Wonder what Executive Chef Chris Huey is planning for the future menu? Looking for some kitchen hints? Wondering what he’s proud of?
Well first, he’s finishing up cold season. Braises are going the way of winter and the cold. Lamb shank specials will move into a season of whole roasted fish.
Chris featured a wonderful Lamb Shank to end the Winter. This meal, as all of Chris’ recipes, starts with technique.
What is technique?
To start with, he uses fresh knuckle bones to create a veal stock. It takes three days to create this stock using lots of patience, nurturing and love. Other kitchen just don’t take the time and Chef Huey’s stock is hands down a blue ribbon winner, without comparison.
Once the veal knuckles have ended their three day bath, they are drained and the stock is reduced to ¾. This is used to braise the Lamb shanks until they are tender. Then the veal stock, along with the drippings from the Lamb are strained and made into a Napé.
To complete the preparation, Chris cooks celery root, milk, thyme, garlic, shallots, bay leaves, salt and pepper. This mixture is puréed and spun, then used to cook the polenta thereby infusing the flavors directly into the cornmeal.
The final presentation includes local baby carrots, shallots, onions, gremolata, and natural reduction of lamb which completes a very simple rustic but also Mediterranean dish that will fill you up, please you on a cold day, and take you on a journey of flavors
What is Napé?
Simply stated it’s a spoon of liquid put it on a plate and drawn out in a line. For it to hold its shape, a truly good french sauce has no thickening agents and will set perfectly.
What is Gremolata?
Although the roots are from across the pond as an Argentinian classic paired best with game meat, it marries well with Lamb. Traditionally, a parsley mint blend, Chef Huey adds chilli, garlic, shallots, cilantro, Metaphormosis Extra Virgin Olive Oil, salt and pepper. It’s a mini little salad to make your tongue happy and cut the richness.
Argentina may not be in the Mediterranean but using this approach helps enhance the fusion concept, the use of other worlds recipes with Mediterranean ingredients.
What’s happening in the warmer months?
Let’s see what’s cooking in Chef Huey’s head. To start, whole roasted fish will be on the menu.
Then to accommodate the owner’s wish, Chicken Tagine, served in the proper vessel, roasted and braised chicken with summer local vegetables will be on the menu.
What is a tagine?
Tajine or tagine is a North African Berber dish which is named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked.
Whereas the Mediterranean Sea and the coastal cities are a long way off from Ann Arbor, Chris is close to local farmers and vendors who will bring fresh products from locations like Dexter, Howell, and Chelsea.
Look for more from Executive Chef Chris Huey in future blogs.