Thursday 7 March 2013

Lamb Goulash a.k.a "The Godfather's Stew" from "The Dirty Martini"

Romance  doesn't always mean gourmet. True recipes are comfort food that warm the heart.

Lamb Goulash - rich, hearty and deeply satisfying, I just can't stop thinking about how delicious the stew was!! I had this heart-warming spectacular dish a few weeks back, at "The Dirty Martini", a 1920's style speakeasy inspired bar, at The Olive, Qutub, where we were invited for a fun-filled "Bloggers night" and ever since, this dish had been playing on my mind. This spectacular dish, served to us at the bar in dainty teacups, successfully combines the rich flavor of lamb with the delectable taste of vegetables making it truly unforgettable.
 Luckily for me, Sangeeta  was able to get the Lamb Goulash recipe from Chef Saby (Chef Sabyasachi Gorai, hailed as the " Best International chef in  India 2012", is the Director of kitchens for Ai, an acclaimed Japanese restaurant as well as the "Olive" restaurant family.) For someone who has won so many accolades, Chef Saby  won us over with his sweet smile and his down to earth friendly attitude  that made us feel totally at ease and comfortable. 
Truly capturing the essence of the 1920's, where during the Prohibition era the sale, manufacture and transportation of alcohol was illegal, where one could enter only through secret doorways and backdoor entrances by uttering the secret password, much to our excitement we too were made to 'discreetly' enter through the kitchen. Replicating the 1920's, the decor inside was classy and elegant just like that out of a movie set - dim lighting, Victorian styled furniture,  pretty fringed chandeliers, everything looking decadent and decked out to look like an old speakeasy. The scenario completed with a piano with the beautiful Olga behind it, crooning out lovely music from the twenties, transporting you right back in time.
It was intriguing to see Martini's being served in delicate porcelain teacups, mulled wine in 'khullars', Beer wrapped in brown paper bags, lovely Sangria's, smoking gins and not to forget the highly potent and innovative gello Martini shots shaped like watermelons and oranges.
To complement the heady drinks there was great food. The snacks came out at a nice and steady pace - the Gangster slider (tendreloin patty with grilled onions), Big Boss Toast (combination of Goat cheese, chilli jam and berries) , TDM chicken, The squeaky squid, Shrimp Jammer and the Blind pig belly which was an absolute winnerThe pork belly was soft and succulent and cooked to perfection, something which I tasted for the first time. 
For dessert there was 'Nutty Aunty', mini apple and walnut tarts which completely stole the show. Also, there was The Smoked Cigar, which were  freshly made churros served with molten chocolate in shot glasses.
The evening was really lovely, the conversation was great and the food fantastic. It was exhilarating  to meet people who share the same interest and passion as you.
Thanks Chef Saby, Chef Dhruv Bhatia, Chef Astha, and Chef Noor Al Sabah for organizing such a lovely  evening and the effort that you put in to make it so memorable for all of us. It was great meeting all of you!!

 Following Sangeeta's recipe, I tried out "The Godfather's stew" (I just love the sound of it) with  slight variations. Though quite similar to the Chicken stroganoff I make, I loved the way it is finished with a long braise in the oven bringing out its full flavors. Wintery day or not, it is a perfect stew - hot, nourishing and oh so tasty that my mouth still waters when I think of it!! 

400 gms Mushrooms
3 Tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
250 gms lamb boneless
3 big onions, finely chopped 
2 tbsp, chopped garlic
4 tbsp tomato puree 
2 tsp dried rosemary
4 cups lamb stock
100 gms baby potatoes
1 bay leaf
a pinch of salt

Heat the butter in a pan and and gently stir fry the lamb for about 3-4 minutes till it gets slightly browned on both the sides.
Remove the meat from the pan and in the same pan add the onions and garlic. Cook gently for about 10 minutes until soft and golden brown. Take it out on a plate and keep aside.
Similarly toss in the mushrooms and stir fry quickly for a few minutes till lightly browned.
Set the oven to150 C.
In a pan, add the flour to the onions and mix well. Saute for a minute till the flour browns a little. 
Now add the tomato puree and stir thoroughly. Pour in the lamb stock along with the dried rosemary, bay leaf and the seared lamb cubes. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Transfer the contents to an oven proof dish. Cover with a foil and cook in the oven for two hours, until the meat is tender.
Add the potatoes and place back in the oven for further 30 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked.
Serve with slices of bread.

Feel free to use any vegetables of your choice in the stew.

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