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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Vij's Hat Trick

Back when dirt was new I received a recipe in the mail from my mom for Vij's fenugreek cream lamb popsicles (I had given her Vij's first cookbook for Christmas that year, and for my birthday the following January she had taken me to Vij's for this dish). At the time, I remember looking at it and thinking there would be absolutely no way I would ever make these, it was wayyyyy too much trouble. How things change. And also, since I've been focusing on economy, I figured out a way to make an additional two dishes out of the products of this one, so we have the first hat trick on Crass Cuisine.

If you are from Vancouver, you are no doubt familiar with Vikram Vij and Meeru Dhalwala and their amazing restaurants, Vij's and Rangoli. If you aren't, they are the leaders of modern Indian cuisine on the West Coast, and have many, many faithful guests at their restaurants, readers of their cookbooks and purchasers of their locally-roasted herbs. I myself enjoy all three.

So, Vij's lamb popsicles. I love lamb so any opportunity to make it makes me happy. I decided to make this dish for the C-bomb for one of our traditional Friday night dinner, movie and wine dates. What's better than that?

Vij's Lamb Popsicles in Fenugreek Curry
(adjust quantities up and down depending on how many you are feeding)

For the popsicles:
2-3 French cut racks of lamb, bone cleaned down to the chop, cut into "popsicles" but cutting between each joint
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup grainy yellow mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt

For the curry cream:

2 tbsp crushed garlic
3 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp turmeric
1 litre whipping cream
1 tbsp dried Greek fenugreek leaves (Vij's sells this at Rangoli)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 lemon juice
1/4 tsp paprika

Mix white wine, mustard and salt together in a large bowl, then add the popsicles. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours before cooking.

In a separate bowl, mix together the whipping cream, salt, paprika, cayenne, fenugreek flakes and lemon juice.

In a medium-sized heavy pot, saute the garlic in the canola oil. Once the garlic is golden in colour, add the turmeric, stir and heat for one minute. Add the whipping cream mixture, stir and heat on low to mediu, heat for a few minutes. Grill the popsicles just before you are ready to serve your meal. Pour the cream curry over the grilled popsicles, or use it as a dipping sauce.

I served mine by grilling potato wedges, placing the popsicles on top and pouring the curry cream over top:

This meal is so decadent you will want to eat slowly, savouring every ridiculous flavour. There was lots of curry cream left over, so the next day I browned some chicken breasts and finished cooking them in the mixture:

I served over rice and with some fresh chopped cilantro (2nd goal in our hat trick):

And? I saved the bones of our lamb rack, washed them, and the next day made lamb stock:

Homemade Lamb Stock

Bones of leftover lamb dish, 1-2 rack bones or equivalent
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 scrubbed carrots, cut into quarters
1 parsnip or 2 celery ribs, scrubbed and cut into quarters
2 small onions, peeled and quartered
3 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 Roma tomato, quartered
4 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered

Place all ingredients in a large pot and cover all with water by about 2 inches.

Allow to sit for 1 hour (this draws out the calcium). On the lowest setting on your stove, simmer the combo for 12-24 hours. Remove from heat and strain out vegetables and bones, allow to come to room temperature, then refrigerate or freeze.

I used mine to make wild mushroom risotto, and it was wonderfully tangy and flavourful. The apple cider vinegar makes this dish by bringing out the flavours. I got this recipe from this sweet lady at the Nourishing Gourmet, and it is delicious. Her blog is found here. So you see, each of these dishes had a domino effect on the other, which I completely love about cooking.

Thanks Vij and Meeru!


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  12. Remove from heat and strain out vegetables and bones,

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