I’m sure you’ve all experienced, or at least heard of, the polar vortex that’s been happening in the majority of the United States right now. It’s cold in New York, but at least we aren’t dealing with the sickeningly cold temperatures that the Midwest is looking at right now. -60? I’d probably cry myself to sleep in the snow. Thankfully it’s just been freezing cold; we haven’t had any snow since the blizzard last week. The two combined would certainly spell disaster for NYC. Our subways struggle to run on schedule most regular days. It took me almost two hours to get to the office last Friday, the morning after the storm. How’s that for dedication? I figured that it’s better to be at work than sitting at home stuffing my face with food all day, which I probably would have made my mission if I hadn’t gone in. When I walk outside right now, it feels as if all of the moisture is being sucked out of your face. I made the mistake of yawning on my way to work in the 8 degree F weather yesterday and immediately went into a coughing fit because my lungs were clearly unprepared for how cold the incoming air would be. At least we can all say that we’ve experienced some of the coldest temperatures to date, right? Although the way things have been going the past few years, I imagine it’s not going to get better any time soon.
Adorable Mia and our ticket to see Matthew McConaughey at Inside the Actors’ Studio!
Anyway, we braved the beginning of the cold on Monday night to stand in line outside to see Inside the Actors’ Studio with Matthew McConaughey. It was completely worth potentially getting frost bite for. One of my awesome friends got us tickets to the show, but we still had to wait outside for about half an hour before getting inside. McConaughey is exactly as I pictured him. He had on a sharp blue suit, seemed totally psyched to be there, made jokes and laughed with the audience, and was just all around awesome. Kramer and I are big fans, and his movies have only gotten better and better over the past few years. Lincoln Lawyer, Killer Joe, Dazed and Confused, Tropic Thunder, Magic Mike and now Dallas Buyers Club! Plus his new shoe on HBO with Woody Harrelson, True Detective, starts soon. It was loads of fun to hear him speak and let’s be honest, it wasn’t so bad watching him talk for three hours, either.
In honor of these abominable temperatures, I wanted to share with Lamb Rendang with you. This is one of my favorite things to order out when we go for Indonesian or Malaysian, but you can find it in certain Thai restaurants, as well. Made with beef or lamb, rendang is simply braised meat, simmered until almost all of the liquid is gone, then cooked over high heat to caramelize and fry the protein into a light, crispy, slightly sweet and sticky, but still plenty spicy, dish. I adore it. Rendang makes for a delicious, simple dinner over rice or steamed vegetables, or you can get creative with it: serve with a fried egg on top, in a taco, or on a sandwich. The oils from the lamb make the end product beautifully crispy as it fries in it own fat, while the richness from the coconut milk is absorbed during cooking to make the meat wonderfully rich and tender. The spice paste, made from coriander, ginger, orange zest and more makes for a wonderfully flavorful and aromatic accompaniment. If you’ve never heard of rendang before, think of it as yet another version of a classic American barbecue dish. When you look at it, it may just look like pulled brisket or something you are more familiar with, but it’s a welcome deviation from that old standard. Kramer and I absolutely loved this meal, and ate it for two nights in a row, first just on its own alongside some roasted broccoli, then the next night as a hash with fried potatoes and scrambled eggs. You can’t go wrong! If you’re short on time, feel free to throw everything in the crock pot and crisp it up on the stove when you’re ready, or forgo that entirely and turn it into a stew. However you make it, I promise you’ll go back for seconds.
Combine your paste ingredients in a food processor.
Until a fine paste has formed.
Check out that shank, ya’ll.
Brown the shanks on all sides in your pot, until nicely browned.
Add your paste to the pot and cook until the liquid has evaporated.
Then add in your orange juice, coconut milk and sugar, mix to combine, then add in your shanks and simmer for 4 hours, lightly covered.
Remove the lid, remove the bones, and begin stirring the lamb to remove any excess moisture and caramelize the meat.
Serve with some bread or rice and devour.
- 1 onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground red pepper flakes
- zest of 1 orange
- 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 2 1-pound lamb shanks
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- juice of 1 orange
- 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
- 3 teaspoons brown sugar
- rice or bread, for serving
- Combine all of your paste ingredients in a food processor or blend with a mortar and pestle (or just chop incredibly finely) and mix until a paste is formed. Set aside.
- Rub your lamb shanks with salt and pepper, and heat a heavy-bottomed pot over high heat. Add in your oil and heat, then add in the shanks and cook for 5-6 minutes or so, turning, so that all of the sides become a little browned. Remove the shanks to a plate and set aside.
- Add your paste to the pot, reduce the heat to medium and cook until fragrant, stirring frequently, for about 8-10 minutes, until the paste's liquid has reduced by half. Add in the orange juice, coconut milk and sugar and stir to combine. Add the shanks back to the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low, loosely cover (I put my lid on my pot a bit askew so that some of the evaporating liquid can escape) and simmer for 4 hours or so, until the meat is falling off of the bone.
- Once the meat is tender, remove the bones from the pot and begin stirring the meat over medium-high heat, so that the liquid continues to evaporate and the meat caramelizes and fries. When almost all of the liquid is gone and the meat is nicely browned, you are ready to eat. Serve over rice or with vegetables, or even with a fried egg. This can be made a day ahead and re-heated for the next day, but will keep well in the fridge as leftovers for up to 4 days.