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Braised Lamb & Polenta

Updated: Sep 8, 2018


This was the first meal I cooked two weeks after getting into a physical altercation with my old neighbor for threatening my son. Prior to this dish I hadn't cooked in two weeks which is highly unlike me considering I normally am cooking something fresh at least once a day. After that fight, I felt like my life was spiraling out of control and my temper kept getting the best of me. It was only the first of week March when this happened, I had just turned 30 a couple of months before that, and now I'm beating ass the third month into the year.

I remember sitting on my couch late in the afternoon feeling sorry for myself, and I turned to the food network. I was instantly inspired although I hadn't had much of an appetite and Bear was still at school. I got up, threw some clothes and hit Sprouts. I am a brunch fanatic, so f I was going to eat anything it was going to be that. I wanted lamb and I wanted grits but I didnt like the sound of those two things, so I asked myself what would give me the same texture of grits but is a little more refined. Then it hit me ... POLENTA! I grabbed center cut lamb, wine, fresh parmesan cheese, mint, and the polenta. When I got him I immediately began to out this dish together and started feeling better each step of the process.

I literally cooked my way through my thoughts. During the prep phase of the dish which included me seasoning, pan searing then braising the lamb in beef stock and red wine, I kept thinking about the fight with my neighbor at the time started. I kept thinking about how she kept pushing my buttons and harassing us with noise complaints 7 times a week for six month straight. I kept thinking about how she came up to my apartment yelling and screaming at me because she said Austin was making too much noise and I had to cuss her ass out. When I covered the lid of my crock pot, those thoughts stopped and I let the lamb simmer for about 40 minutes and continued watching the food network.

When it was time to put the polenta on medium high heat and bring the water, butter, a splash milk and a host of seasonings to a boil, I began thinking about how next this lady was calling me a "nigger bitch" repeatedly because standing up for my child. I have never heard racial remarks like that directed towards me before so it caught me off guard. As I'm whisking the hell out of the polenta when it started to boil after about 7 minutes I realized was getting upset again because I was trying to figure out where I got the strength to snatch this woman by her throat and lift her off the ground. And in an instant she tried to use her house key to cut my eye but she missed and ended up scraping my face to the point where I looked like Scar from lying King for about a month. As I was frying the egg and chopping up the mint for gremolata, I was temporarily saddened because of the ending of that fight and I dare not put into words what happened next, let's just say it was a long night.

Finally everything was done and it was time to plate. As I was plating I thought about the aftermath of that eventually subsided and how my face was healing at rapid speed. I put a little butter and parmesan cheese on the bottom of a bowl, added the polenta, then topped with the braised center cut lamb, which was then topped with a fried egg and mint gremolata.

Talk about comforting? By the time the meal was done, I was hungry and I ate every single bite and it comforted me with its warm creamy savory texture. I felt happy, relieved, and full. Comfort food at its finest, a fancier rendition of "shrimp & grits" was all the medicine I needed. Until next time,

With Love & Food,

-Chef Morghan

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