The Patriarch, is our current selection for Cook the Books Club. However, a disclaimer here - many of us, myself included, like to start reading books written in a series at the beginning, as further along, the returning characters have undergone some previous development. I suppose authors don't like to repeat themselves too much. So, you may want to go back and read the first first.
In this novel Bruno is invited to the chateau of a boyhood hero, a popular leader in the French Resistance, for a lavish birthday celebration. Of course a murder ensues and our village police chief gets involved. It looks to be an accident, but Bruno thinks otherwise. Family secrets and tragedy are exposed. Also causing trouble in the region, an animal rights activist is protecting deer without any means of keeping them safe, outraging local hunters.
For this, as in his earlier novels, the food and wine descriptions were plentiful and tempting, however the only difficulty was in narrowing it down to what might be available, or in tune with the season. I decided to go with a take-off from one of Chief Bruno's very first mentions, a roast of lamb marinated in wine with herbs. Not being able to secure the Monbazillac, I went with a nice, earthy red Cotes-Du-Rhone from Saint Cosme instead, and made a braise of lamb shoulder stew chunks.
Lamb Braised in Cotes-Du-Rhone
Inspired by the directions in The Patriarch, by Martin Walker, Pages 47-49
- 1/3 cup Burgundy wine or a nice dry red wine like the Cotes-du-Rhone I used
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced and 5-6 whole cloves for the braise
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced, and 3 whole sprigs for the braise
- 1 lb lamb, cut in 1 1/2 inch chunks (he used a shoulder of lamb and roasted it; mine was purchased cut up with some bones - "stew meat" and braised
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or duck fat
- 2 cups beef broth, undiluted, or homemade stock
- 1/2 teas. cumin
- cinnamon sticks (optional)
- 1 small onion, roughly chopped
- 1 Anaheim chili, sliced (be careful - it might be hotter than you think
- 1 red bell pepper, cut in chunks
- 1 carrot, cut in 1/4" slices
- 3 or 4 small potatoes, cut into quarters
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Combine first 6 ingredients.
- Pour over meat in a shallow dish.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 6-8 hours.
- Drain meat, reserving marinade.
- Discard bay leaf and pat lamb dry with paper towel
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat; brown meat in oil. Remove meat and lay down the reserved sprigs of rosemary and sticks of cinnamon, if using.
- Put the lamb back and surround with cloves of garlic. Add cumin, consomme and reserved marinade; bring to a boil.
- Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 1/2 hours.
We had this delicious stew over rice (as I did not add potatoes) with a salad on the side. We definitely are having the weather for soups, braises and roasts, quite rainy and chilly here. I'll share this post over at Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking event, with the November Foodies Read as well as with our Cook The Books Round-up.