Friday, September 23, 2011

September 21: Warm and Cold Bordeaux Salad, Lamb Loins with Red Wine, and Sweet Carrots and White Beans

1 1/2 to 2 pounds lamb loins
9 large garlic cloves, 8 left whole in their skins, 1 cracked away from its skin
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup red Bordeaux wine, your pick
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
   Coarse sea salt and coarse black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 carrots cut into small dice
1 shallot, chopped
1 can small white beans or cannellini, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chicken stock or broth
1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
4 thick slices good-quality bacon from the butcher counter, chopped
12 small radishes, halved
2 heads of frisee lettuce, cored and coarsely chopped or torn
3 tablespoons white wine or champagne vinegar
   Crusty bread, for mopping

Heat a heavy oven proof skillet over high heat. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Slather the lamb loins and the 8 whole garlic cloves in their skins with a couple of tablespoons of EVOO. Sear the loins in the screaming hot pan and caramelize all over, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the garlic to the pan and transfer to the oven. Roast for 12 minutes (the loins should be firm but not hard), then remove the loins, place them on a carving board, and let stand, covered loosely with foil, for 5 to 10 minutes for the juices to redistribute. Place the garlic cloves in a small bowl. Return the pan to the stove over medium heat. Add the red wine and reduce for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping up the brown bits in the pan. Turn off the heat and stir in the butter.

Slice the meat and season with lots of coarse sea salt and pepper and thyme.

Set equal portions of lamb on the dinner plates and drizzle with the red wine sauce.

While the lamb cooks, place a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the EVOO, the carrots, and the shallots.

Cook gently for 10 minutes to soften, then add the beans and heat through. Season the vegetables and beans with salt and pepper, add the stock, and simmer for 5 minutes more for the beans to absorb the flavor.

While the beans cook, in a skillet, bring 1 inch of water to a boil. Add the cauliflower and some salt and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then drain the florets, wipe the pan dry, and place the pan back on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the EVOO, the chopped bacon, and the cracked clove of garlic.

Cook for 5 minutes to lightly brown, then drain away some of the fat. Add the cooked cauliflower and the radishes and stir to combine. Remove the garlic clove. [RR eats it.] Season the vegetables with salt and pepper. Arrange the frisee on a platter and top with the vegetables and bacon. Return the pan to the stove and deglaze it with the vinegar, then immediately turn off the heat. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons EVOO and drizzle the dressing evenly over the salad.

Serve the loins with the roasted garlic, and with the beans and salad alongside plus plenty of crusty bread for mopping.

Vive la France!


This was a rather complicated meal, and I didn't know if it would be worth it. I was afraid it would taste awful. I'm getting into the portion of the cookbook that has recipes I've never tried before, so I really don't even have an idea of how these will taste. RR says: "This simple feast brings together all my favorite flavors from a short, sweet stay in Bordeaux." I did not serve bread with this meal because the beans had enough starch. It actually was not bad. The meat tasted good, even though I had to buy a big hock and try to get the meat from the bones. I didn't do a very good job of it. The wine sauce was buttery and tasty. The salad was ok... I used green leaf lettuce instead of frisee (I can't get frisee here). It helped that there was bacon in it. The radishes were weird, but the cauliflower was really good. It was my favorite part. I did like the beans and carrots, but next time, I'd probably leave that part out... or the salad... or the meat. All together, it was just too much food. I had run out of olive oil, so I used canola oil. I used the red wine I had on hand, I didn't buy anything special for this. I used dried thyme instead of buying fresh, but I would recommend fresh in this recipe since it's not being cooked.

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