Recipes: Here’s your menu for a perfect autumn dinner party

Ah, take in the aroma of slow roasted meat melding with plenty of garlic and fresh herbs. The house takes on the scent of what I imagine to be the smell of a French farmhouse with a talented home cook at the helm. An autumn menu with luscious, full-flavored dishes can celebrate the shorter days and cooler evenings; it can be the cornerstone of a small dinner gathering.

Autumn is such a great time to bring a few friends together. Cookbook maven and Food Network star Ina Garten has mastered a 4-hour leg of lamb that would be hard to beat. The technique of low and slow braising for a generous amount of time, seems to create a sense of luxury and liberation.

At serving time, carving isn’t required because the lamb is too tender to slice. Pull-apart pieces are served warm in large, shallow bowls. Diners’ large place-setting spoons scoop up the meat along with reduced wine-based braising juices and Provençal white beans spiked with celery, carrots, garlic, and fresh herbs.

Welcome, autumn. Dig in.

Ina’s Four-Hour Leg of Lamb with Provençal White Beans

Serves 6 to 8


One 6- to 7-pound bone-in leg of lamb

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon kosher salt and 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

One (750-ml) bottle dry white wine

2 heads of garlic, broken apart into cloves but not peeled

15 large sprigs fresh rosemary

15 large sprigs fresh thyme

6 bay leaves


1. Heat the oven to 300 degrees.  Generously rub lamb all over with olive oil and season all over with salt and pepper. Heat a very large ovenproof Dutch oven over medium-high heat until its hot. Add the lamb and sear on all sides for about 12 minutes, until its browned all over. Remove the lamb to a plate.

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2. Add the wine and 2 cups of water to the pan and cook for a minute or two, scraping up all the brown bits in the bottom. Add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves and the lamb on top. Place the lid on the pot and bake in the oven for 4 hours, basting occasionally. (If you don’t have a lid, you can cover it tightly with 2 layers of aluminum foil.)

3. After 4 hours, the lamb should be incredibly tender and falling off the bone. Remove the lamb to a plate, cover it tightly with foil and allow it to rest. Strain the sauce into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes to reduce. It will still be brothy. Taste it and adjust seasoning, adding more salt if needed.

4. Presentation: The lamb will be too tender to slice; serve it warm in large, shallow bowls with plenty of brothy sauce, and beans (bean recipe follows). Provide large spoons to diners. Sprinkle on a smidgen more of chopped fresh parsley if desired.

— Courtesy Ina Garten, Food Network

Provençal White Beans are a great dish for your fall feast.(Photo by Cathy Thomas) Provençal White Beans

Serves 6 to 8


14 to 16 ounces dried Great Northern beans; see cook’s notes

1 …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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