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Lamb Meatloaf with Pickled Peppers and Plantain Cream

Lamb Meatloaf with Pickled Peppers and Plantain Cream

From: Chef de cuisine Janine Booth, Root & Bone, New York City. Yield: 16 small servings.

6 lamb shanks
as needed, salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. olive oil
2 cups mirepoix (diced onion, garlic, celery and carrots)
1 cup red wine
1 tsp. fresh rosemary
1 small bunch fresh thyme
2 qt. chicken stock
1 large onion, julienned
to taste, salt and freshly ground black pepper

Plantain Cream (yields about 4 cups):
1 very black plantain, sliced
2 tsp. olive oil
as needed, salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 oz. bacon
½ red onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 garlic cloves
1 poblano pepper, stemmed, seeded, minced
1 Serrano pepper, stemmed, seeded, minced
1 chipotle chile from a can with 1 Tbsp. adobo sauce
¼ cup sherry
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. cumin seeds
½ cup fresh orange juice
½ cup chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp. annatto seeds*

Pickled Peppers:
½ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup sugar
2 Fresno chile peppers, sliced into rings 1/8” thick

For meatloaf: Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in large pan. Sear shanks in batches on all sides, then set them aside.

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a roasting pan, heat another 1 Tbsp. oil and sauté mirepoix until it is well caramelized. Deglaze with the wine, then add rosemary, thyme and stock. Nestle the shanks in the liquid, cover and braise them until they are very tender. Remove pot and let the lamb cool in the juices.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tsp. oil and caramelize onions very slowly until they are completely golden. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool. Shred all the lamb meat off the bones, including some fat if any remains. Strain braising liquid and reduce by half over medium heat.

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of the braising liquid with lamb meat and onions. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Pack mixture into an 8”x 8” pan, top with parchment and press another pan on top, bottom-side down. Compress top pan with 4 or 5 large cans. Set it all on a baking sheet to collect any juices. Refrigerate overnight. Run a knife around edge of meatloaf pan and heat the bottom briefly, 15 to 20 seconds, over the stove to release the meat. Turn pan upside-down to release the loaf. Slice it into 2”x2” squares.

For plantain cream: Preheat a smoker or oven to 400°F. Toss plantain with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast it until it is caramelized and fully cooked through. Set aside. Render the bacon in a hot pan. Add onion, carrot, garlic, peppers and adobo sauce and sauté in the bacon fat. Deglaze with sherry. Add bay leaf, cumin seeds and orange juice. Reduce by half, then add stock and plantains. Reduce liquid by half again. Add cream and annatto seeds and reduce by half again. Puree mixture until it is completely smooth and adjust the seasonings. Set aside and keep warm.

For pickled peppers: In a small pot, heat vinegar and sugar together until sugar is dissolved. Pour liquid over peppers and let them cool. Preheat oven to 350°F.

For each serving: Heat a cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Sear each meatloaf square on both sides and transfer them to a 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes to heat through. Swoosh 3 to 4 Tbsp. plantain cream on a plate. Top with a square of meatloaf. Garnish with 4 or 5 rings of pickled pepper.

*Annatto seeds are available at specialty grocers or Latin markets.

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