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Cooking for a Delicious Life: A Lauren Groveman Kitchen Instructional Video Series

Aprons for Real Life with Matching Towels
Designed for real-life cooking, this Apron is just the thing for keeping everything a busy, 21st-century multi-tasking cook needs within reach at all times.
I Love to Cook: A Lauren Groveman Kitchen Cookbook
Bring back the joy of cooking with Lauren's acclaimed second cookbook.
Lauren Groveman's Kitchen Cookbook
Makes homemade meals possible again with a comprehensive, inspiring book that reinvents cooking as a relaxing, creative, fulfilling activity for even the busiest people.

Sultry Shortbread Rounds (Plain, Chocolate and Dipped in Chocolate)

Shortbread. Decided to drizzle after I dipped.

Ingredients:

  • 3 ½ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon fine table salt, slightly rounded
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (very soft (bendable) without becoming oily)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces melted chocolate or chocolate melting wafers (bittersweet, semisweet or dark sweet, melted (optional)

For Chocolate variation:

  • 2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup Dutch processed, unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon fine table salt
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces melted chocolate (bittersweet, semisweet or dark sweet, melted (optional)

For the shortbread dough: Whisk together the flour and salt and then sift this into another bowl. Cover and set aside. When the butter has become very soft (just shy of being oily) on medium speed, cream the butter 1 cup of sugar until homogenous without beating in too much air. Mix in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and combine. Once the mixture has come together, remove the bowl from the machine and, using your working hand, reach down to the bottom of the bowl and bring the dough up from the bottom, working things together until the dough is cohesive throughout.

Dump one half of the dough a long, doubled sheet of plastic wrap. Cover the dough with the plastic and use your hands to pull the dough into a log 1 ½ to  2-inches thick. When satisfied with the shape of the log (it should be uniform in girth) rap wrap again in foil. Chill the dough for 30 minutes (or longer) or freeze. (To thaw, leave in the fridge overnight). If the dough chills for much longer than 30 minutes, allow it to soften just a bit at room temperature (which will make is less likely to crumble when you slice the log into rounds).

To bake: Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Working with one log at a time, unwrap the chilled dough and slice into ½ inch thick rounds. (If you see that the log had formed a flat edge from being chilled on one side, roll it on your work surface to help round out the log.) Place the rounds on the prepared baking sheets (you will have 4 rows of 4 cookies on each sheet, plus one or two more, depending on girth of your logs and the depth of your slices) Sprinkle (or roll each round) evenly with more sugar and bake at 350F until light golden brown, 18 to 23 minutes (baking time will depend on the temperature of the dough when being cut). (If  using the convection oven, check at 18 minutes).

Allow cookies to cool on their sheets, on wire racks, placed over sheets of wax paper. Once cool, if desired, either drizzle or dip half of each cookie with melted chocolate (if not tempering the chocolate, use melting wafers which don’t need tempering). Place directly on wax paper to allow chocolate to set.

For chocolate variation: Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, powdered sugar and salt. Sift this into another bowl. Cream the butter with the sugar until combined, mix in the vanilla. Add the flour/cocoa mixture and mix until homogenous (check for any dry pockets on the bottom of the bowl).

Form logs as previously described and chill until firm enough to slice. Slice the log into rounds, place on parchment lined baking sheets and, if possible, cover and chill the unbaked cookies. (This helps to maintain their shape since this dough is a bit softer than the other version).

Preheat the oven to between 325F and 350F. Sprinkle the unbaked cookies with sugar and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the dough seems to be turning golden around the edges. (Determining the color of these cookies is not as easy since the dough is dark.)  The tops should feel set on top.  Cool and apply chocolate as previously described.

Once cool (and chocolate is set, if using) store cookies in an airtight tin, at room temperature.

Comments (0)

Herb & Garlic Scented, Double-Rib Lamb Chops

You won’t find lamb chops better than these. Thick, with a very dark exterior, a rosy-red interior and a savory flavor that leaves nothing to be desired. This recipe illustrates perfectly the concept of how uncomplicated food can provide a big dining experience. Make sure your exhaust fan works, and serve your chops on plain sturdy plates, so their beauty can shine.

