Friday, January 25, 2008

What Can I Say?

Lamb shank, local and pasture-fed. Flageolet beans, local and not as tender as I'd have liked. (Maybe not cooked long enough.) Braising liquid of frozen tomatoes, commercial (eek!) chicken stock, local wine, and aromatics (celery, bay leaves, rosemary, orange zest) from the garden. Oh, wait: plus farmers market garlic, carrots and onion.
It's nice to be in the braisey-brains season again. It took some teeth-gnashing and a sky-load of cold rain. I've noticed reading the blogs that we (in the Northern Hemisphere) are all finally succumbing to stews and soups and beans, beloved beans.
The lamb shank had been in the freezer for a week or so — and it was a long shank, too long for my trusty, crusty Le Creuset pot. Cranky sterilized his hacksaw with the elbow of his sweatshirt, and took a whack at the leg. A minimum of meat and bone dust later, it was two perfect pieces, and the rest was easy.
My mom asked me the other day if I could braise a lamb shank without a recipe, and I told her I thought I could, but it was always nice to have a cookbook open on the counter.
Guess what, mom. I did it without a cookbook this time.
When I was all finished, I went and took a peek at the recipe in Lidia's Italian Table... and Lidia had it right!


Jennifer Jeffrey said...

Oh my goodness, cookie. This looks AMAZING. Wish I had one of these in the oven right about now...

I'm on a bean swing, too. 'Tis the season. Stay dry!

ChrisB said...

I really must use the beans I bought when when I was in SF!

Lannae said...

I love braised lamb shanks. mmmm. Such a lovely local dinner. There is a local Kurdish restaurant that has a lovely tomato and spice braising broth, but I have no idea what they use.

This year, for the 1st time, we have been having a local winter farmer's market with eggs, milk, cream, shitake, pastured meats, and winter veggies. If it weren't for you - the ultimate localvore, I would get to sleep in and not freeze my butt Saturday mornings to get there and get some goods to eat. :)

kudzu said...

Arrgh, how could you? I have sworn not to leave the house today, not to go out into the frigid needle-like rains. That means it's refrigerator-cooking time and God knows there's no lamb shank in my freezer. I will be tested, for sure, to produce anything that appeals to my appetite.

Re: white beans, cooking of. Do you have Marcella's first cookbook where she teaches us how to cook them in the oven? Works beautifully.

chilebrown said...

That sounds so great. I like the Cranky sterilization method. It all gets to the right temp to kill all Kooties.
I wish we had a camera for when we mentioned "Smart and Final Brisket". I only saw Dr.Biggles. He claims he was looking at you. ]

Peace, Paul

Sam said...

I can't braise lamb without a recipe, but i could do some other things like make toast and marmite, or scrambled eggs, or an eg salad sandwich.

I have butter beans on my shopping list for tomorrow

Heather said...

How uncanny - I was already planning on making cassoulet this weekend! It'll be kinda like the dish in your post, but with more duck fat involved.

I have heard that you shouldn't salt beans until they're finished cooking, elsewise they'll end up tough. Not sure if it's true or not.

cook eat FRET said...

hey you! i know i know cookie, you just wanna be like me. so you telepathicaly made the same dinner to post on the same day...
we are such sistahs!

i too used no recipe. i just threw whatever made sense into the pot. and it was really really really good, i gotta say.

yours looks amazing...

dancingmorganmouse said...

Stew season is my favourite food season and hey, your Mr Cranky uses the same sterilizing methods as my Mr Brown. I like to think this is why we don't get sick too often.

cookiecrumb said...

Jenn: When that meat gets all fall-offey. Mmm. (PS, I did mine on the stovetop; a little easier to monitor.)
Beans! We moved on to another white bean, Great Northern Whites, and they were TENDER.

ChrisB: Which beans did you buy? How many bags? You really should get to them while they're young.

Lannae: You must patronize your winter market; I has spoken. Every other week is fine. ;-)

Kudzu: We're as housebound as you are; we just happened to have this stuff in the house. Overambitious buying at the market sometimes results in freezered meats. The winter garden provides the celery and herbs.
I said to Cranky yesterday, if this keeps up much longer, we could STILL eat from provisions already in the house. (And then, Scotty's is just four minutes away.)
I don't have any of Marcella's books; we must blame Cranky for the texture of the flageolets.

Chilebrown: When you said "Smart and Final brisket," I might have made a sort of grotesque, death mask kind of face. But what do I know?
My brisket last year came from a local butcher (I adore him) but I don't think the beef was local. Sigh.

Sam: It wasn't too long ago that I'd need a recipe for toast and marmite! I just got lucky on the shanks because I braise them every year. (Even so, I roast a standing-rib roast every year, and I always need guidance. That's how easy shanks are... slip and slide.)

Heather: Cassoulet does have a lot in common, I know realize. But our dish was so unconstructed.
(I think it's OK to salt beans while they're cooking; mixing them with tomatoes before they're finished is a no-no, however.) Enjoy your meal!

ceF: I'm coming over to see, sistah! How cool. Thanks for being here, and I'll be there in a sec.

cookiecrumb said...

Morgan: We are living embodiments of the relative harmlessness of bacteria.
Enjoy your summer; you'll be ready for braises soon enough. You wouldn't believe How Much Rain is falling here today.

Anonymous said...

Perfect for the weather we're having in the northeast :) I was blog hopping and landed here. Glad I did :)

Alejandra said...

Wow...yeah. I love's the perfect cold-weather meat.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Oh yes. Just what I need over on this side of the pond right now - a nice, hearty lamb and bean combo. Fab...

chilebrown said...

I think the market may be a no show tomorrow. It is pouring rain on our side of the bay. I know that your side of the bay is to the "Left" and is probably getting hammered.
Guy and I are entering the Virtual Hot Wing Cook Off. Check it out as the Hot Saucse Blog.
Peace, Paul.

Anna Haight said...

Hi Cookiecrumb! This looks so like a dish made for this Marin weather! It's not just tomatoes, but anything acid added before beans are finished cooking to softness that will keep them from softening.

cookiecrumb said...

Maryann: Nice to see you!

Alejandra: It puzzles me why it's so perfect for winter, but lambs are born in spring. Oh, well. Not complaining.

Forkful: Lamb and beans, you said it. Unless you want to go a little Greek, and do lamb and orzo. It could happen!

Chilebrown: Hey, Paul. We were going to hit the market, but... finally Cranky went, a little late. And he didn't get rained on. Pretty skimpy shopping, though. (We got tofu!)
Good luck on your competition.

Anna: Oh, yes, thank you for the "acidic" info.
Wow, this weather??!!?? I stay indoors in my jammies.

Zoomie said...

Love the mental picture of Cranky sterilizing the hacksaw with his sweatshirt! :-) You crack me up!