- LAMB is the meat from a one year old sheep or younger. MUTTON is the meat from a sheep over one year.
- Lamb neck is an inexpensive under-rated cut of meat, and can be made into a succulent stew.
- Cooking meat leaving the bone in gives you more flavour.
- Have a mise cup of hot water with a few drops of vinegar and cheesecloth by your station to clean up your plates as you ‘plate’.
Today was lamb, lamb, lamb. (Last night’s decision to eat a lamb tagine at a Morrocan restaurant might not have been my most well-considered plan). We made a wonderful Lamb Navarin (stew). Cut and trim lamb shoulder into 2in cubes, sautéing to brown, added aromatics, and a bit of flour, then on the stove covered for an hour. The tricky part about this dish was less about the stew, and more about the presentation. We had to accurately ‘turn’ carrots, turnips, potatoes into cocottes, caramelize pearl onions, and top with boiled green beans and peas. I’ve always thought of stew as something you just put in a pot, and then ladle out into a bowl and you’re done…but no….no….no, that’s not the French way.
We removed the meat, strained and reduced the ‘stew sauce’ down to nappant, then carefully added the parboiled carved potatoes to absorb some of the flavor, and then the carrots and meat. To plate, we first placed the meat into a pre-heated bowl, then carefully arranged the correct number of potatoes, carrots and turnips, then delicately spooned the sauce over the meat, carefully arranged the greens on top, and pearl onions and peas around. I have to admit it looked great, and tasted pretty good. Our lamb was cooked really tender but somewhere in the process it toughened up a bit. But the vegetables and sauce were delicious. So it was lamb stew for lunch, and then Chef Joe also cooked us a huge leg of lamb which we also had for lunch.
After lunch it was rack of lamb. We trimmed and manchonnéed a rack of lamb (scrape/clean the bones that stick out so they present well), seared the pieces, followed by a butter baste to brown the difficult-to-reach parts, covered with a paprika/cumin marinade and in the oven. A Boeing 777. 7 minutes in the pan, 7 minutes in the oven, and 7 minutes rest. After the resting, we cut the chops, topped with garlic butter and served them with an inverted ratatouille that we just “whipped up” somewhere during the mayhem. I can’t believe I just said “whipped up a ratatouille”, but actually….that’s what we did. It was a hectic day, there was quite a bit of screaming and shouting all round, but we all eventually landed our planes safely. I ate all the ratatouille, but just a bite of the chop. It was delicious, but by now I was just lamb’d out!
We got our exams back (I got a smiley face on mine), and then did a brief recap for one of the THREE exams tomorrow. We laid down a lot of lamb today, and now I’m going to go lay down for a quick nap myself….. and then back up again to study for our exam trilogy: a practical (examining our cutting skills), a written ‘comprehensive’ (covers the past 19 lessons), and our ServSafe – the NRA’s (no not that NRA!), the National Restaurant Association’s Food Protection Manager Certification exam. Good luck to everyone tomorrow. A big thank you to Chef Veronica and Chef Joe for getting us this far. Roger Roger. Over and out for today.