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

Special Equipment

  • Exhaust Fan
  • Stove-top grill pan or well-seasoned cast iron skillet (alternatively, use a regular perforated broiler pan)

For the chops:

  • 12 double rib lamb chops (1 1/2-to 2-inches thick), trimmed of excess fat (or use chops from the loin)
  • Garlic Confit Oil or extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 rounded teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • Freshly ground black pepper and Kosher or sea salt to taste

1) To set up: Line a large shallow baking sheet with aluminum foil, shiny-side up, and place the baking sheet on the rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425oF, preferably for 30 minutes or longer. Turn on your exhaust fan. (Alternatively, if you don’t have an exhaust fan, skip the above and just preheat the broiler with the rack as close as possible, allowing the broiler pan easy entry and exit from the oven.)

2) To season and cook the chops (using the pan-searing, oven-roasting method): Pour about 1/2 cup of the oil into a bowl and stir in the garlic, half the minced herbs and lots of black pepper. Use a pastry brush apply an even layer of the seasoned oil to all sides of the lamb chops, then season again, very generously, with more pepper.

Sprinkle the chops generously, on one side only, with salt. Place one or two large well-seasoned cast-iron skillets, or a large stove-top grill pan on the stove, over high heat. (Or, straddle an extra-large grill pan over two burners.) As a last resort, use one or two heavy-bottomed nonstick skillets. When very hot, lay the chops in the pan, salted-side down, in a single layer without crowding. Brown the chops on the first side for 3 full minutes. Sprinkle the unsalted side with more salt, and then use tongs to turn the chops and brown them for another 3 minutes. Since double-rib chops will have a wide, thin layer of top fat, after browning them on both sides, stand the chops on this fatty side, to brown and crisp it. If doing this in batches, remove each batch of chops to a tray so you can sear the rest.

When all the chops are seared, transfer them to the preheated baking sheet and sprinkle them with the remaining minced herbs and a bit more salt. Roast the double chops until done to your liking: 7 to 9 minutes for medium-rare (6 minutes for thinner loin chops). Serve hot with or without mint jelly.

3) Alternatively, to broil the chops: Place seasoned chops on a cold broiler pan and broil under a preheated broiler until seared, sizzling and done to your liking, turning once. Double-rib chops will take 5 to 7 minutes per side, depending on how chilled they are and how done you like them.

Timing is Everything:

  • The chops can be seasoned (but not salted) up to two days ahead and kept refrigerated, well covered.
  • The chops can be pan-seared up to an hour before finishing them in the oven. Leave them on a tray at a comfortable room temperature. Lengthen the roasting time, however, by a few minutes, to compensate for the cooler temperature of the chops when entering the oven. If broiling, cook just before serving.

SHOPPING LIST

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

For the lamb chops:

  • 12 double rib lamb chops (1 1/2-to 2-inches thick), trimmed of excess fat (or use chops from the loin)
  • Garlic Confit Oil or extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 rounded teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • Freshly ground black pepper and Kosher or sea salt to taste

From the butcher:

  • 12 double-rib lamb chops (if serving young children, allow only one chop per child)

From the supermarket shelf:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Black pepper

From the produce section:

  • Garlic
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh rosemary

Watch the Video.

Comments (5)

Ginger-Scented Grilled (or Broiled) Salmon


When busy, tired and hungry, the first place to head is your fish market, since with little effort, you can reward your family and friends with maximum taste and freshness. Although this recipe features salmon, this marinade would be equally enhancing to swordfish, tuna or halibut steaks.

This recipe is written to serve six, but the marinade can easily be stretched to accommodate an additional pound of fish or enough for eight servings. Although leftovers are great, if you are serving fewer people, use half the marinade on the fish and pour the rest into some “almost done” cooked rice. Increase the cooking time by one minute, after adding the marinade to the saucepan). Don’t hesitate to serve this fish dish for company, as it’s a real winner.

