Cookbook 171: Tasty Pride

I wanted to love this cookbook, I certainly love the idea, Pride and recipes – what’s not to love?

Anyway Tasty Pride, edited by Jesse Szewczyk is a collection of recipes from queer activists and chefs to celebrate Pride. I bought it to support my local queer bookshop Hares and Hyenas (Melburnians – support them, they are awesome) and because cookbooks. Sadly I was really disappointed by the book. For starters there aren’t a lot of recipes in the book that I would cook – that’s personal taste – and of the ones that I would cook, not a lot of them have accessible ingredients here in Melbourne. That’s because the book is published for the USA, and US ingredients aren’t necessarily available in Australia. Oh and US imperial measurements because… why?

I only cooked two dishes from the book, one successful and the second only successful because I used my existing cooking know-how to make it work. Clearly no Triple Testing AWW kitchen was available for this book. As many of the recipes were submitted by chefs, there is also an expectation that you have access to some non-standard cooking equipment (meat injectors anyone?). I was tempted to cook a dessert from the book, but they were too complicated for me to juggle alongside cooking the other two dishes. Overall I give this 2 stars out of 5. The dishes were tasty, the idea of the book inspiring, but everything else made this too hard.

The recipes have been converted to metric (except for the cups, because just use metric cups and you’ll be fine, except where you won’t because the recipe is broken)

Roasted Leg of Lamb (with Tangerine Juice and Calvados)

Ingredients:

  • 1 small boneless leg of lamb (1.2kg)
  • 4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp tangerine or orange zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh tangerine or orange juice
  • 1/4 cup Calvados, Cognac, or Armagnac (or just brandy seriously)
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, for basting (optional)

Method:

  1. If the lamb is already tied, remove and discard the strings to open up the meat. Season the lamb evenly with the salt on all sides. Push the lamb back into it’s original even, compact shape and tie with fresh kitchen twine. Set aside at room temperature for an hour, or refrigerate overnight. If refrigerating, let the lamb sit at room temperature for about 1 hour before roasting so it comes to about 10C at the centre.
  2. Set a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat the oven to 200C
  3. In a small bowl, mix the zest and juice and the brandy. Using a meat injector (or for those of you like me don’t have a meat injector, prick the lamb about 6 times with the tip of a pairing knife, making about 12mm deep incisions. Add the lamb and about 3 tbsp of the citrus/brandy mixture to a large zip-lock plastic bag, seal and press out all the air, then massage the marinade into the lamb), inject about 3 tablespoons of the mixture evenly into the lamb in about six separate places, choosing the thickest parts of the meat. Set aside the remaining mixture.
  4. Place the lamb in a rimmed non-reactive oven-proof dish small enough to fit without leaving a lot of empty space, such as a 9 inch (23cm) skillet or ceramic baking dish. Roast the lamb, basting every 15 minutes with the reserved citrus/brandy mixture (tie the rosemary sprigs together with kitchen twice to use as a basting brush, if desired – or just use a spoon and gently pour over, whatever works for you), until the internal temperature of the thickest part reaches 49C for medium-rare, about 45 minutes total. (For medium, cook to a temperature of 53C).
  5. Remove the lamb from the oven, tent loosely with foil, and let rest in a warm place for 15 – 20 minutes. Carve into thin slices and arrange on a platter. Drizzle some of the roasting juices before serving.

Notes on this recipe:

  • This recipe is extremely expensive. Just think, lamb isn’t as common in the US as it is in Australia, the French varieties of brandy, the meat injector, the meat thermometer (though that isn’t as expensive as I thought and now I own two, one for deep frying/confectionery making and one for the BBQ). This isn’t a dish for most queers who are poor. This is a dish for the rich.
  • It was incredibly tasty all the same. I’m sure it would be tasty with any kind of liqueur that goes well with orange, but if you really want to make this dish and can’t afford expensive French brandies, just go with cheap brandy, it’ll be fine.
  • I did think that the marinade’s sweetness would be too much and it wasn’t. Cooking the boneless lamb leg was also easy and something I should try again.

Bangers and Mash

(sorry for the bad photo)

Ingredients:

Onion Gravy:

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 medium brown onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 cup dry red wine (such as Merlot)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mash:

  • 900g potatoes that are good for mashing
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature (or salted, it doesn’t matter)
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bangers:

  • 1.5 cups dried brown lentils (rinsed under cold water)
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt (or less to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Make the onion gravy: Melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until the onions are caramelised, stirring occasionally, 20 – 25 minutes. Stir in the flour and cover for 2 minutes more, until light golden brown. Pour in the wine, vegetable stock, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce and stir to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer until the gravy thickens, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm until ready to serve.
  2. While the gravy is simmering, prepare the lentils for the bangers: In a large saucepan, cover the lentils with cold water by 5cm and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the lentils are very tender, 25 – 30 minutes. Drain well.
  3. Meanwhile, make the mash: Add the potatoes to a large saucepan. Cover with cold water, then bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the potatoes are tender, 10 – 15 minutes. Drain and allow to steam dry for 1 minute. Mix in the butter, milk, and salt and pepper to taste. Mash until fluffy and smooth. Cover to keep warm until ready to serve.
  4. Make the bangers: In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 6 minutes (hah, try about 10 – 15 minutes). Add the garlic and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cumin and cayenne, then remove the pan from the heat.
  5. Line a baking sheet with foil and grease generously with olive oil.
  6. In a large bowl, mash together the lentils, onion mixture, breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme, eggs, salt and pepper. Form the mixture into sausage sized patties, about 10cm long and 4cm wide, this should make about 16 sausages. Place on the prepared baking sheet and brush the tops with more olive oil.
  7. Turn the grill to high.
  8. Grill the bangers, flipping once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.
  9. When ready to serve, warm the mash and onion gravy if needed. Mound a generous portion of potatoes on each plate and top with sauces and gravy. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Notes on this recipe:

  • Not sure if you noticed, but this recipe requires you to use 4 burners on your oven at once. That is a lot for one dish – oh and then a grill – so you need to have one of those, and they are getting rarer and rarer these days. Also the timing is all over the place, and to cook all of this at once you need 2 people at least.
  • Let’s talk the gravy. There is no way in hell that 2 tablespoons (metric or imperial) is going to thicken 5 cups (metric or imperial) of liquid. And surprisingly it didn’t! My preferred bechamel sauce recipe uses half a cup of flour for a litre (4 cups) of milk. Yes that’s too thick for gravy, but you get the idea. To make the gravy actually gravy thickness, I added cornflour that had been dissolved in water (a slurry if you will), about 1 tablespoon of gravy in 2 tablespoons of water, at a time until it thickened. This recipe also makes more gravy than anyone needs, so feel free to cut everything in half and you’ll probably still have enough.
  • The potato mash was fine, boring, regular potato mash. Could have been more interesting (garlic or cheese for example).
  • The sausages/bangers were… needing something, maybe ground coriander, ground mustard, paprika… something.

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