Monday, January 31, 2011

I Know, I'll Make A Fricassee of 'im

Arrigo Cipriani and The Harry’s Bar Cookbook finally taught me that a Fricassee is not just something Elmer Fudd intends to make of Bugs Bunny, and that yes, Wolfy, there might be a stew to rival Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon, in fact, I think one must cut their teeth on Child’s recipe to face the the challenge of making Cipriani’s Fricassee. This takes an entire afternoon to cook -- turn up the music, unplug from the planet and heal your broken heart with this tender work.

Fricassea Di Agnello Con Carciofi
Lamb Fricassee with Artichokes

Serves 6 as a main course

2 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried, crumbled
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried, crumbled
freshly ground pepper
2 pounds boneless lamb leg or shoulder, cut into 1 1/2 inch (4 cm) cubes (900 g)

For the artchokes:

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
15 baby artichokes or 4 large, trimmed and sliced

For the velouté:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (30 g)
2 tablespoons flour

For the garnish:

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoon olive oil
flour for dredging
1 medium onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine (125 ml)
1 cup hot chicken or meat stock, plus extra to baste the stew (250 ml)

freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 cup chicken or meat stock (250 ml)

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary (do no substitute dried rosemary)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (180/4)

In a bowl large enough to hold the lamb, combine the minced sage and rosemary with a teaspoon of salt and a generous amount of freshly ground pepper (about 10 grinds). Toss the meat in this mixture until it is evenly seasoned.

Heat the oil in a large flameproof baking pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup (35 g) of flour over the lamb and toss to coat evenly. Sauté the lamb pieces on all sides, tossing frequently, until they are very well browned --at least 15 minutes. Add the onion and the garlic and continue to cook for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the wine, stir to combine the mixture and scrape up the browned bits from the pan, and boil for 2 or 3 minutes. Add a cup of stock and put the pan in the oven. Cook the stew, uncovered, for about an hour or until the meat is tender, stirring it frequently and adding stock from time to time as needed. Be sure to keep some liquid in the pan so the stew does not dry out. If it seems to be cooking too fast, reduce the heat to 325 degrees (165/3). Meanwhile, prepare the artichokes and the velouté.

Cook the artichokes:
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent--3 or 4 minutes. Reduce the heat a little, add the sliced artichokes, and cook, stirring frequently, until they are tender--10 to 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, stir in the parsley, and set aside.

Make the velouté: Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook gently without browning, stirring constantly, for 4 or 5 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and vigorously whisk in the stock. When the sauce is well-blended, return it to the stove and cook it over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it is thick and smooth. Turn down the heat and cook the sauce very gently for another 10 minutes or so, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Set aside.

When the lamb is tender, remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon. Add the velouté to the juices in the baking pan, combine well, and taste for seasoning. Return the lamb to the pan, add the artichokes, and stir to combine. Put the pan back in the oven for 5 minutes or so to heat it well.

Put the fricassee in a heated serving dish and garnish it with the chopped parsley and rosemary.

Wine Notes
Italian: Ghiaie Della Furba--Capezzana
American: Cabernet Sauvignon--Inglenook Napa Valley

All of the above from The Harry’s Bar Cookbook by Arrigo Cipriani

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