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

Special Equipment:

  • Outdoor grilling device, or a broiler pan when cooking indoors

For the fish:

  • 1/2 cup cold-pressed aromatic peanut oil (found in well-stocked supermarkets)
  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce (I use Tamari)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (keep chilled once opened)
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger root
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup minced scallions (green onions) trimmed white part, and 1 1/2 to 2 inches of the tender green
  • 3 to 4 pounds salmon fillet (preferably wild salmon), cut into 6 to 8 individual servings, or 6 to 8 salmon steaks (allow 8 ounces of fish per adult and 4 to 6 ounces per child)
  • Peanut oil or cooking spray, for grill (not needed when broiling)

1) To prepare the marinade: In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients except salmon and the oil for the grill, if using, and mix thoroughly.

2) To prepare the fish: Gently rinse the fish fillets under cold water and pat them dry. Choose a glass dish that is large enough to fit the fillets in a single layer. Brush the skin side of each fillet generously with some of the marinade and place in the dish (skin side down). Pour the remaining marinade over the fish, using a basting brush to cover each well. Let fish sit out, at room temperature, for 10 minutes or cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

3) To grill: Before you heat the grill, brush the grate well with oil or spray with cooking spray. Heat gas grill on high, or if using charcoal grill get coals very hot, and place the salmon (with marinade left on) on the hot grill grate. Cook salmon a total of 7 to 10 minutes per inch of thickness, turning once. (When grilling, don’t try to turn the fish until it’s very crisp on the bottom or you’ll tear off the skin. Using tongs, nudge the fish, and if it seems firmly attached to the grill, let it keep cooking.) When done, the salmon will be beautifully seared on both sides. For medium-rare, let the flesh retain a deeper orange tinge at the very center. If desired, cook until pink throughout but avoid overcooking or the fish will be dry.

4) To broil: Preheat the broiler until very hot with the rack as close as possible to the heating element (taking into consideration the height of your broiler pan. I use the top level). Pat some of the excess marinade off the fish and lay each fillet on a cold broiler pan (skin side up). Broil close to heat source turning once, until crispy and the fish flakes easily but is not at all dry, 4 to 5 minutes per side. (Keep an eye on things when broiling, but be sure to let the skin get crisp and the flesh-side get nice and golden.)

Timing is Everything

  • The fish can be marinated a day ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator.

SHOPPING LIST

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cold-pressed aromatic peanut oil (in well-stocked supermarkets)
  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce (I use Tamari)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (keep chilled once opened)
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger root
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup minced scallions (green onions) trimmed white part, and 1 1/2 to 2 inches of the tender green
  • 3 to 4 pounds salmon fillet (preferably wild salmon), cut into 6 to 8 individual servings, or 6 to 8 salmon steaks (allow 8 ounces of fish per adult and 4 to 6 ounces per child)
  • Peanut oil or cooking spray, for grill (not needed when broiling)

From the fish market:

  • 6 to 8 center-cut salmon fillets, preferably wild (6 to 8 ounces each), skin left on

From the supermarket shelf:

  • Soy sauce, preferably tamari: (See Ask Lauren for more information)
  • Cold-pressed, aromatic peanut oil (See Ask Lauren for more information)
  • Toasted sesame oil
  • Dijon mustard
  • Peanut oil (by “Planters”) or cooking spray (not needed when broiling)

From the produce section:

  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 bunch scallions (also called “green onions”)
  • 1 knob fresh ginge

Comments (1)

A Truly Regal Roast… Prime Rib with a Garlic & Herb Crust with a Red Wine Sauce

For a special occasion, there’s nothing like serving a gorgeous prime rib roast with a rich homemade red wine sauce. Although most refer to any rib roast as “prime,” it’s not necessarily the truth. In order for meat to be prime, it must come from U.S.D.A. prime beef. So, when placing your order with the butcher for “prime beef,” don’t forget to ask him if that’s what you’re going to get! The key to success when making a lean roast beef (and I can’t stress this enough) is using an accurate meat thermometer, that registers as low as 120oF. Although convenient, I rarely use an instant thermometer since it really bothers me to continually poke holes in my meat, as it roasts.

