This blog is two years old as of yesterday, so I thought I’d make something humble yet refined to exemplify my approach to home cooking where improvisation and aspirational experimentation dominate. So tonight, a lamb shoulder, braised for 7 hours in mirepoix (I fear we’re almost out) plus mustard, cumin, caraway and fennel seeds, juniper berries, pink peppercorns, preserved lemon, garlic, olives, herbes de Provence, a splash of wine, a shot of espresso, and water to come about halfway up.
Once ready, I removed the meat, strained the liquid, and reduced it some. While it was reducing, I made polenta. Thus lamb atop polenta, served with some of the liquid, and topped with a nice dollop of cranberry tapenade (cranberries, olives, jalapeño, ketchup, maple syrup) and a glass of 1998 Castello Banfi Brunello. The tapenade really meshed with the meat, on many levels, and the wine, though awkward, provided a nice counterpoint. It will be interesting to see how it tastes tomorrow and beyond, since 99s are drinking so well right now.