Christmas dinner was essentially a carnivore’s feast. Don’t get me wrong, I love my vegetables but since I’m thinking holidays, I normally associate large hunks of meat to share with friends and family. That’s when I start ordering from Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors for their fine butchered meats and Pure Bred Lamb from Waynesburg, Pennsylvania for its distinguished holistically raised lamb.
Pat LaFrieda is a family-owned and operated butchering distribution are the meat source of over 600 restaurants. They also the source gourmet burgers of popular in NYC restaurants such as Shake Shack, the Black Label burger of Minetta Tavern, The Spotted Pig, and so many others.
As for Pure Bred Lamb, I’ve eaten through a fair share of fine restaurants in New York City, and recalled Elysian Fields as the constant source of lamb. (Pure Bred isn’t too far off from this area.) Even though each restaurant had their lamb dish, I do recall the lamb had the most splendid flavor and very tender texture.
Since there weren’t any official order of how I set out my food, in all, there were seven savory courses, three desserts, and a huge loaf of homemade challah bread (recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Bread Bible) passed around.
One of the dishes was sous vided (using SousVide Supreme) 2-inch aged Angus steaks from Pat LaFrieda. I seasoned each steak with kosher salt and tellicherry pepper. Vacuum sealed the food grade bags and place it in the SousVide Supreme for 2 hours at 120°F, let it rest for 15 minutes and throw it on a screaming hot grill outside for 1 minute per side, just to get a nice smoky char. It’s wonderfully tender, the aged flavor lingered on the palate leaving my guests haunted and wanted more.
The whole roast of Chateaubriand (photo seen at the top of this post) was thinly coated in a Dijon mustard-rosemary marinade. Served rare/medium-rare, this lean cut of beef tenderloin was magnificent. Granted, I’m going against tradition but it works. It still retained the elegant beefy flavor but the mustard and rosemary gave it some piquancy to make it interesting.
My parents told me of a bad experience of eating lamb at home when they attempted many decades before. Finally, this particular evening changed their perspective completely. I roasted the Frenched racks of lamb from Pat LaFrieda marinated and coated in a rosemary pesto. The lamb loin roast from Pure Bred was marinated inside and out with a purée of fresh herbs such as parsley, mint, rosemary, herbs de Provence, garlic, kosher salt, and tellicherry black pepper). My guests were fawning how amazingly tender (that it can easily be cut with a butter knife) and delicious both of these lamb dishes were.
Fast forward a few of dishes, this cheesecake was the pièce de résistance of the entire meal: Cheesecake Mosaïc, a two-layer cheesecake made of pistachio cheesecake filled with sour cherries and topped pistachio cream cheese mousse. This was Pierre Hermé’s recipe from his new upcoming book, Pierre Hermé Pastries. It was the best reinterpretation of cheesecake I ever ate and made by far. It was flavorful from the use of pistachio paste, lightly sweetened cream cheese and sour cherries and it wasn’t remotely dense as American or New York cheesecake.
After eating through everything for at least 4 hours with good conversation and laughs, it was one of the most successful dinners I’ve cooked at home. It helps to use the best possible ingredients, like the finest meats from Pat LaFrieda and Pure Bred Lamb, with good cooking/baking techniques you can pull off a great meal for large parties like I had or even just for one.
To view more of my photos of this dinner, please scroll through the slideshow below or from my Flickr photoset:
Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors
Pure Bred Lamb