Milk Street Menu (Ep 110)

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No-Sear Lamb or Beef and Chickpea Stew

Start to finish: 2 hours and 15 minutes (40 minutes active)

Serves 4

CHOPPING GARLIC produces harsh flavors. We prefer to use whole cloves, which lend a subtler flavor. We used the simmering stew to cook a whole head, turning it tender, silky and mellow. We tried dried and canned chickpeas but didn’t taste a big difference, so we opted for the ease of canned. We like the flavor and texture of lamb shoulder, but boneless beef chuck worked, too (but needs an extra cup of water and must cook longer — 90 minutes total — before adding the carrots). A dollop of yogurt on top is great as is, but we also liked it with a bit of chopped cilantro, lemon juice and a pinch of cayenne added. Lamb shoulder can vary in fattiness; be sure to trim it well to avoid greasy broth.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1¼ pounds boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into ¾-inch pieces
  • 1 head garlic
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6 cups water
  • ½ pound carrots (2 to 3 medium) peeled, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces
  • 15½-ounce can chickpeas, drained
  • 3 ounces baby spinach (about 3 cups)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more to garnish
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Whole-milk yogurt, to serve (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

In a bowl, stir together the paprika, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Reserve half of the spice mixture, then toss the lamb with the remaining spice mixture until well coated. Set aside. Cut off and discard the top third of the garlic head, leaving the cloves intact.

In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened and just beginning to brown around the edges, 5 to 8 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and the reserved spice mixture, then cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the water and bring to a boil over high heat, then add the lamb and garlic head, cut side down. Cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar, and reduce the heat to low.

Simmer for 1 hour, adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle bubble. Add the carrots and continue to simmer, partially covered, for another 30 minutes.

Using tongs, remove the garlic head and squeeze over the stew to release the cloves. Stir in the chickpeas and spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the cilantro and lemon juice, then season the stew with salt and pepper. Serve, topped with yogurt and sprinkled with cilantro.

Don’t use old spices. The back bone of the dish is the bold, vibrant spice mixture. Make sure your’s are no more than a year old. Flat-leaf parsley can be substituted for the cilantro.


Caramel Oranges

Start to finish: 40 minutes, plus chilling

Serves 6

SUBSTITUTING FRESH orange juice for the water in a traditional caramel produced a more complex citrus flavor. We added only a portion of the juice to start so the sugar would caramelize faster, then finished with the rest. Swirling the butter in at the end helped cool and stabilize the sauce, and added just enough richness. We began developing this recipe using two cinnamon sticks, but also enjoyed the unique flavor of star anise. Both will work, as will 6 lightly crushed green cardamom pods. We liked the oranges served with ice cream, thick yogurt or pound cake, and topped with toasted, chopped nuts.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 medium navel or Cara Cara oranges (about 4½ pounds) or a combination
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) white sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks or star anise pods
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter

INSTRUCTIONS

Juice 2 of the oranges to yield ¾ cup juice. (If 2 oranges don’t yield enough juice, add water to measure ¾ cup total.) Set aside.

Slice off the top and bottom ½ inch from each of the remaining 6 oranges. Stand each orange on one of its flat ends and use a sharp knife to cut down and around the fruit, following the contours of the flesh and peeling away all the skin and white pith. Turn each orange on its side and thinly slice crosswise into rounds. In a 13-by-9-inch baking dish, arrange the rounds, slightly overlapping, in a single layer.

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, ¼ cup of the orange juice and the star anise. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat (this should take 2 to 3 minutes) and cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the sugar begins to color at the edges, another 3 to 5 minutes. (The bubbles should go from thin and frothy to thick and shiny.)

Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, swirling the pan often, until the sugar is coppery-brown, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the butter, then whisk until melted.

Add a splash of the remaining orange juice and whisk until smooth (the mixture will steam and bubble vigorously), then add the remaining orange juice and whisk until fully incorporated. (If the caramel separates and sticks to the bottom of the pan, return it to the heat and simmer until the hardened caramel dissolves.)

Pour the caramel evenly over the oranges, cover with plastic wrap, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 6 hours.

Allowing the caramel to drip off into the baking dish, use a slotted spoon to transfer the oranges to a serving platter or individual plates. Remove and discard the star anise or cinnamon from the caramel, then whisk to recombine and mix in any juices. Pour the caramel over the oranges and serve.


Harissa

Start to finish: 15 minutes

Makes about 1½ cups

WE TRIED THE SPICES and chilies toasted in a dry skillet and fried in oil. Both methods heightened their flavors, but oil was best because the ingredients’ flavor compounds are oil-soluble. Adding the garlic to the mix mellowed its bite, and leaving the cloves whole ensured they wouldn’t burn (and meant less prep work). For the acid, we favored white balsamic vinegar for its mild acidity and slight sweet- ness. Lemon juice or white wine vinegar sweetened with a pinch of sugar is a good substitute. Greek Yogurt-Harissa Dip works well as an appetizer with crudité and crackers or as a sandwich spread with cold cuts, leftover chicken or grilled lamb. Harissa-Cilantro Vin- aigrette dressing pairs well with assertive greens or it can be drizzled over roasted beets, cauliflower or broccoli. It’s also a terrific sauce for salmon. Use the Spicy Harissa Dip- ping Sauce any time you’d reach for ketchup.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 dried New Mexico chilies, stemmed, seeded and torn into rough pieces
  • ½ cup neutral oil, such as canola, rice bran or grapeseed
  • 6 large garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 cup drained roasted red peppers, patted dry
  • ½ cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, patted dry
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Cayenne pepper

For Greek Yogurt-Harissa Dip: (makes about 2 cups)

  • 2 cups whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons harissa
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, mint or a combination
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

For Harissa-Cilantro Vinaigrette: (makes about ½ cup)

  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons harissa
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • Hot sauce

For Spicy Harissa Dipping Sauce: (makes about ½ cup)

  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons harissa
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • Hot sauce

INSTRUCTIONS

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the chilies, oil, garlic, caraway and cumin. Cook, stirring often, until the garlic is light golden brown and the chilies are fragrant, about 5 minutes. Carefully transfer the mixture to a food processor and add the red peppers, tomatoes, vinegar and ¾ teaspoon of salt. Process until smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice.

Season with salt and cayenne to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

To make the Greek Yogurt-Harissa Dip:
In a bowl, stir together the yogurt, harissa, herbs and sugar until smooth. Sea- son with salt and pepper.

To make the Harissa-Cilantro Vinaigrette: 
In a bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, harissa, water, honey and ¼ tea- spoon of salt. Add the oil and whisk until emulsified. Season with additional salt and pepper, then stir in the cilantro.

To make the Spicy Harissa Dipping Sauce:
In a bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, harissa and ketchup until smooth. Season the mixture with hot sauce, to taste.

PHOTO CREDIT: CONNIE MILLER OF CB CREATIVES