Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lamb and Lentil Ragout with Cayenne

My mother would call this a real stick-to-your-ribs stew. It's a delicious Tunisian dish, rich, filling and easy to make - the perfect cold-weather meal.

2/3 cup virgin olive oil

1½ pounds boneless lamb neck and shoulder, trimmed of fat and cubed

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus extra for seasoning lamb

1 medium onion, peeled, chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups water or chicken stock

1¼ cup dried brown or green lentil, picked over and rinsed

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

In a medium-size, nonreactive casserole, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Brown the lamb and onion together until the onion is soft and golden, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes.

Mix the tomato paste with the water or stock, and add mixture, lentils, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, cayenne and garlic powder to the lamb. Stir and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce heat to very low. Simmer until lamb is very tender, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours.

Serves 4.

(Source: Adapted from Real Stew, by Clifford A. Wright)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Make a bid!

This is special, just for Join Us at the Table fans: The good and generous people of the Young School in St. Helena, Calif., have extended the their auction to benefit the school. The catalogue of offerings is amazing (and this is just a sampling):
  • a collection of wines from the Spring Mountain District appellation (Barnett, Cain, Fife, Charbay, Frias, Guillliams, Hollywood & Vine, Juslyn, Keenan, Marston, Newton, Paloma, Peacock, Pride, Schweiger, Sherwin, Smith-Madrone, Spring Mountain Vineyard, Stony Hill, Togni, York Creek Vineyards)
  • a “burgers & bubbles” feast, an Indian feast with Indian dancing
  • a private tour of Napa wineries conducted by Wine Bible author and CIA instructor Karen MacNeil
  • portrait of Barack Obama in jellybeans

  • a collection of wines from 23 “red hot mamas,” women winemakers in Napa Valley (the wines include Corison, Corra, Drinkward-Peschon, Failla (Anne-Marie Failla will be our guest on our Feb. 6 show), Rasmussen, Oakville Ranch, Phifer Pavitt and more)
  • a collection of wines from the Howell Mountain appellation (Cakebread, CADE, Dunn, Ladera, Lamborn, Outpost, Retro,Turley)

  • And you don't have to head to the West Coast to bid - you can bid by proxy -- even though the initial deadline has passed. Check out the entire catalogue. You have until 2 p.m. PST to submit a bid. Send a fax to 707 967.1522; call 707 235.5929 or email Good luck!