Austria, it’s not just Germany’s shoe…

October 14, 2014

image courtesy of http://www.flags.net

After a lengthy break we are back! I have a stockpile of meals to write about so let’s start with Austria.On a side note I learned over the last few years that my ancestry is 1/8 Austrian and I would truly love to visit there someday.

Probably the only Austrian that anyone can name these days is Archduke Franz Ferdinand whose assassination is credited with triggering World War I. It is actually a very interesting lesson in diplomatic agreements if you examine the chain of alliances which pulled the whole world into conflict because of Austria and Serbia. That is for historians to discuss as this is a food blog. I will leave you with the fact that although he was heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, his children would not have succeeded him. He agreed to these terms so he could marry his true love who was not of royal lineage and thus could not take part in his royal privileges, or be seen with him at royal events.

When I saw the recipe for this dish, my mouth started to water uncontrollably. Lamb + Latkes (potato pancakes) = OMG. It was a difficult procedure to assemble but I did my best and there is no doubt that the flavors came through as they should have. For most of my life I have been averse to peppers. The bitterness always turned me off, even when eating one of my favorite American Chinese dishes Pepper Steak, I would often leave the peppers aside for my mom to enjoy. Throughout this culinary experiment I am slowly learning to appreciate the subtle use of peppers especially in sauces.

These are the kinds of dishes I am really having fun with. Even though it was a very difficult and messy assembly and procedure, it used techniques and culinary applications that are alien to me. The chicken and cream mixture as a buffer between the meat and the potato struck me as so weird. But I think it is a way to add another flavor profile as well as using the fat layer to protect the crunchy crust from any sogginess from moisture within.

Making thin enough potato cakes to encapsulate the lamb seems nearly impossible to me, but I’m sure with enough practice it would be. The bright greenness of the beans offsets any grease from the entree. The red pepper sauce also cut the fat and provided a nice sweet and salty counterpoint to the light gamey character of the lamb. I would eat this anytime, anyplace…

Next we go to Azerbaijan, where you will learn about the history of the many names of eggplant…whether you want to or not.

 

 


Roast lamb in a potato fritter jacket

Serves: 4

14-20 oz Lamb fillets ( about 4 fillets)

  • 18 oz Potatoes (russet)

  • 5 oz Chicken breast

  • 2 Red peppers (pureed)

  • 11 oz Green beans

  • Tabasco sauce

  • 1 pinch Sugar

  • 1 tbsp Cornstarch

  • 3.5 oz Cream (cold)

  • 1 piece Egg

  • 1 tbsp Basil pesto

  • 1 tbsp Butter

  • Thyme (for garnishing)

 

Directions:

Peel the potatoes and either grate or cut length-wise into very fine strips. Salt well and leave to sit for about 5 minutes, then squeeze out the juice.

Add the nutmeg and cornstarch and make 8 thin patties from the mass (approx. 4.5”). Heat the vegetable oil, and place the patties into the pan, press flat and fry a golden brown.

Drain well on kitchen paper and, with a round cutter; cut pieces about 4” from the patties. Allow to cool.

For the stuffing, cut the chicken fillet into small cubes and mix with the cold cream, salt and egg. Push through a colander or sieve and spread some stuffing thinly onto 4 of the fritters.

Cut the lamb fillet into slices about ½” thick and season with the pesto, salt and pepper.

Place the fillets on the fritter and spread a thin layer of stuffing over the meat.

Spread the rest of the stuffing over the fritters and place these, stuffing side down, on the meat.

Press down and shape roundly over the top of the meat. In a teflon-lined pan, heat vegetable oil and fry the patties a golden brown on each side.

Place a rack into the roasting dish and put the meat on top. Roast for 10 minutes in a preheated, oven at 325 F. Remove and cover with foil. Allow to stand for 8 minutes.

In the meantime, simmer the juice from the peppers until it reduces to a third. Stir in 4 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, Tabasco sauce and sugar, making a thick sauce. Cook the beans al dente in salt water and toss in butter. Season with salt and pepper and arrange on warmed plates.

Cut the lamb in half, and arrange on the plates. Pour over sauce to serve. Garnish with thyme.

 

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One Response to “Austria, it’s not just Germany’s shoe…”


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