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

Special Equipment

  • Meat thermometer (preferably not the instant kind)

Ingredients For the Roast:

  • 4 rib roast (8 1/2 to 9 1/2 pounds), well trimmed with a thin layer of fat remaining on top (ask the butcher to cut the meat off the bone, crack the ribs and tie the meat back in place)
  • 20 garlic of cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1 rounded tablespoon Kosher or sea salt
  • Lots of freshly ground black pepper (lots)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme (or 1 1/2 teaspoons aromatic dried)
  • 2 rounded teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed, to lubricate the meat

Ingredients For the Sauce:

  • 4 1/2 tablespoons Clarified Butter
  • 4 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 8 ounces fresh button mushrooms, wiped clean and chopped (to yield 1 cup)
  • 3 cups Beef or Veal Stock
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 generous teaspoon tomato paste
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons port wine (preferably vintage, but a high-quality ruby port is perfectly acceptable)
  • 1 tablespoon whole butter or thick crème fraiche, as a final enrichment (optional)

1) To season the beef: Place the minced or pressed garlic onto your work surface and sprinkle it with the salt, lots of black pepper and herbs. With the blade of a sharp chef’s knife, press the mixture together, scraping and mixing until the mixture starts blending together. Drizzle on up to 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and continue to scrape, press and mash the garlic mixture until it becomes pastelike. Sprinkle the meat all over generously with pepper. Rub the garlic-herb paste all over the exposed meat (bottom and sides included). Pour some olive oil on top and pat it all over, until the entire seasoned surface really glistens (Rub in additional oil, as needed.) Apply more pepper to the top, leaving the roast looking heavily seasoned and very lubricated. Cover the meat with oiled plastic wrap, greased side down, and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours, before roasting.

2) Early on the day of serving, start your sauce: Melt the clarified butter in a 2-quart saucepan, over medium heat and, when hot, stir in the shallots. Sauté the shallots until they turn translucent, about 2 minutes, then add the mushrooms. Raise the heat to high and cook the vegetables until the mushrooms are tender, and most of their released liquid evaporates, 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the flour and cook the vegetable-roux, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the stock and wine and bring the liquid to a full bubble. Reduce the heat to very low and simmer the sauce, uncovered, until the flavors concentrate, the texture thickens and the volume reduces to about 2 1/2 cups, which will take between 1 and 1 1/2 hours. As it simmers, occasionally skim off any accumulated foam, from the top of the sauce.
Remove from the heat and let the sauce cool for a bit, then pour it through a fine-mesh sieve that’s positioned over another clean saucepan. Press hard on the solids to extract all of their goodness, then discard them. Place a doubled sheet of paper towel over the saucepan and apply the lid. (This prevents a skin from forming on the top of the sauce and also keeps any condensation from falling into the sauce and diluting the flavor.) Set the saucepan aside, for now.

3) To roast the meat: Bring the seasoned meat close to room temperature. Place the raw roast, bones side down, on a shallow baking sheet and preheat the oven to 450oF for at least 30 minutes. Sear the meat at 450oF for 30 minutes. While searing, if planning to make Yorkshire pudding, see the next step, as soon as the meat enters the oven.
After the initial sear, insert a meat thermometer into the top-center of the meat, so the tip reaches the center of the eye. (If the tip sits on bone, your reading won’t be accurate.) Reduce the oven temperature to 325oF and roast the meat until the internal temperature reaches just above 120oF (for medium-rare), which will take about 1 hour and 45 minutes, after the initial sear. (This will take longer if the meat was initially cold.) Remove the meat from the oven and transfer it to a warmed serving platter. Tent the meat loosely with aluminum foil and set it aside, allowing it to rest, before carving.

