Friday, February 5, 2010

Cold weather food

We're in the dead of winter here in Chicago, and while it hasn't been that bad, it's still cold enough to warrant some good, cold weather comfort food. So, last week, a few friends came over and we all put together a nice winter meal of leg of lamb, polenta with broccoli raab, pine nuts, and sundried tomatoes, roasted root vegetables, cahldo verde, some berries with balsamic vinegar and mascarpone whipped cream for dessert, and plenty of wine. This dinner party also gave Abby a chance to test out a camera lens that she's borrowing from our friend, Archie.

We started with a some of Mike's cahldo verde, a Portuguese soup with potatoes, kale, and chorizo or linguica. Here's the chorizo, served on the side.
and here's the soup.
I was thinking of just roasting the leg of lamb, but the butcher I got it from butchered the leg so poorly that I decided to go for a braise instead. Here's the braising vessel, our dutch oven, sealed off to keep everything inside during the cooking process.
And here's what the lamb looked like after a good sear (~8 minutes on medium high heat) and 7 to 8 hours in the oven at 275.
You can strain and degrease the braising liquids, reduce it a bit, and serve it with the lamb. Polenta is a great accompaniment for braised dishes since it soaks up all of the braising liquid.
Mike also whipped up a little brocolli raab dish to serve on top of the polenta,
and we also made some roasted root vegetables (celeriac, turnips, carrots, and parsnips).
Finally, here's a couple pics of the berry dessert that another one of our guests put together.

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