Garlic Braised Lamb Shanks with Sweet Bell Peppers

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Rich, mellow, saucy, and supremely satisfying, this dish of braised lamb shanks make an impressive and generous meal.If you like, remove the meat from the bones to serve an extra person or two. The topping of sauteed sweet bell peppers adds a bright tangy, fresh flavor and color to each serving. The lamb can be braised a day ahead, making the meat extra tender and flavorful. Accompany with Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes for a complete meal.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
4 to 6 lamb shanks
1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
12 unpeeled garlic cloves
24 peeled garlic cloves (from 4 heads), divided
6 fresh bay leaves
6 thyme sprigs
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 medium-size orange bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

Directions:
Preheat oven to 300°F.

Season the lamb with salt and black pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large ovenproof Dutch oven over medium until foamy. Add 3 shanks, all of the unpeeled garlic cloves, bay leaves, and thyme sprigs, and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, about 15 minutes. Transfer browned shanks, unpeeled garlic, bay leaves, and thyme sprigs to a platter, and set aside. Add remaining 3 shanks to Dutch oven, and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over about 15 minutes. Return browned shanks, unpeeled garlic, bay leaves, and thyme sprigs to Dutch oven. Cover and transfer to preheated oven. Cook, flipping shanks every 20 minutes, until very tender, about 2 hours.

Remove lamb shanks, and set aside. Pour chicken stock into Dutch oven, and bring to a boil over high, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of Dutch oven. Remove from heat; use a ladle to skim off fat from surface, and discard. Return stock to a boil over high, skimming surface often and discarding fat, until reduced to 2 cups, about 10 minutes. Pour stock mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a large measuring cup; discard solids. Skim remaining fat from surface, and discard. Wipe Dutch oven clean; pour strained stock into Dutch oven.

Add peeled garlic cloves to strained stock, and simmer over medium-low until garlic is slightly tender, about 20 minutes. NOTE: The lamb can be cooked up to a day ahead. Refrigerate, covered; reheat before proceeding.

Scatter bell peppers and thyme leaves around lamb, and cook over medium-low, moving peppers around lamb occasionally, until peppers and garlic are tender, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer lamb shanks to warm serving plates. Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter, salt, and black pepper to sauce, and stir until creamy. Remove from heat.

To serve, spoon sauce with bell peppers and garlic cloves around lamb shanks.

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Fried Shrimp Po’ Boy

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In the late 1800s fried oyster sandwiches on French loaves were known in New Orleans as “oyster loaves”, a term still in use in the 21st century. A sandwich containing both fried shrimp and fried oysters is often called a “peacemaker” or La Médiatrice. Most likely the earliest known version of a po’ boy

A staple of New Orleans cuisine, the po’ boy sandwich harkens back to 1920s. The origin of the name is unknown. A popular local theory claims that “po’ boy”, as specifically referring to a type of sandwich, was coined in a New Orleans restaurant owned by Benny and Clovis Martin (originally from Raceland, Louisiana), former streetcar conductors. In 1929, during a four-month strike against the streetcar company, the Martin brothers served their former colleagues free sandwiches. The Martins’ restaurant workers jokingly referred to the strikers as “poor boys”, and soon the sandwiches themselves took on the name. In Louisiana dialect, this is naturally shortened to “po’ boy.”

Po’ boys usually features some sort of meat, though the type ranges from roast beef to fried seafood most often shrimp, crawfish, fish, oysters or crab to sausage, that’s served on baguette-like New Orleans French bread, known for its crisp crust and fluffy center. In New Orleans, the two primary sources of po’boy bread are the Leidenheimer Baking Company and Alois J. Binder.

New Orleans is known for its grand restaurants, but more humble fare like the po’ boy is very popular. Po’ boys may be made at home, sold pre-packaged in convenience stores, available at deli counters and most neighborhood restaurants. One of the most basic New Orleans restaurants is the po’ boy shop, and these shops often offer seafood platters, red beans and rice, jambalaya, and other basic Creole dishes.

