Easter Message & RecipesOpen SpaceEvents

Dear Friends,
When was the last time you checked your inbox and did not see a “COVID-19 Update” email?  Today, I am NOT writing this to let you know that our studio team is working safely and remotely. We are. I am NOT writing to let you know that projects are still on schedule and weekly reports are headed out today. They are. I am simply writing this to connect. 
 
This weekend, families all over the world will celebrate Easter a little differently. There will be no large, extended-family gatherings and no giant egg hunts. Attending church will look different this year. Even CBS-TV will resort to showing re-runs of past Masters finals.
 
Change can be stressful. So, while we cannot gather together, we can still gather around the table. No matter how many you have in your family as you shelter-in-place this weekend, please join our families (in spirit) as we celebrate. 
 
Many of you already know how important cooking is to me. So, I thought I would share an Easter recipe from our studio family to yours. I’ll be preparing this dish on Sunday and opening several good bottles of wine as I count my blessings...   
  
For me, Easter is all about lamb. That is partly because my entire family is obsessed with lamb ragu, especially when it is served over risotto. I know, it’s not exactly the traditional Easter preparation, but it’s our go-to recipe for special occasions.
 
For all of you history buffs, eating lamb on Easter actually has its roots in the early Passover observances, well before Christianity. Jewish families painted their doorposts with lamb’s blood so that God would “pass over” their homes while carrying out the punishment. Accustomed to eating roast lamb on Passover, the families who converted to Christianity eventually continued the tradition at Easter.
 
So, while I am busy eating Deb Van Plew’s amazing southern deviled eggs on Sunday afternoon, I will also be braising lamb, which works perfectly with David Rosengarten’s Risotto Milanese recipe (you can find that on Google). I will toast you all. Happy Easter.
 
 
Lamb Ragu
2 pounds of lamb shoulder (cut into chunks)
Equal parts yellow onion, carrot, and celery, diced for soffritto
6–8 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 glass of red wine
1 cup of veal or beef stock
1 large can of San Marzano tomatoes (hand-crushed)
Bay leaves, fresh rosemary and thyme
              
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Season the lamb with salt and pepper and brown in a heavy Dutch oven lined with olive oil. Remove lamb and cook soffritto until softened and caramelized, at least ten minutes. Add garlic until fragrant and tomato paste until caramelized, one or two minutes each. Deglaze with red wine and reduce liquid by half. Add stock and tomatoes and herbs (tying herbs together). Return lamb to pot, and braise at 325 degrees for 2½ hours. Shred lamb as needed with a fork and serve ragu over pasta, gnocchi or risotto.
 
Cheers, and enjoy!
William
 
 
Easter Extra from the kitchen of Deb Van Plew:
Southern Deviled Eggs
 
•             ½ of a cup of mayonnaise
•             2 tablespoons of 2% milk
•             1 teaspoon of dried parsley flakes
•             ½ of a teaspoon of dill weed
•             ½ of a teaspoon of minced chives
•             ½ of a teaspoon of ground mustard
•             ¼ of a teaspoon of salt
•             ¼ of a teaspoon of paprika
•             1/8 of a teaspoon of garlic powder
•             1/8 of a teaspoon of pepper
•             12 large hard-boiled eggs
•             Minced fresh parsley and additional paprika, for garnish
 
In a small bowl, combine the first 10 ingredients.  Cut the eggs lengthwise in half; remove yolks and set whites aside.  In another bowl, mash yolks and add the mayonnaise mixture, mixing well. Spoon or pipe filling into egg whites. Sprinkle with parsley and additional paprika.  Refrigerate until serving.

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