Thursday, February 17, 2011

Shepherd to Chef

The American Lamb Board brought the pasture to the plate story to life with the Shepherd to Chef Dinner in Washington, D.C. featuring Chef Nick Stefanelli of Bibiana and Shepherd Craig Rogers of Border Spring Farms.  The goal is to connect consumers to lamb from across the land.  Don't worry, you can participate by going to the Lamb Jam Tour in DC on May 22, 2011.  The Shepherd to Chef program reflects the diversity of the domestic lamb production and follows the path from the land to the kitchen. 

Photos by Emily Clack
  • Did you know that there are approximately 70,000 sheep farms and ranches in the US with sheep being produced in all 50 states?  Hard to believe.  Growing up in the Midwest, I really hadn't eaten much lamb.  It wasn't until I became an adult that I gave it a try.  Hopefully the Lamb Jam will change the trends and bring lamb in to the homes of more Americans.
Craig Rogers' Border Springs Farm is a small family operation, with 600 sheep and still growing in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  We started our Shepherd to Chef Dinner with Rogers telling us about his sheep and sharing some fun stories.  I could see his passion as he told us about his guardian sheepdogs and their instinctual ability to protect the sheep with no training. As Craig was sharing his farm tales, Chef Nick Stefanelli was butchering a lamb with skills that made the process look almost effortless.

After Stefanelli showed us how to butcher the whole lamb, he wowed us with an amazing lamb dinner.  We started with some Passed Canapes paired with a Buty Winery Muscadelle.  
Then we were treated to an antipasti of cured lamb leg, fennel, olives and dill paired with Syncline "Subduction Red" Rhone Blend wine.  Next was the pasta course with ravioli stuffed with confit lamb neck, almonds, chili and mint paired with a Spring Valley "Uriah" Bordeaux Blend.  We enjoyed the Secondi of Roasted Lamb Loin and Tenderloin, hay smoked potatoes, cipollini onions and thyme, paired with a Columbia "Signature Series" Syrah.  You know they wouldn't skip dessert.  
I loved the Milk Chocolate Mousse with a Gianduia center of chocolate cake paired with a Milbrant late harvest Riesling.  

The meal was fabulous and I just can't wait for the Lamb Jam in May!  Get your tickets soon!!

Photos by Emily Clack

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