Quebec French cuisine “with a Latin accent” is the specialty of Montreal chef David Ferguson, Ontario-raised and a graduate of the Stratford Chefs School. Faithful to French culinary techniques at his midtown bistro, Restaurant Gus, David also adds flavours learned on his cooking sojourns in Mexico and New Mexico.
2 large onions
3 tablespoons (45 mL) olive oil
4 lamb shanks
1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 leek, white part only, chopped
5 1/2 cups (1.375 L) cold water
1 tablespoon (15 mL) finely chopped fresh thyme or rosemary
1/2 ancho pepper, rehydrated (see below) Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 can (19 ounces/540 mL) beans, preferably pinto or red kidney, drained and rinsed
4 Roma tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped, or 2 cups (500 mL) canned Italian tomatoes
1 poblano pepper, grilled, peeled, seeded, and cut in strips
-Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).
-Finely chop 1 of the onions. in a 4-quart (4 L) heavy, stovetop-safe casserole dish with a lid, heat 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of the oil over medium-high heat and brown lamb on all sides. Remove to a plate. Reduce heat to medium and, in the same casserole dish, sauté carrot, chopped onion, garlic, and leek just until golden, about 5 minutes.
-Add ½ cup (125 mL) of the cold water to the pan and scrape up any brown bits. Return lamb to the casserole dish and add 5 cups (1.25 mL) cold water or enough to cover. Add thyme and ancho pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, then cover, transfer to the oven and roast for 1 hour and 45 minutes, until lamb is tender.
-Remove lamb to a plate. Season the cooking liquid with salt and pepper. Discard ancho pepper. Simmer cooking liquid until it is reduced to about 3 cups (750 mL).
-Meanwhile, cut remaining onion in half vertically, then slice finely. in a heavy frying pan, heat remaining 1 tablespoon (15 mL) oil over medium-high heat and cook onion until caramelized.
-Return lamb to casserole dish. Add beans, tomatoes, caramelized onion, and poblano pepper. Reheat mixture and serve on deep, warmed serving plates.
note: To rehydrate the ancho pepper, cut it in half and roast in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove and discard seeds. Place in a small bowl, add boiling water to cover, and soak for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
Recipes from Made in Quebec: A Culinary Journey by Julian Armstrong ©2014. Photographs © Ryan Szulc. Published by HarperCollins Canada. All rights reserved.