I had an idea the other night for a great lamb chop dish, and we wanted to celebrate, so I rushed out yesterday to get some chops. But I was foiled by the lack thereof, so I settled for a piece of boneless leg. By the time I got to making dinner, it was too late to do anything fancy, so I rolled the meat in herbes de Provence, olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic and tossed it in the oven. On the rack below, fresh-dug potatoes with leeks, garlic, and rosemary. It’s funny- lately I’ve really been getting into playing with super-traditional English food. In part it’s because of the season, but my Dad is English and though I haven’t been there in ages I’ve been thinking about it more recently. Not exactly a culinary Mecca- until recently, in London mostly- but it’s fun to tweak the meat and potatoes thing, and the breakfasts are rich material for invention.
While all that was cooking, I made green mash and a tapenade variant (olives, yogurt, preserved lemon.) And when the meat came out, the pan drippings inspired me to make a gravy of sorts with the tapenade- so I stirred in some flour, browned it, then added wine and tapenade to make a thick dark purple-brown sauce of extraordinary awesomeness. Strong flavors, united by hot lamb fat, and with a gorgeous velvety texture. My fantastic little boy ate all his mash, and most of ours, before he would deign to eat any meat and potatoes. Then he discovered the crispy leek pieces and roasted cloves of garlic, and switched over to those until they were all gone.
While we beamed with pride at just the really unbelievably amazing job we’ve done raising him, we lubricated our self-satisfied smiles with a 1999 Guigal Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It’s still a baby, with strong tannins still dominating, but underneath there’s beautiful funk and fruit; in another 5-10 years all the components should be much more seamlessly intertwined. So the others stay out of sight until then.