Livers and Lamb

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Photographs of liver are rarely attractive, whether raw or cooked. I know that I've posted all manner of viscera and charcouterie already, but I'll spare you all this one. Besides, everyone already knows what liver looks like. Chicken livers are another one of those foods that have a loyal constituency. People who really like them are delighted to find them on the menu. We have two ways to serve them. This time they are sauteed with onions, tossed with chunks of fresh avocados and finished with our Bourbon brown sauce. The other method is to toss them in flour and Cajun salt and to fry them in bacon grease with onions. Rosalynn Carter is fond of this recipe.

Lamb is a traditional dish for both spring and Easter and I like it to appear briefly, at least, at this time of year. We'll be grilling boneless legs and serving them with yet another variation of brown sauce, this one enriched with roasted garlic. I guess that the next week or so will be a sort of brown sauce fiesta, for it appears also with mushrooms on the hanger steak. The foundation for all three of these sauces is the same- slowly roasted veal bones. The joints and knuckles are best because they contain cartilage for protein. Lots of marrow is also good. You must turn them from time to time. Try to cook them until they are a pretty reddish brown all over, then put them into a stock pot and cover them with cool water. Deglaze your roasting pan with red wine, and add this to the pot. Simmer on low heat for at least three days, with vegetable scraps that you might generate as you cook other things. When the stock is rich and pretty and fragrant, strain and degrease it. Reduce red wine and red wine vinegar with chopped shallots to almost a syrup in a large pot. Add the veal stock and reduce it over high heat by about three quarters. Add more red wine and reduce again. Add heavy cream and reduce yet again. Add Bourbon or brandy and boil for just a minute or two more. Strain out the shallots, cool and degrease again. Needless to say this is absolutely delicious at this point, but you can see why people rarely make it at home any more.

This week saw visits from old friends from the food world. Kim Sunee, food editor of Cottage Living was here for a book signing. John T. Edge (and his son Jesse), director of the Southern Foodways Alliance was here visiting family. We had a birthday party for Kim, and I was able to meet John and Jesse at the Carrboro Farmers' Market on its first full day of the season. I made the almond saffron cake from Kim's book for her signing party. It is delicious and very pretty. I still have a roll of almond paste left, so it may appear for one night only on our dessert menu- probably on a Sunday. Also, I've decided to serve one more corned ham after all, on Easter Saturday. Then we'll have a regular baked "Sunday" ham on Easter morning as well as our usual country ham. If only I could figure out a way to serve ham with brown sauce.

I hope everyone got a chance to see the March 5th of the Carrboro Free Press with its great stuff about Cliff and his market. The photos were fabulous.

posted by Bill Smith at 9:10 PM


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