Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mobergs Had a Little Lamb, Little Lamb, Little Lamb

Time for another report on the Mobergs' weekly culinary adventures in ethnic cooking!  Susan was my assistant for tonight's Scandinavian Saturday supper, and we served up one delicious meal, if I do say so myself (and I do).  Susan was a good sport and allowed me to select a recipe featuring one of her non-favorite types of meat: lamb.  It turned out to be a great recipe that did marvelous things to the lamb (and, consequently, to our taste buds).  I'll tell you all about it . . . but, first, a tantalizing photo:

Let's take them one at a time, shall we?

lam med aprikoser og krydder ["lamb with apricots and spices"]

The recipe called for lamb shanks, but we substituted lamb loin chops (because that's what was available to us).  We browned the lamb in olive oil and then added cabernet sauvignon, dried apricots, shallots, garlic, a cinnamon stick, whole cloves, sprigs of rosemary, the zest of a lemon, and salt and pepper.  Towards the end of its long, gentle simmer, we added thick slices of carrot, parsnip, and turnip.  When it was done, we served it on a platter and garnished it with more lemon zest.

Lamb's distinctive taste can be off-putting and may be why Susan has bad memories of eating lamb as a child.  But the intense flavorings in this dish really took over, relegating the lamb flavor to a subtle undertone.  We cooked the vegetables in the sauce for twice as long as recommended, and still they were a little too al dente for our preference; but they, too, took on the flavors of wine and garlic and spices.  The lamb smelled delicious as it simmered on the stove this afternoon, and the kitchen still is filled with the perfume of that sauce . . . so good!

persille potetmos ["parsley mashed potatoes"]

We made mashed potatoes without the milk or cream that one usually would add.  Instead, the boiled potatoes got mashed with minced fresh parsley, olive oil, butter, and grated mace.  It's amazing how a simple ingredient like parsley can make such a difference; but it was fresh, and there was so much of it that it became one of the stars of the dish.  The mace, too, provided a twist to the typical mashed potato--kind of like nutmeg but, at the same time, kind of difficult to detect.  These potatoes were a great accompaniment to the lamb; the strong spices of the latter complemented the more subtle flavors in the former.

hvete rugbrød ["whole-wheat/rye bread"]

As part of our grocery shopping expedition this morning, Susan and I stopped at the farmer's market on the north end of the city where The Bread Lady was selling her variety of homemade baked breads.  She told us about the several kinds of bread out on her table but then mentioned another special kind that was still in the back of her vehicle because she had just baked it in the morning, and it hadn't had time to cool yet.  When she mentioned that it had rye in it, I asked to buy it, thinking of its appropriateness for a Scandinavian meal.  It's a hearty but moist bread made using both whole-wheat and rye flours and sweetened with molasses and ground-up raisins.  Nummy!  It went very well with the overall meal.

marengs med jordbær mynte saus ["meringues with strawberry/mint salsa"]

We beat together egg whites, sugar, and vinegar and then used a pastry bag and tip to pipe the mixture into coils on parchment paper, baking them at low heat to form dessert-plate-sized meringues.  We cut up strawberries and tossed them in strawberry/rhubarb wine with minced fresh mint leaves, leaving them to marinate until after supper.  We beat whipping cream, vanilla extract, and sugar to make my usual homemade whipped cream.  When we had finished the lamb and vegetables, we plated the dessert:

Firm meringue on the bottom, whipped cream above that, and mint-infused strawberries in wine drizzled on top of that.  Relatively simple to make, relatively simple ingredients--but all added together, they result in something divine.

So, what do you think of all that, Faithful Reader?

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