It was very cold yesterday, and is even colder this morning as we are down to 1 degree. At least yesterday was sunny, and that was the first time the sun made an appearance in the last five days.
There was a surprise in the market that I don't usually see until much later in the year - fresh fava beans. Thanks to new labeling laws the country of origin has to be on the package or displayed above a bulk item. In this case the fava beans were from Mexico. They are a lot of work since you must first remove them from the pod and then remove the tough outer layer on each individual bean. These were young beans so that second layer was not difficult to remove, just time consuming. We sat in the front window in the sunshine with a couple of bowls and did the chore there.
The beans were quickly steamed then sauteed in a little olive oil and garlic.
While all this was going on there were lamb shanks braising in the oven with lots of garlic and herbs. Even Scott, the dog, had an active nose as the house smelled wonderful. Just after sunset we added leeks, white beans, fresh tomatoes, celery and carrots to the pot just until they were cooked crisp tender. At the end we scattered some gremolatta over the top and scattered the fava beans around the plate.
Variations on this dish remain one of my wintertime favorites. As an added bonus there is always leftovers with this dish and they are perhaps even better the second day after the flavors mellow into each other.
Two wines. We finished the Louis Martini Napa Cabernet Sauvignon discussed below. The medium weight of the wine was a wonderful match with the lamb, perhaps a better match than the duck from the previous night. The other wine was a 2003 Alcione Aglianico Puglia from Italy. This was a definitely different wine as it was much heavier in the fruit and in it's intensity. Definitely could tell it was from a warmer climate as it was much more jammy. It was good, but it did not go as well with the lamb shanks as the Martini Cabernet.
With Christmas coming up on Thursday it will be a short work week, but since it will be extremely busy I'm, happy to have the leftovers to shorten dinner prep when coming home.
I think Scott might have been happiest as he got some of the fat skimmed from the cooking liquid poured over his dog food this morning. He's been back to his dish a couple of times to sniff and see if he missed a drop or two.