Monday, June 19, 2006

still not obsessed...(i.a.n.o.w.D.o.c. part 2)

Sometimes when you're not sure, you've just got to take the plunge.

Above is the gorgeously cooked pork leg we intended to use in our shepherd's pie. Did I forget to mention that E impregnated it with cloves of garlic before we braised it? Well, she did. I can tell you that a lot of this baby did not make it into the pie, it was so f'n good.

To make the sauce the meat was added to in the photo above, we strained out the braising sauce (using out potato ricer, no less) then added the remainder of the vegetable stock and ale and boiled it down for a while. Then we added the meat, and eventually the vegetables:

We then got the potatoes that we had previously removed from the fire, took off the aluminum foil, peeled them, and riced them into mash. The mash was added to the top of the pie:

Meanwhile, E was making her signature Challah bread that won us 1st place at the non-sanctioned competition in Fall River Mills two weeks ago. It came out great:

And, for the coup de grace (no, the 'C' is not silent, America), we reveal the shepherd's pie! The extra heat on the bottom towards the end made the gravy boil up a bit too much through the top, but the end result is a pie not to be messed with.

How good was it, Johnny? In truth, I'm still eating it today. The next day, we were shepherds and got the flock out of there.

i am NOT obsessed with Dutch oven cooking

No matter what Sam from Becks and Posh says, I am NOT obsessed with Dutch oven cooking.

I'm obsessd with good Dutch oven cooking. (insert smiley emoticon here).
This weekend, E and I decided to make shepherd's pie in the DO while we were camping by the McCloud river in Northern California. All of the images are clickable with much larger versions avialable - blogger limits the size and amount of images in each post, yay.

Above is our idyllic campsite, chosen because Fowler's campground was all full up this weekend. We got the un-sharpened end of the stick this time though, the campground's water was contaminated with E. coli thanks to the beef ranchers upstream, so camping was free! We had brought our own water and so we got to stay in a double lot for the price of zero automobiles. I cleaned off the grill with my new brush asbestos I could and fired up the coals. Laid the pork out on it and foil-wrapped potatoes directly in the coals, as below:

Our plan had been to cook a gigantic leg of lamb and use its meat to
make the pie with. However, someone decided that the best thing to do
with our lamb was forget it at home. So instead we got this awesome leg
of swine and planned to brown it on the grill then braise it with the sauce
we made of red wine, duchesse de borugogne Belgian trappist ale, onions,
vegetable stock, and herbs. Running low on coals, we made use of my camp stove, shown above, to provide the bottom heat for the small Dutch oven. True, that's not International Dutch Oven Society-sanctioned, but this also wasn't a competition -- just good, clean fun (though I wouldn't call it sober in any way!!) Below you can see the detail of the awesome braising sauce we made:

As we were using my smallest Dutch oven, the leg had a lot of incidental contact with the roof, wich turned out to be an unintentional bonus. Look how nice and brown it got on all sides--early in the experiment I had worried that it would even get cooked all the way.

Due to the aforementioned limit on image quality and quantity, you will have to tune in next time to see how it all turned out.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

old food

So, my freezer was full. I apologize for all the terrible photos, they are analog in nature. What you're seeing is a little jar of veal terrine (perhaps the only use of beef I will ever admit to), ice cube trays and mason jars full of turkey stock, phyllo dough, ice packs, a leg of lamb, falafel, green chilis, a gallon of clam chowder, and the list just goes on and on. We decided to clean house, so to speak, on this mother.

So we thawed the lamb for about a day then plunked it on the grill, shown below, with some mesquite coals and a bit of rosemary wood:

Then I set about making a sauce for it. I combined the veal, stock, and trimmings from the leg in a bowl. To this I added about half a bottle of pomegranate 'molasses' and some water.

The rosemary here is just for show. So, I boiled these down for about 45 minutes on a low setting, and the sauce came out great. It didn't matter that I overdid the lamb a bit because the dryness was overcome by the great flavor of the sauce. Call me simple, but I find that lamb, rosemary, and pomegranate always go well together.

Monday, June 12, 2006

state UN-fair

So we participated in another Dutch oven cook-off last weekend. We had fun and were glad to have friends with us there who had never done one of these before but who also had a great time.
Unfortunately the citizens of the tiny hamlet where the cook-off took place were convinced that the diets of frontierfolk consisted mainly of items from Safeway and Burger King. If it wasn't beef, beef, beef, they weren't interested.
Oh well, their loss. We still had a great time and cooked some excellent food. We'll think of it as a warmup round for our next (sanctioned) competition.