For the pretty-as-a-picture plate presentation, he alternates thin
slices of roasted red and gold beets in a circle. He positions
thinly sliced roasted parsnips and roasted baby snip-top carrots
center of the plate with slices of lamb fanned out and shingled
on top, careful not to hide the colorful vegetables. A sprig of
fresh rosemary completes the picture.
now we’re smokin’
When several of the regulars at Meehan’s Public House
Vinings location requested traditional shepherd’s pie prepared
with lamb, executive chef Branden Holte was game. He
figured he’d do a Smoked Leg of Lamb Shepherd’s Pie ($15),
and run it on the smoked menu he creates most weekends.
“We had boneless domestic lamb on hand, and when we par-smoked it, the smoker brought out some of the gaminess—
which I really like,” Holte says.
He cubed it, added seared carrots, celery and onions, veal stock,
Guinness, Worcestershire sauce and the fond off the bottom of
the pan. “We braised the lamb until tender, then portioned it into
10 oz. bowls with a jacket of mashed potatoes and fresh leeks,”
he says. The leeks had been shaved thin, toasted on both sides
on the flat top, and folded into the mashed potatoes. “It’s a really
hearty dish, and my customers loved it so much we brought in
another leg the next week and did it all over again.”
Creating the perfect beer pairings (as a recipe ingredient or as a
beverage with the meal) has recently become Holte’s obsession—
and his pride and joy when he hits it just right. He’s pleased with
his recent creation of Bastard Braised Lamb Shanks ($22 with
beer pairing), where he’s paired Arrogant Bastard, an oaked-aged
beer from Stone Brewing Company, Escondido, Calif., with the
gamey flavor of New Zealand lamb shank.
“We sear the lamb in the oven, then braise it in Arrogant Bastard
plus veal stock until it’s just falling off the bone,” Holte says.
He serves it over pan-roasted fingerling potatoes and grilled
asparagus topped with the simmered-down Arrogant Bastard
jus. “Arrogant Bastard is a hoppier beer with an oakiness that
gives it a smoky flavor, so you want to say, ‘Boy, that’s lamb.’”
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