yogurt sauce.” This traditional sauce is a mix of Greek
yogurt, mayonnaise, minced garlic and Greek oregano, plus
a bit of lemon juice and salt.
Meehan’s Public House, operated by Atlanta-based 101
Concepts, has three locations in the city—Sandy Springs,
Vinings and Downtown—with a fourth slated to debut in late
spring. Each location, where both the ambiance and menu
is authentic Irish pub, has its own executive chef putting a
personal stamp on the menu and creating location-specific
specialty signature items.
Jordan Wakefield, corporate executive chef, is based at
Meehan’s Downtown Atlanta location. Consistently aiming
to “take gourmet ideas to a more contemporary level at a
more reasonable price,” he is also a staunch fan of Southern
cooking traditions. His Braised Montana Leg of Lamb with a
Rustic Yukon Gold Potato Salad plus Fresh Mint Pesto ($24)
is a case in point. “Braising is a prominent style of cooking
in the South, plus, this potato salad is upscale Southern
cuisine versus just an accompaniment,” he says.
The lamb (a 16-18 oz. bone-in portion) is braised for about
five hours in a liquid that includes well-charred veal knuckle
bones that were previously seasoned with tomato paste then
roasted for about an hour at 400°F-500°F. “The charred
bones are put into a pot of water along with fresh vegetables,
garlic and herbs, and left to ‘stew’ for about a day or so on
a low flame,” Wakefield says. “This yields a nice flavorful
stock for braising, so you need to prep ahead to give it
enough time to develop its full flavor.”
Once the resultant rich stock has been prepared, Wakefield
braises the lamb shanks in the stock, adding red wine “for a
bit of sweetness and a bit more robust profile,” he says.
For his potato salad, he chooses Yukon gold. “It’s flavorful,
buttery and has a good texture so it stands up well on the
plate.” To prepare, Wakefield quarters raw skin-on potatoes,
tosses them in olive oil, garlic and fresh herbs, then roasts
them at 400°F for about 45 minutes.
Aiming to create “a party on your palate” with everything
he cooks, Wakefield prepares a grain mustard vinaigrette—
lighter than mayonnaise-based but sufficient to bind the
potatoes together—plus green onion, finely chopped
parsnips, fresh parsley, salt and pepper. “Then I’ll add a
touch of white truffle oil—the real thing,” he says.
low and slow
At Meehan’s Public House in Sandy Springs just north
of Atlanta, executive chef Val Domingo has brought his
Southern roots to bear on the menu since arriving almost a
year ago from Charleston, S.C. In fact, his Slow Roasted
Colorado Leg of Lamb with Apricot Shallot Glaze & A Trio
of Roasted Root Vegetables ($16) is a dish he created for an
Easter buffet at the Charleston Place Hotel.
Before searing the lamb, he caramelizes shallots in butter
and adds a touch of agave nectar, fresh sliced apricots and
a bit of veal stock. “After it’s slow-cooked and reduced
down, add fresh rosemary and thyme at the end,” he
suggests. “Strain out and discard the shallots, purée all
other ingredients together, thicken with cornstarch and
water, then set aside.”
Using a boneless leg of lamb, Domingo applies a dry rub of
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, plus a bit of smoked
paprika. He sears the lamb in a smoking-hot braising pan
(with extra virgin olive oil or canola, removes it from the pan
and pours the apricot/shallot glaze over it. Then he wraps it
in plastic wrap and foil, and pops it into a 325°F oven—low
and slow—until medium (internal temperature about 125°F).
At that point, he pulls it out, lets it rest for 10-15 minutes,
unwraps and carves it.
ABOVE: At Meehan’s Downtown Atlanta, Jordan Wakefield menus braised domestic
lamb shank with a warm truffled Yukon gold potato/fennel salad and mint pesto.