|American Lamb Cook-Off Kicks Off Taste of Vail
(May 1, 2008) The fourth annual American Lamb Cook-off kicked off the Taste of Vail festivities in April. This one-of-a-kind chef competition has become an amazing Lamboree right in the heart of Vail Village, Colo. This year, 20 talented chefs and their teams signed up to challenge one another for the title of “Lamb Guru.” The three-hour event draws thousands of consumers to sample each chef’s innovative lamb dish and wine pairings.
This year, Chef Joe Ritchie from Grouse Mountain Grill earned the title “Lamb Guru” with his crowd-pleasing recipe Smoked American Lamb Leg Pastrami. Second place went to Chef Kyle Cowan from Up the Creek Restaurant for his Colorado Lamb Cheese Steak. Chef Rahm Fama from Wildflower took third place with his unique Lamb Lollipops with Sauce Verde and Goat Cheese Crème Fraiche.
“The Taste of Vail lamb cook-off has grown into an amazing event with talented chefs developing incredibly innovative lamb recipes that really showcase one of the most lean, flavorful and versatile cuts of American lamb – the leg of lamb. This event provides the opportunity for people to try a variety of unique lamb recipes that all utilize a cut of lamb that is a great value, is readily available year round at grocery stores and is perfect for easy everyday meals.”
Smoked Lamb Leg Pastrami
Grind bay leaves, peppercorns, cinnamon sticks and cumin in a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder until fine. Combine the ground spices with salt, shallot, garlic and thyme. Stir well; coat lamb evenly with spice mixture. Cover and let the lamb sit overnight in refrigerator.
Rub excess spice mixture off lamb. Lay lamb out flat on smoking rack. Smoke for approximately 1 hour on the lowest temperature using apple wood or a mild-flavored hard wood. Remove lamb from smoker and place on roasting rack. Bake at 180°F for 10 to 15 minutes. Cool; cover and refrigerate lamb overnight. Slice thinly.
Mix salt with rye and all-purpose flour. In a medium saucepan, combine water, molasses and butter; bring to a boil. Add flour mixture all at once. Reduce heat to medium; stir for 2 minutes until the mixture forms a ball and the excess moisture has evaporated (if the ball forms more quickly, continue to cook and stir for a full 2 minutes). Transfer the mixture to a food processor; pulse the dough ball 5 times. Add eggs. Continue to mix until completely combined and the batter has a smooth, silky texture.
Mix mustards with sugar, dill and caraway. Let this mixture sit overnight to meld flavors.
To serve: Split open Rye Gourgeres and lightly spread with mustard. Top with several thin slices of Lamb Pastrami and a spoonful of sauerkraut.