and/or buy a cookbook from Amazon.com.  We are allied with them and are pleased to market their merchandise! See you tomorrow! Bye!    

Thank you!

Goldfish

Goldie “Goldfish” McNamara

ACF, CWC, Cook IV Institutional Chef


This is me back in 1977 when I was working at the Hilton Inn in Bakersfield, CA, on Rosedale Highway. Now, it's the Red Lion Inn but back then, I was the night sous chef and ran the cook's line at the age of 24.

---30---

END Commentary for Saturday, September 10, 2011 by Chef Goldie “Goldfish” McNamara



Please note that everyone who writes for the Elemental News of the Day is their own person entitled to their own opinions, attitudes, and insanity so does not necessarily speak for all of us.  Thanks, Stinkbug.

REFERENCES:

This original essay was authored by the one-and-only Chef Goldie “Goldfish” McNamara

Recipes created by Chef Goldie “Goldfish” McNamara on February 12, 1984 in Bakersfield, CA.

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This is #947, a 20” x 24" original oil painting by Beverly Carrick entitled, “Soft Sunset." It's among her more beautiful works and is available for sale. You can see much more of her work at her Website, located at http://www.beverlycarrick.com or at Brian Carrick's Facebook page. At her Website, you will see not only more original oil paintings but also lithographs, giclees, prints, miniatures, photographs, and even her award-winning instructional video entitled, "Painting the Southwest with Beverly Carrick." Beverly has been painting for more than 60 years and is known around the world. Her work hangs in private and public galleries and is followed by a great many fans that circle the globe. We urge you to go to her Website NOW and view her work. It's possible that you will find something you like and will want to buy it for yourself, a friend, a loved one, or a neighbor! You will not be disappointed so please: do yourself a favor and go there IMMEDIATELY! Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day!

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Goldfish, Famous Restaurant Recipes, Auguste Escoffier, French Cuisine, Continental Cuisine, Fine-dining, Lamb, Béchamel Sauce, Sauté Dishes, Gourmet Cookery, the Grateful Dead, Good Food, Braised Dishes, Stews,  










                                                                                  
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