Open Fire Cooking with Lee Desrosiers
Hailing from The Spirit of America, Massachusets, Lee Desrosiers has roamed the country (many times on his motorcycle with a knife roll in his backpack) in search of mastering his trade and developing the art of becoming more than a chef. Taking inspiration from his hometown local farms, Andrew Tarlow's illustrious restaurants, and Chris Fischer of Martha's Vineyard, Lee quickly became versed on what it takes to become a top end chef.
After acquiring the tricks of the trade from his mentors, Lee decided to open his own joint in an abandoned lot back in Brooklyn. Bending the law, Achilles Heel was an instant success among the NY faithful with it's keen appreciation for butchery and using sustainably sourced chicken, cooked slowly on an open fire. Lee's willingness to take a playful and experimental approach to food garnered the eyes of the NY Times and pushed his career into the limelight.
Lee now works the open fire as the chef in residence at Scribe Winery up in the Sonoma wine country after scratching an itch to cook on his own terms. He has continued to follow his passion for travel while still embracing his art by creating a new experience for those who get to join him. Lee hosts outdoor animal roasts around the country and we were lucky enough to indulge. Knowing it is the season of giving, Lee and TS wanted to share three of his decadent recipes to bring to your own family. We assure you this is one meal you're not going to want to miss.
Bone-In Lamb Shoulder Over Tartine Bread
Yield: Serves 12 Time: 2 hours
• 4lbs (1 1/4” thick) of bone in lamb shoulder chops
• 1 loaf Tartine Bread
• 4 tomatoes
• 3 cloves Garlic
• 1 quart Half Moon Bay dry butter beans
• 2 tablespoons chopped Nasturtium greens and flowers
• Maldon Sea Salt, as need
• Rumi Olive Oil from Palestine, as needed
• Dried Oregano, as needed
• Sherry vinegar, as needed
Make sure the meat is pulled from the cooler 1 hour before cooking and is rubbed with the sea salt and olive oil.
Set up a grill about 1 1/2 - 2' over mesquite charcoal in a 3 x 2 feet area using one quadrant for the fire and the rest for the prep work. Starting and maintaining the heat of the fire will be weather dependent so try to choose a protected area. The coals should be scattered under at a low enough heat that does cause the fat to drip and flare up. Add lump charcoal to the coals to keep the heat going and beef up the coals if needed.
Place the meat on the hottest part of the grill. As the fat renders, brush the coals around to prevent flare ups and regulate the heat. It is important to rotate the meat to ensure it is cooked evenly and the fat is rendering properly. You want to slowly develop a crust on the meat, not going for black grill marks, just a slow even heat that will slightly dehydrate the meat and also render the fatty and chewy bits tender. Brush with a little water when the meat feels that it has stiffened.
Rub garlic and olive oil on the tartine bread and place on the grill until it toasts. Sprinkle dried oregano over the lamb, then pull the meat from the grill and rest on the bread. The drippings from the lamb will gather on the bread.
After the meat has rested for 10 minutes, cut off a little slice to taste for juiciness and salt. As far as doneness for these cuts, you want to cook it through and then some, checking to see if you do it slowly enough the piece of meat will become tender again.
• Chef’s Tip: The focus of cooking the meat is not on time but how it looks and tastes. If the meat is tough it actually means that it hasn't been cooked enough, contrary to popular belief
Remove the lamb from the bone in portion. Cut the tomatoes into wedges and toss with sherry vinegar and half moon bay butters.
Garnish with chopped nasturtium greens and flowers. Serve everything over the bread.