First, I eschewed some of the vegetables in the veal version—out went the carrots, in went Fennel. I kept the celery and bailed on the orange zest. I went for a red onion. I put in some baby bella mushrooms. I added Aleppo Red Pepper flakes to give it a lift. I wanted to avoid the tomato that is in virtually every veal version. But in the end, the stew seemed to really need the richness of the tomato in the sauce. I searched around for other ideas and the one that stuck in my mind was a lamb ragu that a chef named Edward Lee had published in the final issue of Gourmet.
|Chef Edward Lee,
clearly a man after my own heart
Now if you are a viewer of “Top Chef”, you are well-acquainted with Mr. Lee as he was one of the top five contestants on this year’s show. Chef Lee has an only-in-America background. Korean-American, he grew up in Brooklyn and trained in classic French cuisine. In 2001, he embarked on a cross country trip and wound up in Louisville, Kentucky right in time for the Derby. A friend suggested going to a well-known local restaurant to see if he could find work on what’s the busiest week of the year for Louisville restaurants. He did and its chef owner was so taken with Chef Lee’s passion and considerable skills that within a year, he offered to sell him the restaurant. Called 610 Magnolia (Between 6th and 7th Streets, Louisville KY, Tel: 502 636- 0783 ), Chef Lee has put his own stamp on the place. Mixing his Korean roots, his French training and the cooking of his adopted Kentucky home, the chef has created a contemporary southern menu, winning 3 James Beard awards along the way.
Pat lamb dry and season with kosher salt (rounded 1/2 teaspoon) and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 5-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown shanks on all sides, 6 to 7 minutes, then transfer to paper towels to drain.
Bring stock, water, and milk to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Add grits in a stream, whisking, then cook over low heat, uncovered, stirring frequently, until grits are tender and thickened to the consistency of loose oatmeal, about 20 minutes.