4) If making Yorkshire pudding: (see: “The I Love to Cook Book): Assemble the batter as soon as the meat goes into the oven and let it sit out, covered, while the meat cooks. When the meat leaves the oven, increase the temperature to 450oF and follow the instructions, as written, for baking Yorkshire pudding. If not making Yorkshire pudding, I suggest that you freeze your rendered beef drippings in a labeled 1 cup heavy-duty freezer container. That way, you can make Yorkshire pudding, flavored the traditional way, whenever you choose.

5) To slice the meat, finish the sauce and serve: First reheat the sauce, uncovered, over low heat until it’s hot. Let it simmer, gently, until ready to serve. Cut any strings off the roast and discard them. Lift the eye of beef off the ribs and place it on your cutting board (you may need to use a knife to help release it). Place the bones to the side. Slice the meat into 1/4-inch thick slices and overlap them on a warmed serving platter. Slice the ribs into individual sections and place them around the meat. Pour any juices from the carving board, over and around the meat.
Stir the port into the simmering sauce and bring it back to a full simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the stove and, if desired, stir in the optional butter or crème fraiche. Pour the sauce into a warmed gravy boat and pass it, along with the meat, straight away. Accompany the meat Yorkshire pudding, if desired.

A Beefed-Up “Jus” Sauce Variation: (Embellished Natural Juices)
Omit the red wine sauce and, after carving the meat, pour the juices from the carving board into a saucepan and add 2 cups beef or veal stock. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer stock for one or two minutes. Adjust the seasoning by adding salt and pepper, to taste. Pour half of the broth over the meat and serve the rest in a warmed sauce boat. If desired, you can stir in a tablespoon or so of butter or crème fraiche after removing the pan from the stove, to enrich the texture. Taste for seasoning, though since added fat (although wonderfully rich) tends to be muting to seasoning.

Timing is Everything:
• The meat can be seasoned one day ahead and kept refrigerated, well covered with oiled plastic wrap.
• The stock can (and should) be made weeks or months ahead, and frozen.
• The sauce can be made early on the day of serving and left at a comfortable room temperature, as directed.
• If making the lamb variation, you should simmer the lamb bones in veal or beef stock the day before making the sauce, allowing the time required to chill and defat it.

SHOPPING LIST

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

For the roast:

  • 4 rib roast (8 1/2 to 9 1/2 pounds), well trimmed with a thin layer of fat remaining on top (ask the butcher to cut the meat off the bone, crack the ribs and tie the meat back in place)
  • 20 garlic of cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1 rounded tablespoon Kosher or sea salt
  • Lots of freshly ground black pepper (lots)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme (or 1 1/2 teaspoons aromatic dried) 2 rounded teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed, to lubricate the meat

For the sauce:

  • 4 1/2 tablespoons Clarified Butter
  • 4 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 large shallots, minced 8 ounces fresh button mushrooms, wiped clean and chopped (to yield 1 cup)
  • 3 cups Beef or Veal Stock
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 generous teaspoon tomato paste
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons port wine (preferably vintage, but a high-quality ruby port is perfectly acceptable)
  • 1 tablespoon whole butter or thick crème fraiche, as a final enrichment (optional)

From the butcher:

  • “Prime” Rib Roast (8 to 9 pounds), bone in

From the supermarket shelf:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • Tomato paste

From the produce aisle:

  • Garlic
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Shallots
  • Button mushrooms

From the dairy case:

  • Butter
  • Crème fraiche, optional

From the frozen section (preferably your own freezer!):

  • Beef or veal stock

From the spirits shop:

  • Dry red wine
  • Port Wine

Comments (1)

Lamb Pot Pies (with a Turkey or Chicken Variation)

