Sunday, 8 March 2015

Alchemy - Springtime, smoke and fire

A favorite tree died a year or so ago in the garden. It gave great shade during the Summer and stunning colour in the Autumn since we moved in. We finally decided to give up on any possible resurrection and so it was brought down and turned to logs and kindling. Today, being the first day we could spend in the garden this year, I decided to clean out the fire pit and use a few of the logs and burn off the twigs etc. to keep warm and to clear the rubbish. With a great bed of white ash and hot charcoal in the pit it seemed like a good time to begin the out-door cooking for 2015. I dug out my lodge pot and fixed it in the hot ash. In went some home made pancetta trimmings (the pancetta is drying in the conservatory and should be perfect by the end of March.)

Next, a half shoulder of lamb was seared on this very hot pan.

Next, I de-glazed the pan with 500ml of merlot, Added small onions, coarsely cut leeks, carrots and squash. sliced garlic, fresh herbs and seasoning.

500ml of stock and on with the lid for an hour or so. 

I had to top up the liquid a few times as the fire was hot. When the meat looked cooked (shrunk back on the bone) I steamed some sugar snap peas and purple sprouting broccoli ready for serving. The broccoli was placed in a vey hot oven for a few minutes with some grated cheddar and Parmesan long enough for it to melt. Meanwhile I added a tablespoon or two of maple syrup to the lodge pot to finish the sauce. The result was a wonderful, smokey meal and a great way to use the garden fire to create a memorable and tasty Sunday supper.

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