It’s safe to say that I have a love affair with the cuisine of New Orleans. It is a magical place where the local residents like to say there are four seasons: Mardi Gras, crawfish, snowball and football — and they all revolve around food. Just give me a po’boy dressed and beignets with a steaming cafe au lait, and I am good…..

 

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup hot sauce
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 small loaves of French bread (or 2 larger loaves, halved)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 large tomato, sliced
2 cups lettuce, shredded
Dill pickle spears, for serving

Directions:
Peel the shrimp, but leave the tails on, if desired.

With a sharp knife, make a shallow cut along the length of the back of a shrimp. Pull the dark vein out or scrape it out with the knife. Repeat with the remaining shrimp.

Rinse the shrimp under cold running water; pat dry and set aside.

Heat the oil to 375 ° F in a deep, heavy saucepan or deep fryer. Line a baking sheet or pan with a double layer of paper towels.

In a large bowl, combine the milk, hot sauce, and egg and whisk to blend.

Add the shrimp to the mixture and allow to stand for 3 to 4 minutes.

In another bowl, combine the flour and cornmeal with the baking powder, Creole seasoning, salt, and pepper.

Take the shrimp out of the milk and egg mixture and dredge in the flour and cornmeal mixture. Coat the shrimp thoroughly.

Drop several coated shrimp in the oil and fry until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Do not overcrowd the shrimp or the oil will take longer to return to temperature and the coating will absorb more oil.

With a slotted metal spoon, transfer the cooked shrimp to the paper towel-lined pan and repeat with the remaining shrimp.

Slice the baguettes into serving lengths and split.

Spread with mayonnaise and arrange 6-10 fried shrimp on the bread and top with tomato slices and shredded lettuce.

Serve with a side of the dill pickle spears and enjoy!

 

 

Cook’s Notes:
To “Dress” your po’ boy with the traditional lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and mayonnaise. Hot sauce is optional.

Instead of dressing the po’ boy with regular mayonnaise, you can substitute with a traditional remoulade. To make the remoulade, combine 2/3 cups mayonnaise, 1/3 cup parsley, 2 tablespoons mustard, 1 teaspoon hot sauce, the juice of one lemon, and two chopped green onions in a blender. Process until a smooth consistency is reached, and then season to taste with salt and pepper. Store the remoulade in a glass container covered, refrigerated.
season to taste with salt and pepper.


Deviled Chicken Livers on Toast with Watercress

I love to serve this dish on thick toasted bread to soak up the sauce. It’s so simple and very budget friendly, If chicken livers are not your cup of tea, you can certainly substitute mushrooms for the livers in this recipe. Most liver is prepared for you these days, but it’s important to remove any white sinewy strings or yellow bits before cooking. Chicken livers are quite rich, so a little devilling with pepper and spices is a great approach. The essential part of sautéing livers is not to overcook them, but to keep them nice and pink in the middle. That way you will enjoy eating them so much more. This dish makes for a really good lunch or supper dish, or a starter for two or more people.

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:
2 heaped tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon English mustard powder
A pinch of cayenne pepper
1 pound chicken livers, trimmed of any sinew and discolouration
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ tablespoon sherry vinegar
Few splashes Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 pieces of sourdough or cibatta bread
1 bunch watercress, trimmed, washed and dried
Splash of olive oil
½ tablespoon capers (optional)
A handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Mix the flour, mustard powder, cayenne and salt and pepper. Put into a flat dish and toss the chicken livers in the mixture. Dust off any excess and put them on a plate in one layer.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan on a high heat. When it is hot, add the chicken livers. When they are all sizzling nicely, turn the heat down a little – you want enough heat to create a crisp coat but not so much that they char. Turn after 2 minutes and cook the other side for 2 minutes.

Lift the livers out on to a warm plate and quickly add to the pan the sherry vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Let these simmer for a moment, then add the chicken stock and stir to deglaze the pan and capture all the flavors. Once the stock has reduced a little, add the butter and swirl it into the stock.

Toast the bread. Dress the watercress with the olive oil, seasoning and capers.

Return the livers to the pan and let them fry for a minute. Throw in the parsley

To serve, place a slice of toast on a plate. Pile the watercress on to the warm toast and spoon the livers and the sauce on top.

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