Whenever I serve these piping hot pot pies to my family, everyone at the table is initially so quiet– since we’re all so busy plowing through the crisp pastry, uncovering all sorts of savory goodies inside. Usually, it’s not until we reach the half-way mark in our individual dishes, that we come up for air and chat as normal. If you’re in the mood for beef or veal instead of lamb, just substitute an equal amount of cubed chuck or veal shoulder and use all beef or veal stock, in the sauce. And, speaking of stock, although it’s OK to use store-bought puff pastry on top, please use homemade stock in the sauce, since it really will help make these pot pies better than all others. For your convenience, I’ve also provided a “turkey or chicken” pot pie variation at the end of this recipe. Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

Special Equipment

  • 6 individual, oven-proof crocks (each with a generous 2- cup capacity)
  • Large round (plain or fluted) pastry cutter; although I call for a 6-inch cutter in the recipe, the ultimate size will depend on the size of the individual crocks. You’ll need to cut pastry out to exceed the top (all the way around) by 1 inch (You can also simply cut out a 6-inch parchment template and use the tip of a sharp knife to trace and cut out pastry rounds)

Ingredients for the pot pies:

  • 3 1/2 to 4 pounds lamb stew meat (from the shoulder or neck), cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into wedges
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Pure olive oil, as needed, for browning the lamb
  • 8 cups lamb stock (simmer browned lamb bones in chicken stock, strain and defat) or combine beef with chicken stock
  • 1 pound new potatoes (about 2 large), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diagonally sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 8 ounces fresh pearl onions (or use frozen pearl onions, thawed)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 ounces button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups (packed) cleaned, thinly sliced, leeks (use the white and light green)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme (or 1 1/2 teaspoons crumbled dried thyme)
  • 1/4 cup thick creme fraiche or heavy cream
  • 1 generous cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups whole cherry tomatoes, stems removed
  • 1/2 recipe Quick Puff Pastry or 1 pound frozen store-bought puff pastry, thawed
  • Glaze: 1 egg, mixed with 1 teaspoon water and strained
  • Sesame seeds, for sprinkling (optional)

1) To marinate the lamb: Place the meat into a large nonreactive dish and pour in the red wine. Scatter the onion wedges over the top, separating them into strips. Use your hands to help coat the meat with the wine and to disperse the onions. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours, occasionally stirring to redistribute.

2) To brown the lamb: First place a medium-mesh sieve over a mixing bowl. Pick the meat out of the wine and drain the pieces on a large doubled sheet of paper towels. Pat meat dry, then sprinkle the pieces with salt and black pepper. Pour the wine through the sieve and discard the onions. Reserveall of the wine. Heat a heavy-bottomed, deep-sided 12-inch skillet over high heat and, when hot, add a thin layer of olive oil. When the oil is hot, brown the lamb, in batches, until deeply browned on all sides (be patient and don’t crowd the pan). Transfer each batch of browned meat to a tray, as you continue to brown the rest. When finished, dump out any oil from the pan, but don’t wipe out the interior. Deglaze the pan, over high heat, with the reserved wine, reducing it to a syrupy 1/2 cup, and reserve.

3) To simmer the lamb: Bring the stock to a boil in a 4-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir the reduced wine into the stock, along with the browned meat and bring the liquid to a brisk bubble. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the meat, covered tightly, until meltingly tender, but not dry, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Using a large slotted utensil, transfer the meat to a big bowl. Bring the stock to a rolling boil, over high heat, uncovered. Add the diced potatoes and set your timer for 10 minutes. After 4 minutes have elapsed, add the carrots and cook them with the potatoes until the timer sounds. Meanwhile, position a medium-mesh wire sieve over an empty 2-quart bowl. When the timer goes off, pour the stock into the sieve, allowing it to capture the vegetables. Place the drained vegetables into the bowl with the cooked meat. Leave the stock in the bowl, for now.

4) To cook the pearl onions with the mushrooms: First boil the raw onions for 7 minutes, then drain them and run them under cold water to stop the cooking process. Slice off the root end of each onion and slip off their skins. Heat a 12-inch, heavy-bottomed, deep-sided skillet over high heat and, when hot, add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the sliced mushrooms and cook them, over high heat, until tender and starting to turn golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in the pearl onions and cook, until any released liquid from the mushrooms totally evaporates and the onions are turning golden, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Empty the onions and mushrooms into the bowl with the meat and other vegetables. Put the pan back on the stove, without wiping out the interior.

