Tag Archives: garlic

Recipe: Greek Spiced Rack of Lamb

6 Apr

Rack of lamb is one of those cuts of meat that isn’t cheap, but it’s pricey for good reason. It’s tender, flavourful, quick cooking and looks incredibly impressive when cut into chops after roasting. Serve this as a main course for a dinner party, or when cut into individual ‘meat lollypops’ and served with a mint yogurt dipping sauce, it would also make a great appetizer.

Greek Spiced Rack of Lamb

Greek Seasoned Rack of Lamb | baconavecbacon.com

1 rack of lamb, frenched
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons Cavender’s greek seasoning blend
olive oil

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse and dry the rack of lamb. Slice the garlic in two and rub the meat well with the garlic pieces. If you’d like, you can slice the garlic thinly, cut a few slits in the meat and stuff them with garlic. Next sprinkle the Greek seasoning liberally over all of the meat, back and front and rub into the meat.

In an oven safe frying pan, heat a few teaspoons of oil on medium high. When it’s hot, add the meat and sear on all sides until a nice brown crust forms. When all sides have been seared, place the pan into the oven and bake for 22-25 minutes or until the lamb reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees (for medium rare).

Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

 

 

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Recipe: Crock Pot Red Wine & Garlic Braised Lamb Shanks

5 Mar

Oh lamb. You’re so cute and so delicious. For those of you who think eating the fuzzy little critters is evil, please stop reading now. For those of you who are salivating, please read on.

This is my ‘go to’ for gourmet when you don’t have time for gourmet. Unlike most crock pot recipes that call for ‘fake’ ingredients (like canned soup or velveeta), this one is pretty much all natural and the results are impressive enough for company. The best part is whether you make it ahead or all in the same day, it really only takes two 15 minute intervals of effort. It’s a great option for a weeknight dinner party or a ‘dine-in’ date night. You’ll even have half a bottle of red wine left over to enjoy with it.

Crock Pot Red Wine & Garlic Braised Lamb Shanks

Crockpot Lamb Shanks | baconavecbacon.com

3-4 lamb shanks, defrosted
1 onion, quartered
10 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
olive oil
1 1/2 cups red wine
1 packet of pot roast spice (you’ll find this in the spice mix aisle)
1 packet of beef base
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf

In a frying pan, heat a couple of teaspoons of olive oil. Season the shanks well with the salt, pepper and Worcestershire and then sear well on all sides. Dump the remaining ingredients  the bottom of the crock pot and stir. (If you want to be fancy, you can deglaze the bottom of the frying pan with the wine.) Add the seared meat and then add water to the top of the shanks. Cook on low for 8 hours.

If you’d like, you can refrigerate the shanks (in the crock) overnight and skim the fat before reheating. If you’re going to eat them immediately, ladle two cups of the broth into a measuring cup and let the fat settle to the top. Pour the fat off carefully and then place into a small saucepan with 1 packet of beef base and some freshly ground pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil and then whisk in a slurry of a couple of teaspoons of cornstarch and water. This will form a rich gravy to serve with your lamb.

I like to serve the shanks on a bed of mashed potatoes. All the better to enjoy the gravy with.

Recipe: Garlic Baked Chicken & Potatoes

9 Feb

This dish is so cheap, so easy and so full of flavour that it’s hard for it not to become a favourite. It’s based on traditional Lebanese flavourings called ‘toum, zait w haamid’. Translated from Arabic that’s garlic (toum), zait (oil), haamid (lemon). Here, this tangy combo covers potatoes and cheap bone-in chicken (legs & thighs work best) for a hearty winter meal. It’s probably not a good pick for Valentine’s Day, but we really like it.

Garlic Baked Chicken & Potatoes

Garlic Baked Chicken & Potatoes | baconavecbacon.com

6-10 pieces of bone-in chicken
3-5 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced in 1/2 inch thick discs
20 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 cup lemon juice
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt
1 teaspoon shawarma style spices (available at your friendly neighbourhood Arabic grocery store)

This recipe is easily scaled to fit your family. Depending on how much chicken you’re using, use either a 9×9 or a 9×13 baking dish. Arrange the chicken in the bottom and make cuts in the flesh with a sharp knife. (This will help the sauce to soak in later.) Rub the chicken with a couple of tablespoons of oil, salt and the shawarma style spices.

Take the sliced and peeled potatoes and zap them in the microwave for 4 minutes. This helps to soften them so they’ll be done at the same time as the chicken. Then toss them on top of the chicken and salt lightly.

Throw the dish into the oven and bake at 400 degrees for about 50 minutes.

In the meantime, break out your blender or food processor. Add the garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and blitz the garlic until smooth (4-5 minutes). Add the lemon juice and blitz for another 4-5 minutes.

When the chicken is done (use a meat thermometer to be sure) pour the sauce overtop of the potatoes and chicken and stir to cover all of the pieces. Switch the oven to broil and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes start to brown nicely.

Serve with a nice fresh salad.

Recipe: The (Spaghetti) Sauce

28 Nov

Once upon a time, there was a man who would only eat regular Prego brand tomato sauce. You know, that stuff that tastes like ketchup with a few flakes of oregano and basil? Yeah, I don’t get it either, but he loved the stuff. So much so that when I was making this beautiful from scratch meat sauce, he requested that I pick up a jar of Prego for his pasta. Well, there was none to be had at the grocery store so he deigned to try ‘The Sauce’ and his life was forever changed for the better.

That story is mostly true (hi Chad) and while this sauce might not change your life forever, it’s got depth of flavour that the canned stuff can’t touch and if you make a double or triple batch and freeze it in portions, it’s just as easy.

The Sauce

1 pound of ground beef
3 Italian sausages, casings removed
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
3 cans diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
3 teaspoons oregano
3 teaspoons basil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon sugar

In a large pot, heat the oil and add the onions, red pepper, salt and pepper. Sweat the vegetables until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and sweat it until it becomes fragrant. Add the ground beef and sausage and cook until brown. Add the remaining ingredients except for the sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for for an hour.

At this point those who prefer a smooth (vs. super chunky) sauce should break out their immersion blenders. Remove the bay leaf and whizz just enough to remove some of the large pieces. It should not be pureed.  Take this opportunity to taste the sauce and adjust the salt and add the sugar. You may need a bit more or less depending on how acidic the tomatoes are. Put the bay leaf back in.

Simmer at least another half hour but an additional hour and a half to two hours is ideal.

The sauce can be cooled and frozen for 6 months or more and reheated in the microwave. It also keeps in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Recipe: Greek Yogurt & Dill Dip

29 Jun

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve seen the commercial for Frank’s Red Hot where they have a sweet grandma say, “I put that shit on everything!” Well,  I put THIS shit on everything.

I’ve used this dip/sauce on all kinds of raw veggies, on chips, on grilled or panfried fish, on grilled meats (usually kofta or souvlaki but it’d be great on lamb or even chicken). The best part, is that there is ZERO fat. Yes, ZERO. And it’s got flavour for days. This makes a big batch, but since it’s really just throwing stuff into some yogurt, you can mix up as little or as much as you need.

Greek Yogurt & Dill Dip

1 tub 0% Greek yogurt (yes, it’s gotta be the Greek stuff)
3 tbsp fresh dill, chopped (I use the kind that comes in a tube)
3 tbsp chopped garlic (I get the pre- chopped jarred kind)
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt

Mix. Enjoy.

That’s it. Seriously.

It is better if it gets to sit for a bit and meld flavours. Feel free to crank up (or tone down) the garlic factor or swap the dill for another herb that you like better (dried mint’s a good choice). Keeps nicely for days in the fridge.