Thursday, September 12, 2013
During our most recent stay at the fabulous Golden Stage Inn, we found our way to a Vermont attraction that we had missed previously -- a cooking demonstration at the Hidden Kitchen, which is attached to the Inn at Weathersfield, another B&B in the area. (Stay there if the Golden Stage is full -- it seems quite nice!)
Although we lived for a stint in Texas, where all things Bar-B-Q are decided, the iron-lung sized grill many of our neighbors there owned had nothing on the true open-pit roast we experienced right here in New England -- a real hole in the ground filled with vegetation and coals, and a lamb from the nearby Newall Farm. We had no trouble finding the pit once we arrived at the Inn: we simply followed the wonderful scent of smoke and roasting meat. We were a bit early for the class (unless one counts coffee, this was actually our very first cooking class, at least since junior high school in the 1970s!) and we were graciously greeted by the Inn proprietors and offered a beverage while we waited.
At the appointed time we were joined by other class members and taken on a tour of the gardens and the open pit roast procedure was explained to us. Here the term "field to fork" is measured in dozens of steps. This quartered lamb had been in the pit for about 8 hours, on coals that had taken a dozen hours to prepare prior to that! We then went into the kitchen where the rest of the demonstration took place.
We started with learning how to make Native American Fry Bread, and Pam took a turn hand-forming and frying a piece, which turned out the be the puffiest one made that day! Next we we shown how to make a super-simple blackberry jam (no pectin needed since we would eat it right then) and a roasted corn salad. The fry bread was then topped with everything else we made (the lamb, the jam, the salad) and then folded over so that it looked not entirely unlike a taco. We also had a delicious fruit punch based on a fortified apple cider from the very same farm as the lamb itself.
It was Pam's first time eating lamb, and probably the second ever for James. My, it was good!
Instructions for building the open pit, selecting a lamb, and all the recipes were provided to us and can be found in this document.