Friday, January 22, 2010

(Originally posted 8/4/09)

Two dishes: Lamb ragu with fettucine, chèvre & fresh mint; Poulet sauté à la crème (from JULIA!!!)

This is a slight variation on a beautiful dish I had in Portland's Northeast section, at an awesome little place called Lovely Hula Hands. Their version included fresh fava beans, which was a nice touch but slightly harder to get my hands on in Phoenix in July. Too bad. My lamb ragu was made by simmering ground lamb in red wine with baby portabellos and local onions from my friend's dad's garden, and a variety of subtle spices including cumin and cinnamon. Simmer it for a long time, to the sticky, falling-apart-goodness stage. You'll know what i mean when you get there. The garnish is a nice soft goat cheese and the mint, of course, is from my own garden. This is a dish a bit more suited to a slightly chilly, drizzly Portland evening than a steamy July night in the desert, but if you want to crank up the A/C, pretend it's cold outside and eat a hearty meal, I suggest you try this one. It's worth it!

Extreme culinary closeup!!

Poulet sauté à la crème....My first foray into 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' by the great Julia herself! While I wouldn't say I have yet mastered the art, this dish was satisfyingly easy enough for a first try. Next time we'll tackle lobsters or soufflés or the famously scary Oeufs en Gelée!! but for now, this was enough of a start. Lovely herbed sautéed chicken legs and thighs--in butter! Oh Julia!--under a sauce made by deglazing the pan with white wine and adding shallots and cream. There's nothing about that that could be anything but good. Egg noodles on the side, mostly as a vehicle for that wonderful sauce. And simple steamed asparagus spears because really, one can't have too much decadence all on one plate and survive, can one?? Always good to have something simple, green and healthful. Oh my god was this good. We will be returning to Julia very, very soon, don't you worry.

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