Wednesday, October 28, 2009

British Lamb Stew (PTC - DS)

I'm planning on a trip to London, England in a couple of weeks, so I figured I should try my hand on English cooking -- or rather, Tsuji Academy's interpretation of English cooking. Personal Trainer: Cooking has ten recipes listed under Great Britain, which is slightly startling (since English cooking isn't exactly all that well known), but intriguing. This British lamb stew turns out to be one of the easiest recipes in PTC.

Ingredients: How easy? Lamb leg meat, potatoes, onions, stock and seasonings. That's it, that's all. I used red-skinned boiling potatoes, a sweet onion, tetra-packed low-sodium beef broth and organic vegetable broth.

Techniques: Once again I wish PTC would be a bit more forward about its teaching techniques. The recipe requires you to cut up the lamb into chunks, then put them in a pot of water, bring to a boil -- and then turn the burner off, transfer the meat into a bowl of cold water for "washing," then pat dry on paper towels. I recognize the technique as parboiling, and I will say that it works rather well for getting rid of a lot of the scum that usually rises whenever I boil meat while making soup.

The other odd idea is that the recipe calls for the potatoes to be sliced into rounds, rather than cubed. I half suspect that Japanese potatoes must be about the size of golf balls; once again, proportions are going to have to be carefully double-checked by the cook during the preparation phase.

The actual cooking is easy-peasy: everything except what's reserved as a garnish into a pot for a couple of hours.

Results: This is one of the nicest things about lamb: it creates a very sophisticated flavour no matter what you do to it. It all worked incredibly well, with the moderate seasoning.

If you were using PTC to teach a kid how to cook, clearly this is one of the first recipes they should try. Simple chopping and boiling / simmering, simple ingredients, profound flavour for the steps you take.