Last month I participated in the recipe development and voting stages of the American Lamb Pro-Am. I didn’t make it onto the live event portion of the contest, but it was a great experience that reminded me how much I love creating new recipes. Plus, the super friendly folks over at Boston Chefs invited me to join in festivities this past Sunday, which meant fantastic lamb tasting, voting, and drink sampling!
Four bloggers from Boston, one from Providence, and one from Portland were each paired with a seriously big-deal chef from their corresponding cities. Which meant there was a little celebrity-status-chef-meeting thrown in between tasty bites. As in Tiffani Faison was chatting with me as she plated Sam Tackeff’s Lamb Mechoui & Moroccan Marinated Carrots (!!!).
I sampled all of the dishes created for the contest, plus ArtBar Chef Brian Dandro’s Lamb Rillettes & Lamb Bacon and Quail Eggs, which weren’t part of the contest, but was the host’s dish, as we were at the Royal Sonesta for the event. The Lamb Rillettes were one of my favorite flavors of the afternoon, which makes me want to finally get over to ArtBar now!
I was very impressed with the variety of dishes – deciding who to give my one vote to was a challenge! Of course some stood out more than others, but every chef put a creative twist on the blogger’s original recipe. Here are the delicious creations:
Lamb & Feta Meatballs – recipe by Jacki and Meesh from Just Add Cheese, with Chef Louis DiBiccari of Tavern Road (which, by the way, is where we had our lamb pick-up party – another must-check-out spot). I enjoyed the sauce with this dish quite a bit.
Lamb Meatball Multigrain Flatbread – by Taryn of Sweetly Serendipity with Chef Dante de Magistris of dante. The red sauce reminded me of the harisa that’s served with rice pilaf at The Middle East and the flatbread was a nice twist.
Green Goddess Lamb Kebabs – by Pam of Cave Cibum with Chef Michael Scelfo of Russell House (one of my favorite restaurants in Boston) and soon-to-open Alden & Harlow. This was probably the most drastic departure from the original recipe in the contest. As expected from Chef Scelfo, this was deliciously complex. The lamb was more like a terrine and dehydrated chickpeas, pickled onions (I think?), and light sauce were great together. Also my favorite plating of the day.
Braised Leg of Lamb Tacos in Dr. Pepper Adobo Sauce with Medjool Dates – from Nick and Monica of Front Row Eats with Chef Champe Speidel of Persimmon. The lamb had a much stronger meaty flavor than other dishes at the event, which was interesting, and having a taco added some nice variety.
Indonesian Lamb Rendang – recipe by Malcolm and Jillian of From Away with Chef Mitch Gerow of East Ender. This dish was very complex and most like a meal compared to the other entries. It was also super spicy, so having a beer pairing from Rising Tide was perfect. I never drink IPAs because they’re usually too bitter for my tastes, but their Zephyr Indian Pale Ale is up there with the only other IPA I’ll drink, Dogfish Dead’s 90 Minute IPA.
Lamb Mechoui & Moroccan Marinated Carrots – recipe from Sam at The Second Lunch with Chef Tiffani Faison of Sweet Cheeks. I saved my favorite for last. This is the dish I voted for and this was also the dish that won! I couldn’t get enough of it – the lamb was cooked perfectly, the carrot was full of flavor, and the granola on the bottom was the perfect texture addition.
Sam and Tiffani with their lamb trophies. Congrats!
Thanks to BostonChefs.com and the American Lamb Board for inviting me to be part of this fun contest. I received a complimentary ticket from BostonChefs to attend the live judging event.