Spring Equinox Feast: Lamb Stir Fry, Glasserie Flaky Bread, and Spicy Honey-Glazed Parsnips

The new edition of Bon Appétit finally made its way to my doorstep a couple of weeks ago and quite frankly, I could not be more pleased. Though I am an avid follower and recipient of information from a variety of publications and food sources, I always make an effort to cook at least a couple times a month from this particular magazine. There is something extremely gratifying about actually leafing through the pages of a tangible food scripture, nailing down a recipe, and then reaping the benefits of the labor immediately thereafter. Lamb — a personal favorite of mine — anchors an innovative stir-fry and features fiber-rich, jewel-like pomegranate seeds, hearty pistachios, and a light touch of herbs. The flaky bread recipe stems from Brooklyn’s Glasserie restaurant, which boasts a menu ripe with Mediterranean fare.  The final component of my spring equinox feast consisted of spicy honey-glazed parsnips, which delight in the senses with just the right balance of a sweet and spicy glaze.

I am not the most ardent of supporters of stir-fries in general, however, this one has elements that are right up my alley. The marinade for the leg of lamb consists of cumin, coriander, garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil and is rounded out by some paprika and seasoned with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. I put the lamb in the fridge to marinate for longer than the recipe called for and as with most marinades: the longer it sits and soaks, the better the meat will be as it cooks. I also recommend making more marinade than the recipe calls for, as I felt mine could have possessed more of a coating. The cumin and coriander seeds give the lamb a distinct taste and are worth taking the extra time to seek out and purchase. The greek yogurt sauce is about as easy as it gets: yogurt, water, and some salt and pepper seasoning. I substituted red quinoa for white rice because white rice has little to no food value, but topped my lamb with pomegranate seeds, pistachios, the yogurt sauce, and cilantro and mint, as per the recipe’s instructions.

Making the flaky bread was an experience in itself. After feeling completely and utterly dissatisfied with the authentic Irish Soda Bread I made the previous weekend, I decided to redeem myself with this bread recipe from the Glasserie restaurant in Greenpoint. This recipe isn’t hard at all, but the first step requires that you leave the dough sitting out at room-temperature for close to 4 hours. The dough is then split into 10 individual balls, buttered and (Kosher) salted, coiled, uncoiled and then cooked over a skillet for 1-2 minutes a side. To me, this bread tastes like a naan-biscuit hybrid. I’m making my third batch of the week tonight with no signs of slowing down. I imagine this is the bread equivalent of crack. Enough said, right? Try it.

Parsnips and radishes are two vegetables I have been trying to incorporate into my orbit for quite some time. I had red radish in my salad last weekend and plan on pickling radishes at some point this spring, but had parsnips in this form for the first time. As is often the case with root vegetables, peeling and cutting them is the tallest task you will face. The glaze, as I mentioned before, encompasses the “yin and yang” idea with a blend of sweet and spicy flavors. I cooked them for slightly less time than the recipe suggested, as my parsnips were slightly smaller in size.

This trio of foods goes extremely well together, as the cooling yogurt sauce with the lamb cuts through some of the spice in the glazed parsnips. The bread itself is extremely versatile: serve it as a side, as the bread for a sandwich, or with the classic butter and jam pairing. And what better way to usher in a new season than with a helping of fresh, inspiring eats?

Lamb Stir-Fry With Pomegranate and Yogurt
All recipes taken from the February 2014 issue of Bon Appétit
Serves 4

2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
 pound boneless leg of lamb, thinly sliced against the grain
1 teaspoon paprika
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 medium red onion, cut into ½” wedges
Cooked rice or quinoa (for serving)
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
Fresh oregano, mint, and/or cilantro leaves (for serving)

Toast cumin and coriander seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Let cool, then finely chop.

Toss lamb with cumin, coriander, paprika, garlic, vinegar, and 2 Tbsp. oil in a large bowl to coat; season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill 15 minutes.

Whisk yogurt and 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook lamb, tossing occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes per batch; transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Add onion to skillet and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown and soften, about 3 minutes. Add ½ cup water; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender and water is evaporated, about 3 minutes. Return lamb to skillet and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve lamb over rice, topped with yogurt, pomegranate seeds, pistachios, and herbs.

Glasserie Flaky Bread
Makes 10 pieces

1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, plus more, room temperature, for brushing (about 10 )
Maldon sea salt
Olive oil (for parchment)

Whisk kosher salt and 3 cups flour in a large bowl. Drizzle in melted butter; mix well. Gradually mix in ¾ cup water. Knead on a lightly floured surface until dough is shiny and very soft, about 5 minutes. Wrap in plastic; let rest in a warm spot at least 4 hours.

Divide dough into 10 pieces and, using your palm, roll into balls. Place balls on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest 15 minutes. Working with 1 piece at a time, roll out balls on an unfloured surface with a rolling pin into very thin rounds or ovals about 9” across. (If dough bounces back, cover with plastic and let rest a few minutes.)

Brush tops of rounds with room-temperature butter and sprinkle with sea salt. Roll up each round onto itself to create a long thin rope, then wind each rope around itself to create a tight coil.

Working with 1 coil at a time, roll out on an unfloured surface to 10” rounds no more than ⅛” thick. Stack as you go, separating with sheets of parchment brushed with oil.

Heat a large cast-iron griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Working 1 at a time, brush both sides of a dough round with room-temperature butter and cook until lightly blistered and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer bread to a wire rack and sprinkle with sea salt.

Spicy Honey-Glazed Parsnips
Serves 4

2 pounds parsnips, peeled, cut into 3” lengths, halved, or quartered if large
¼ cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 chiles de árbol, crushed, or ¾ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. honey

Preheat oven to 450°. Toss parsnips and oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast parsnips, tossing occasionally, until tender and deep golden brown in spots, 35–40 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat chiles de árbol, butter, vinegar, and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted.

Drizzle chile-honey butter over parsnips and toss to coat.

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