5) To make the sauce and assemble the pot pies: Melt the butter in the same 12-inch skillet, over medium heat and, when hot and bubbling, stir in the leeks. Reduce the heat to low and cook the leeks until tender and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Raise the heat to high and stir in the flour. Cook the vegetable-based “roux,” stirring constantly, for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Add only 6 cups of the hot stock and bring it to a brisk boil, uncovered (freeze the rest for another recipe). Reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the thyme and creme fraiche (or cream) and simmer 3 more minutes. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables. Fold in the peas and cherry tomatoes and season again with salt and pepper.

Spoon the meat and vegetable mixture into six individual oven-proof crocks, dividing equally. Let the contents cool completely. Meanwhile, roll out your puff pastry, 1/8-inch thick, on a lightly floured surface. Cut out 6 rounds to fit the top of your crocks and cut out a decorative 1/3-inch-wide vent in the center of each round using a tiny pastry cutter (or a thimble). Apply a round of pastry to the top of each filled crock and press the edges of dough onto the outer sides of the rim, helping the dough to adhere. Refrigerate the dishes, covered with plastic wrap, until ready to bake.

6) To bake: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Assemble your egg glaze. Remove the pot pies from the refrigerator and uncover them. Place the crocks on a large shallow baking sheet. Brush the pastry with the egg glaze and sprinkle the tops with sesame seeds, if using. Bake the pot pies until the pastry is golden, very crisp and the filling is visibly bubbling through the vents, 35 to 45 minutes . Serve them right away.

Timing is Everything:

The pot pies can be fully assembled and topped with pastry one day ahead and kept refrigerated, covered with plastic wrap. Don’t apply the glaze, however, until just before baking.


For Turkey or Chicken Pot Pies: Forget the marinade ingredients. Using all the same size saucepans, substitute 6 cups chicken stock for the lamb stock and bring it to a brisk boil over medium-high heat (uncovered). Add the diced potatoes to the stock and set the timer for 10 minutes. After 4 minutes have passed, add the carrots and continue to boil. When 6 minutes have passed (4 minutes left), add 4 stalks of trimmed celery, sliced 1/2-inch thick, and cook until the timer sounds. Pour the stock through a sieve, positioned over another bowl, to drain the vegetables and retain the stock. Place the cooked vegetables into a large mixing bowl. Cook the mushrooms in a 12-inch skillet, as directed in the main recipe and add them to the bowl of vegetables with the pearl onions and the peas (omit the cherry tomatoes). Make your sauce as directed in the main recipe, increasing the creme fraiche to 1/2 cup, and pour the sauce over the vegetables. Season well and fold in 5 to 6 cups of diced cooked turkey or chicken. Apply the pastry to the top of your baking dishes, then glaze the pastry and bake, as directed in the recipe featuring lamb.

SHOPPING LIST for Lamb Pot Pies

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

Ingredients for the pot pies:

  • 3 1/2 to 4 pounds lamb stew meat (from the shoulder or neck), cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into wedges
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Pure olive oil, as needed, for browning the lamb
  • 8 cups lamb stock (simmer browned lamb bones in chicken stock, strain and defat) or combine beef with chicken stock
  • 1 pound new potatoes (about 2 large), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diagonally sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 8 ounces fresh pearl onions (or use frozen pearl onions, thawed)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 ounces button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups (packed) cleaned, thinly sliced, leeks (use the white and light green)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme (or 1 1/2 teaspoons crumbled dried thyme)
  • 1/4 cup thick creme fraiche or heavy cream
  • 1 generous cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups whole cherry tomatoes, stems removed
  • 1 pound frozen store-bought puff pastry, thawed
  • Glaze: 1 egg, mixed with 1 teaspoon water and strained
  • Sesame seeds, for sprinkling (optional)

 

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