Time For Our Annual Easter Feast!
This has become an annual tradition: a roasted leg of lamb provencal-style, thanks to the incredible Chef/Author Patricia Wells!
I am already in miss en place mode on this Easter Sunday – and here is the menu that I just posted on our chalkboard:
Pity about that Bunny, but you get the idea – a provencal feast that I have made in years past, and here are the pictures to prove it!
Making “Gigot D’Agneau”, inspired by Cookbook Author and Food Writer Patricia Wells!
Alex and I got the chance to cook with Patricia at her house in Provence – an adventure of a lifetime!
Yes, this is me stealing a bite of food under the watchful eye of Patricia Wells.
It was all part of a cooking adventure with the Author, who hosts cooking classes at her house in Provence, France.
It inspired me to make my family her classic roast lamb shank, which is baked on top of potatoes, onion and tomatoes so that the incredible juices from the lamb soak into the gratin!
First Up: “Gigot D’Agneau”
Let make a roasted lamb shank with provencal vegetables! First, preheat your oven to 400.
Rub the bottom of your roasting pan with a split piece of garlic. I also lay down a dozen slivers of butter to help the potatoes carmelize…then slice your potatoes and lay them down as the base of your dish…
On top of the potato I spread sliced onion…instead of chopped, I like them spread out as rings, and then I add chopped garlic. The amount is up to you…but a head of garlic and one large onion worked for me…
Next, slice tomatoes over the top of the onion – I used three tomatoes total, and I cut them in a larger chunk as they will melt down a bit during cooking – and then I season the dish with a healthy amount of salt, pepper and fresh thyme…
I used a leg of lamb that was just under six pounds. I got mine bone-in, which I think helps the flavor of the meat…Put the lamb shank on an oven rack, which you put directly over the vegetables…season the lamb with salt, pepper and fresh rosemary…
I roasted the lamb for about an hour and fifteen minutes…the thicker part was medium rare and the smaller side of the shank was medium, so it worked well for everyone!
I removed the lamb to a cutting board and let it rest for fifteen minutes – and here is what that beautiful potato-onion-tomato looked like underneath….
As good as this is, I also am making the legendary Chez L’Ami Louis Potato Cake from Paris.
Patricia Wells has the entire recipe, but here’s a primer: you slice potatoes and cook them in a frying pan with butter or oil:
After pan cooking them for twenty minutes, you press them tightly down then bake them in that same pan for 25 minutes, and – using shot pad of course, you take it out of the oven and flip it onto the serving dish – and you get this:
Add raw chopped garlic and parsley and you are ready to go! But what about a side dish? How about this?
Chef Thomas Keller’s Ratatouille!
Yes, the legendary French Laundry Chef also created a ratatouille recipe for the animated film, and I make as well!
I begin by making a roasted red bell pepper sauce, which I spread on the bottom of a gratin dish….
Then I cut yellow squash, green zucchini and eggplant with a mandolin and make a circular pattern like this:
I actually enjoy laying this dish out, with the vegetables like casino chips! And when it comes out of the oven, it looks like this:
You can get the entire recipe for Thomas Keller’s Ratatouille dish by clicking here:
Finally, I made a dish of provencal carrots and garlic with basil….you sear the carrots in a pan with butter for ten minutes, then add sliced garlic and cook slowly – and fold fresh basil in….guests can top the dish if they want with slivered black olives at the table…
Cooking With Patricia Wells!
As I said, these recipes come from Patricia Wells.
Patricia and her husband Walter Wells own a home in Provence, right outside the small village of Vaison la Romaine…
The couple open up their house several weeks a year for cooking classes – one that my wife Alex and I were able to attend in 2009. We spent 5 days with Patricia, Walter and ten other participants, a terrific group of people who shared our passion for food and adventure.
Here we are with Patricia, posing in front of the Julia Child’s provencal stove – a personal gift to Patricia from Julia:
This was a cooking adventure of a lifetime, and it inspired me to cook with a provencal feel, like Gigot D’Agneau! Here is a look at our cooking adventure:
And since we were in Provence, we took time to explore the wine region as well!
Here is a look at our trip through the provencal wine region:
Time for a great meal and glass of wine!