Monday, June 29, 2009

Richard "Don't Call Me a Molecular Gastronomist" Blais' Toasted Sesame and Root Beer Glazed Lamb

One of the most interesting demos I attended at the Food & Wine Classic, starred Top Chef contestant Richard Blais, who partnered with McCormick for a "Flavor Forecast 2009." The theme was new spice/flavor trends, and our morning started off with one such combo; a smoked paprika and agave nectar margarita.

Note to anyone planning an early morning cooking demo: start with a strong margarita. As we sipped the spicy, yet delicious breakfast-of-tequila-loving champions, Blais went on to describe the dish he was preparing. We were about to taste lamb ribs braised with root beer and toasted sesame.
As he explained his thought process for matching these ingredients, and the cooking methods he uses in his kitchen to achieve the best results, he made it clear he does not like the term "molecular gastronomist." He said it sounds soulless, and too clinical. Fair enough.

He then went on to use the term at least a half-dozen times during the demo. I'm not sure if this was done tongue-in-cheek, or if there just isn’t a decent term that's synonymous, but either way, I was amused.

This video recipe is my version of the spiky-haired chef's dish. I used easy-to-find lamb shoulder chop steaks instead of Colorado lamb ribs, which were quite delicious, but maybe a bit hard to track down.
As far as the root beer and toasted sesame glaze goes, when I first heard it, I have to admit it didn't strike me as a great combination, but at the end of the demo, as I sat eating the tender lamb with the sweet, aromatic, nutty sauce, I was a believer.
As if the lamb, root beer, and toasted sesame combination wasn't different enough, Blais served it with a coleslaw ice cream. That's right, he used the sweet, tangy juices from a traditional coleslaw recipe, and with the help of liquid nitrogen, he created a surprisingly delicious frozen side dish.

I'll try and figure out how to make it without the chemistry set, since I'd love to show you that video recipe also. It was a strange and wonderful combination. Enjoy!

1 tbsp vegetable oil
6 large lamb shoulder blade chops, about 3 to 3 1/2 pounds
1 bottle (12 ounces) good quality root beer
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup toasted sesame seed
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon chipotle
1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 cup water
additional toasted sesame seeds to garnish
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions

View the complete recipe


Anonymous said...

beautiful!! i have to try that like soon.

Luatica said...

Root beer. Interesting. I wonder if cooked tastes better. I tried one brand ages ago and I wasn't very convinced (a&w or something)

Chef John said...

There's only one way to find out! ;-)

nossi said...

looks really good, and tasty, but will this only work with veal? what about other cuts of meat (like braising a chuck roast) ?

Chef John said...

this is lamb. not sure, first time i've tried it. give it a whirl!

Anonymous said...

reduced sodium soy sauce? can i get that at the store?also what can i use in place of a dutch oven?

Chef John said...

yes, and nothing. You can use a pan, and thne put in a tightly wrapped baking dish, but not as good as the DO

Cody said...

As a chemist, I can attest that ice cream made with liquid nitrogen is impressive because, not only is it flashy, but the nitrogen cools down the ice cream so quickly that ice crystals are less likely to form, resulting in a smoother ice cream.
However the same recipe should be fine to use in a regular ice cream maker, it just might not turn out quite so wonderfully smooth.

Also, great looking lamb.

Philbx1 said...

Hey Chef John, Well after some experiments in my youth you _might_ be able to achieve the same results as liquid nitrogen by using dry ice and a high alcohol content spirit. Nope, haven't tried that with cooking though, just tennis balls, flowers etc. Tennis balls were nice & crisp though :-)

Anonymous said...

hey chef john, i've been following for a while in Australia, and no-one here seems to know what root beer is... i've looked for it to no avail. have you got any ideas on anything i could substitute with the root beer??

Chef John said...

you can try cola

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef, this looks fantastic. I was wondering about the reduced sodium soy sauce... Would using normal soy sauce work? I've yet to try any reduced soy sauce that didn't taste like it came out of the backend of a Buick.


Anonymous said...

ups sorry delete plz [url=].[/url]

Anonymous said...

Dear CeeJay,

Whatever happened to the Coleslaw Ice Cream :)?


Omneah said...

Although I don't like root beer as a drink, I tried this recipe today and it was amazing !! just loved it. Thank you Chef John

Anonymous said...

This is such an awesome recipe! We are making it for the third time today! It is a major crowd pleaser, excellent for company! And our 1 year old son eats it like a champ!
Thanks chef John

Nowal said...

Thanks again for another awesome recipe. Entire family enjoyed it, especially my picky 2.5 y/o. Do you have a delicious boneless leg of lamb recipe that is fork tender you can share? My hubby bought some from Cosco and he thinks I can now cook "all things lamb" now that I found you (he loved all your lamb recipes that I've done: this one, the slow braised shanks, and the pomegranate lamb lol). Please help, pressure is on :-)

tiff said...

Chef John! Here's a newbie problem: I bought "boneless lamb shoulder roast" when it was on sale and I copied that title word for word from the packaging. Can I slice the roast into inch-thick pieces and use them in this recipe? Or can I sear the whole thing and braise it in the same liquid? Is there something better I can do with "boneless lamb shoulder roast"?

Many thanks, Chef!!

Chef John said...

Yes! Just cut into steaks!

Ima Wannabe Cook said...

The glaze was very nice. A nice break from how I usually braise lamb.

I cannot have small nuts or seeds so I used about a 1.5 tablespoons of tahini and 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil. It seemed to have a nice nutty and toasty taste with my substitution.

And, yes, the green onion is necessary for this dish.

Thank you for the recipe!

kwh1982 said...

I was planning to use lamb shanks instead, is the cooking time going to be the same?

Thanks and keep posting these great recipes!

kwh1982 said...

If using lamb shanks what would be the cooking time at what setting?

Chef John said...

a few hours, check one of our shank vids for times.