Greetings from “Down Under” once again!
Wow, twenty-five weeks!! That means we have completed 13% of our adventure around the world! That’s 170 countries to go, for those who need to take their shoes off to keep track with us. With this twenty-fifth nation we have completed half a years worth of country cuisine 🙂 With this quarter country under our belts, we headed from the Caribbean to another island nation in another hemisphere— New Zealand!
THE DINNER: New Zealanders and Coloradans have something wonderful in common, guys— Lamb. Glorious Lamb. Now, despite the fact that my beautiful state of Colorado is known for it’s lamb, I, till now, have never had lamb. Something childhood related I think with with Shari Lewis and Lambchop that made me cringe at the thought of eating my fluffy childhood icon. Since this was basically the national food of New Zealand, the adventure was about to start. The Brovskys were going to eat lamb.
We settled on a very simple and traditional New Zealand Rack of Lamb with Sweet Potato Mash and Three Bean Ragout as side dishes. Let’s start with the fact the lamb was very easy to come by here. We can finish with the fact that all the ingredients were very available and fresh. Mom picked white sweet potatoes. We haven’t had those before either, and unlike their traditional orange cousins that we lather with marshmallows for American Thanksgiving, we were delighted to figure out that the white ones were significantly less sweet and more mellow. Really a treat with the lamb, and speaking of treats, the Three Bean Ragout paired so nicely…and was just sinful. I mean three types of beans that boil and stew in the fat of bacon and port wine for hours?? Yeah, what’s not to like there. It was sweet also, but the bacon and beans cut the sweetness of the wine. The lamb had a very soft texture. It reminded me a whole lot of pork chops, but melted in your mouth more. It was really wonderful. I’m sad (and happy) to report that I’ve been missing out all these years.
And for those curious, it was Halloween weekend, but I didn’t have any nightmares associated with eating Shari’s Lambchop puppet. Thankfully. I don’t know if I would have felt very guilty even if I had indeed had a nightmare anyway… lambchop tasted delicious 🙂
New Zealand Rack of Lamb with Sweet Potato Mash and Three Bean Ragout Recipe: http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/robert-irvine/new-zealand-rack-of-lamb-with-sweet-potato-mash-and-three-bean-ragout.html
OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:
Ease of prep and cooking: FIVE STARS out of five for this Dinner.
Let’s be completely honest: It maybe could get four and a half out of five, but it’s hard guys. First off, you don’t want to over cook or under cook the lamb. That’s a sin with any nice cut of meat, but would have made this one gamey and tough. Think, gnawing on shoe leather. Not good. So, you have to time that. While mashing potatoes (not super difficult in nature) but it requires good timing of the meal. That’s a skill. You have to start oven roasting the sweet potatoes far before any of the other things; if you forget the whole timing of the meal if off and the mash won’t be ready with the ragout and the roast. Then the ragout… that requires making a demi-glace. That’s French/British cooking speak for “really intensively baby sat sauce that will taste like it comes from the heavens” and it’s truly that. So totally worth having to make sure you’re stirring it and adding things at the right time.
Overall, it was just a whole lot of moving parts, that in the end played wonderfully together. It was probably the hardest meal we’ve made (at least for the Brovsky Adventure of 195 Sunday’s… It doesn’t compare to my mom tackling Julie Child’s boeuf bourguignon… that’s tough. That’s a 6 out of 5 stars, kiddos, and tastes like a million stars).
Don’t be scared though. It was just a lot to juggle, nothing intrinsically difficult.
Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five for the Dinner
At the time of the event, I was thinking maybe 4.75 stars for this one… and upon reflection of several days and general meals of typical weekdays filling in behind it, I have come to raise that to a five out of five. It was really GOOD. Like make me want left overs well into today (Thursday) GOOD. And that’s something that I think is spectacular about food in general. The craving a good meal leaves with you well after it’s gone. It’s truly the love of food. So I had to boost this one to a four. It sticks to your ribs and your soul. It was hearty and fall friendly and it’s just good meat-and-potatoes sort of cuisine that most Americans generally call comfort food. The sweetness of the mash and earthiness of the lamb, together they melded harmoniously.
Sadly, we won’t be posting a meal adventure for the Sunday coming up (November 9th) due to Command Central– the Brovsky Kitchen, undergoing a massive floor renovation! But don’t worry, we are staying the course and will remain on pace with 195 Sundays by doing DUEL countries on the following weekend!! That’s right Two countries (for #26 and #27) to make up for the break will be Egypt and Angola!
We will see you, cats, on the flip side!!
– L & K