Chef Gary provides us with a special "Savory Easter" treat for this Easter Sunday. The Head Chef at Viewmount House in Longford got rave reivews from Luncinda O'Sullivan in today's Sunday Indpendent.
A Savoury Easter
Getting sick, stuffed belly and passing out in front of an Indiana Jones movie. Just some of my memories of Easter Sunday.
They've changed dramatically though as these days it generally involves rocking out a guaranteed 150 plus in VM Restaurant for lunch. Not this year though as Wee Netty and I are mid honeymoon and I've popped inside to grab a beer and share a few easter recipes with you and at the same time indulge in some cool air. Sorry to rub it in, I hear it's snowing at home but I don't get to gloat too often so I'm sure you'll forgive me.
What else comes to mind when we think of Easter? Bad Chocolate!
It's a tough one though with easter eggs as you can only eat a certain amount of high quality chocolate. It can be quite rich and then on the opposite side of the scale the lighter more milky chocolate is so easy to eat you end up stuffing your face a tad too much.
I try to go for a happy medium and grab an egg or two that comes with a nice bar of chocolate or a handful of high quality truffles.
It's hard to pass Lilly O Brien's or on the cheaper scale a sneaky Toffee Crisp. Netty can have the Egg, I just want the bars! Netty can easily put 4 or 5 eggs away. No Joke.
It wouldn't be Easter though without the classic Cadbury's Cream Egg. Those legendary little darlings are what I look forward to most of all. I noticed earlier today a guy spent some time filling up a large Egg with the contents of many small cream eggs to give us a look at what a large one would look like. It's cheating in my opinion though, Maybe next year, along with the help of my amazing pastry chef Sammie Straume, we'll create a proper "Adult Version" of this classic. It'll take a proper chocoholic to devour one of those bad boys.
Aside from choclate the big food must have on Easter Sunday has got to be Roast Lamb.
My favourite has got to be slow cooked shoulder with Boulangere potatoes. That's just a fancy name for the easiest potato dish you'll ever make. Trust me, try this dish and you'll be hooked.
I've also thrown in a cracker for all those leftovers you might have. A curry is another option but i've gone down the route of a ragout with pasta etc etc.
Do your best to hold back on the chocolate until after you've eaten dinner.
You'll be glad you did.
Slow Cooked Shoulder of Lamb with Candied Swede, Boulangere Potatoes & Bordelaise
1 Lamb Shoulder boned rolled and tied (your butcher will do this for you)
2 sprigs of rosemary
1/4 cup of chopped thyme
5/6 litres chicken stock (6 litres of boiling water with 2 erin chicken stock cubes dissolved in it if you don't have access to fresh chicken stock)
1/2 bottle of red wine, merlot or shiraz would be ideal
1 large onion
Salt and pepper to taste
6/7 potatoes sliced
1 large onion sliced
1 sprig rosemary chopped finely
4 sprigs of thyme chopped finely
approx 1 litre of chicken stock (reserved from the Lamb ingredients)
2 knobs of butter
1/2 turnip diced or cut into 3" rounds with a pastry cutter
4 tsp honey
3/4 small slices of butter
approx 12 pearl onions peeled or 1 large white onion chopped finely
1 cup of red wine
the strained cooking liquor from the lamb
1/2 cup chopped flat parsley
Heat two heavy based frying pans. season the lamb all over and the carrot, onion and parsnip.
Sear the lamb all over to seal in the juices, lightly colour the vegetables. Sprinkle on the herbs.
Place the vegetables onto a deep roasting tray and top with the lamb.
deglaze the two pans with the red wine and pour over the lamb
now add the chicken stock reserving 1 1/2 litres for the boulangere
cover and cook on a low heat for approx 4/5 hours 120 degrees or until the meat is very soft to touch and is breaking away easily when touched with a fork
Grease a casserole dish with the butter
line with a layer of potatoes
top with onion then some thyme and rosemary
repeat finishing with a layer of potatoes and a little herbs
add stock until you've almost reached the top of the potatoes
place into an oven covered in tinfoil at 160 for approx 45 mins
remove the foil for the last 10 mins and raise the temp to 180 to lightly brown and crust the top
place your cut up swede on a baking sheet or casserole dish
drizzle with honey and season with a little salt
top with butter
bake at 160 for 45 mins turning half way through
Saute the pearl onions
add the red wine and reduce
add 2 cups of the cooking liquor from the lamb and reduce until its at desired consistency
finish with chopped parsley
(classically bordelaise would have bone marrow as an ingredient but its not necessary, a very aquired taste and would be served with steak or beef but works equally well with Lamb)
Penne Pasta with a Ragout of Lamb, Chick Pea, Tomato & Courgette
Chopped up remaining lamb from your roast
8 oz panne pasta cooked, strained and kept warm
1/2 tin chick peas
1/2 courgette diced
remaining herbs from the roast
1 tin chopped tomatoes
salt and pepper
Saute the onion without colour and add the chopped tomatoes then the herbs and cook slowly for 30 mins, set aside now, saute the chick peas and courgette without colour, add the lamb and season then add the tomato sauce
Mix slowly and add a little of the remaining cooking liquor from the roast if needed. Spoon the pasta into serving bowls and top with the ragout alternatively you can add the pasta to the pan and toss all the ingredients together before serving.
Top Tip: use mash potato instead of the boulangere, finely cut up the vetetables from the roasting tray and chop up remaining lamb from the roast and cook slowly in the remaining cooking liquor for approx an hour on a very low heat, place in a casserole dish, top with remaining mash and bake for 20 mins at 150 for a rich and tasty shepherds pie with a difference.