May 5th, 2009

food battle: lamb and leeks

lamb and leek battle

over the weekend, i engaged in deadly (not really) food battle against nick! if anyone reading this blog doesn’t know who nick is, you need to get to know him. nick runs an amazing blog called macheesmo, where among many other things, he allows other bloggers to challenge him to a cook-off. i was psyched to find out that he accepted my challenge and the ingredients were chosen: lamb and leeks. read my post, then find out what nick made, and then vote for your favorite at the end of this post.

lamb and leek battle

my head was swimming with possibilities, so i bought a few different cuts of lamb – shoulder and butterflied leg. i ended up combining them to make a great ground lamb mixture in the food processor. but what would i do with all this ground lamb?

lamb and leek battle

dish 1: lamb sliders with caramelized leek jam. i decided on a mediterranean flavored slider, so i mixed the lamb with feta cheese, mint and garlic.

lamb and leek battle

lamb and leek battle

lamb and leek battle

i quickly shaped the patties and set them in the fridge to firm up while i tackled the next dish.

lamb and leek battle

here’s a nice picture of leeks to break up the photos of raw lamb. next up…

lamb and leek battle

dish 2: lamb in a slanket with leek yogurt sauce. once i had the sliders going, i got inspired to make more lamb-ified bar food. lamb in a slanket are basically pigs in a blanket, except made of lamb, and indian-spiced. i mixed together ground corriander, curry powder, ginger, cinnamon, cliantro and a few other spices and shaped the lamb into mini-hot-dog shapes.

lamb and leek battle

these are about to get wrapped in pillsbury crescent roll dough.

lamb and leek battle

now the leeks! the first topping to make was the leek jam, which is leeks cooked down with butter and cream until it’s an incredibly thick and rich sauce.

lamb and leek battle

lamb and leek battle

the next sauce was a leek yogurt sauce for the lamb in a slanket. i was looking for something refreshing and cool to match up with the spices. leeks have a pretty mild flavor, but it still came through in the sauce.

lamb and leek battle

here’s the assembled meal – one thing i didn’t get pictures of was the making of the crispy fried leeks. i dipped strips of leek in tempura batter and quickly fried them until crispy. the whole thing came together nicely, and everything was delicious.

lamb and leek battle

the bonus to this food battle was actually getting to MEET nick face to face so we could try each other’s dishes. he and betsy were kind enough to host the girl and me over so we could feast and swap stories (oh the crazy lives food bloggers live). it was awesome to hang out and i can tell you that nick is just as generous, funny and talented as it appears on his blog.

finally, here’s a sneak peek at what nick made (it was great!).

lamb and leek battlelamb and leek battlelamb and leek battlelamb and leek battle

lamb sliders with leek jam, lambs in a slanket with leek yogurt sauce and crispy fried leeks

lamb sliders
1 lb ground lamb (half shoulder, half leg mix)
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 Tbsp minced mint leaves
2 cloves crushed garlic
salt and pepper
slider buns

lambs in a slanket
1 lb ground lamb (half shoulder, half leg mix)
1 tsp toasted and crushed coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbp minced cilantro
2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp crushed ginger
salt and pepper
1 tube pillsbury crescent rolls

caramelized leek jam
1 leek, chopped
3 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup heavy cream

leek yogurt sauce
1 leek, sliced into long flat strips
olive oil to coat
1/2 cup yogurt
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced

crispy fried leeks
1 leek, sliced into short flat strips
3/4 cup ice water
1 cup tempura mix

1. to make the sliders: mix the feta, mint, garlic and a healthy sprinkle of salt and pepper with 1 lb ground lamb. shape into small patties without overworking the meat (overworking it will cause the burgers to be tough). refrigerate until ready to cook, or grill immediately. serve on a little bun with leek jam.

2. to make the lambs in a slanket: mix all of the spices with 1 lb ground lamb. shape into small mini-hot-dog sized sausages. heat a pan to medium-high and cook just until browned on the outside in a few teaspoons oil. do not cook all the way through. allow lamb to cool. unroll tube crescent rolls and cut each biscuit into 3 small triangles. wrap 1 sausage in 1 small dough triangle and bake at 375F for about 10 minutes (until rolls are browned). serve with leek yogurt sauce.

3. to make the leek jam: in a small saucepan, cook leeks with butter until they cook down and become translucent. add cream and bring to a simmer. turn heat to low and put a lid on the pot. cook until you are left with a thick and creamy jam.

4. to make the leek yogurt sauce: toss the leek slices in olive oil and place on a hot grill pan to quickly heat. cook until leeks become limp. remove from pan and place in a food processor with remaining ingredients. cover and refrigerate before serving.

5. to make the crispy fried leeks: stir the tempura mix into the ice water just until large chunks of flour disappear. dip each piece of leek into the batter to lightly coat. fry in deep fryer or in hot oil in saucepan until tempura just browns.

41 Comments for food battle: lamb and leeks - why not leave some love?

  1. […] check out Pete’s post, and obviously, vote for your […]

  2. Nick says:

    Thanks for all the kind words amigo.

    The lambs in a slacket were awesome. spicy and savory. So good.

    Good luck Pete 😉


  3. Giddy says:

    Well, I have to say, it’s so gratifying to see you young men cooking, and having such fun doing it makes it even more special. Both of you made wonderful dishes and I have to say, in my opinion, it was a tie!

    I could almost taste Nick’s sliders and I thought his homemade buns were perfect. However, Pete’s Crispy Fried Leeks looked much better than the “blooming leeks”.

    The important thing was that you two had a great time and got to meet each other to boot!

  4. Sorry Pete, I had to vote for Nick, because of his buns 😉

  5. Betsy says:

    lamb in a slanket, so good!

  6. Tina says:

    That was a tough call… he used Magic Hat #9 (one of my faves) but you made your own ground lamb. Hmmmm…

    Love the food competitions. Now I just wish I had enough time to make all of these recipes!

  7. Paige says:

    I had no idea you could grind (process?) your own meat in the food processor. Brilliant!

  8. jenifer says:

    wow! the lamb looks absurdly delicious!

  9. nick says:

    Very nicely done here Pete. Looks awesome, and you smit’d Nick, which I can totally appreciate!

  10. gatesumpao says:

    Well, I have to say, it’s so gratifying to see you young men cooking, and having such fun doing it makes it even more special. Both of you made wonderful dishes and I have to say, in my opinion, it was a tie!

  11. dekvip says:

    Thanks for all the kind words amigo.

    The lambs in a slacket were awesome.

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