Jeff and Jodie Morgan, renowned kosher food and wine connoisseurs, dished to Gamliel Kronemer about their Passover braised lamb shanks and chocolate almond torte recipes.
Braised Lamb Shanks
- 1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
- 4 tbsp. virgin olive oil
- 4 lamb shanks
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 bulb fennel, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 cups dry red wine
- 1 quart chicken stock, canned or homemade
- 1 tsp. dried rosemary
- 4 fresh sage leaves
- 2 cups diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
- 1 head garlic
- Soak the mushrooms in 1 cup warm water for 20 minutes. Reserve the liquid and strain through cheesecloth to remove grit. Dice the mushrooms and set them aside separately from their liquid. Set a Dutch oven or large ovenproof pot on stovetop over medium heat covering the bottom with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Lightly salt and pepper the lamb and brown on all sides in the oil. Remove the lamb from the pot and reserve, pouring out excess fat.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pot and sauté onions, fennel, and carrots for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the lamb shanks, mushrooms, and tomatoes and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the red wine and simmer, uncovered, for 5 more minutes, allowing the wine to reduce. Add the stock, mushroom liquid, rosemary, and sage, then cover and bake in the oven until the meat is very tender, 2 to 3 hours.
- An hour before the meat is done, cut the garlic head in half horizontally (so that all the cloves are split in the middle) and wrap each half in aluminum foil. Set them in the oven on a rack to bake alongside the meat.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the lamb shanks from the braising liquid and set aside. Set the pot back on the stovetop and reduce the liquid over medium heat for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove the garlic from the oven, unwrap, and squeeze the soft garlic pulp into the braising liquid and vegetables. Stir throughout.
- To serve, place the lamb shanks into shallow bowls. Spoon the braising liquid and vegetables over each shank.
- Jeff suggests paring the lamb with a full-bodied red wine, such as their Covenant 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon or their RED C 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon.
Flourless Chocolate Almond Torte with Fresh Strawberries
- 1/2 cup (4 oz./1 stick)
- plus 1 tbsp. margarine (low salt)
- 1 cup almonds
- 8 oz. semisweet or bittersweet
- chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 tsp. almond extract
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 5 eggs, separated
- 1 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
- 2 cups sliced strawberries
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform cake pan with the 1 tablespoon margarine. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper. (You can find parchment paper cut to fit 9-inch pans at many well-stocked supermarkets, or trim a larger piece to fit.)
- Using a food processor or blender, pulse the almonds until a coarse powder forms. It should retain some crunch. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, combine the chocolate and the remaining 1/2 cup margarine over low heat and heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until melted. Stir in the almond extract. Keep the mixture warm over very low heat until ready to use.
- In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the egg yolks until blended. Add 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar in a slow, steady stream and beat for about 1 minute, or until the sugar is well incorporated and the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, using the electric mixer fitted with clean beaters, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they are foamy. Slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar and continue to beat for about 1 minute, or soft, slightly stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites. Add the ground almonds and stir to mix well. Pour in the melted chocolate and stir until the color is uniform throughout
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack to room temperature.
- Unclip and lift away the pan sides, then gently turn the cake upside down onto a platter. Carefully remove the bottom of the baking pan, and peel off the parchment paper. Use a fine-mesh sieve to dust the top of the cake with the confectioners’ sugar.
- To serve, cut the cake into wedges. Liberally top each serving with the strawberries.
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