Friday, October 17, 2008

It's sad

When the shining star of a meal is the side-dish. :)

The other night we decided to try out some pre-packaged potato gnocchi we found at the store. I figured we would take a regular jar of sauce, add some personal flair, throw in some lamb meat and a side of asparagus just for some color.


It sounds like a great meal. But it wasn't.


The problem started with the lamb meat. We accidentally bought neck meat, and didn't realize it until dinner time rolled around.  That would have been wonderful of I had an extra couple hours on my hands to slowly braise the collagen. It would have been tender and voluptuous.  But I didn't have that much time, and the meat suffered for it. I spent a good 15 minutes slicing my way around bone and connective tissue, then I seared it and threw the marinara (with mushrooms, and plenty of other seasonings) over it and cooked it on med-low for as long as I could... but it wasn't long enough. The meat was tough, and not nearly as flavorful as it should have been.


Then there was the gnocchi. Yet another failure. They cooked up just fine, and the texture was far superior to anything I have managed with home-made gnocchi yet. No, it wasn't the texture that killed the gnocchi, it was the flavor. Or lack thereof. It was kind of like eating hearty lumps of nothing. Disappointment. Looks like I will be making my own next time I get a gnocchi craving.


But man, that asparagus was AWESOME! Just a quick boil resulted in sweet and tender bits of lovely greenness that stole the show from all the other ingredients.


At least it wasn't a total bust.


melissa said...

I'll be waiting to see you make your own then. ;) I'm still struggling badly with dough, so no homemade gnocchi for me. Yet.

Sorry about the lamb. That blows.

Granny J said...

Reminds me of my long, long lost quasi-bohemian youth, eking out cheap meals. The stores got in something called lamb breast, which was a lot of bone & a little meat for 8 cents/pound. All you could make with it was a reasonably good stew.

TomboCheck said...

Melissa - You needn't wait at all. I have never made dough of any type before the gnocchi, which is why my texture was off. Unfortunately making them from scratch takes some time, so it is something that is best saved for weekends. But you can make a ton and freeze them which is nice.

Granny - I almost decided to just save the neck pieces for stew, but didn't have any other proteins to throw with the gnocchi... the ol' proverbial rock and a hard place. :)

We do have some lovely (and cheap!) ham hocks which will D will be putting into a split pea soup this week.... I'm definitely looking forward to that yumminess. :)