Posted: 12:00 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013

Golden Lamb chef offers comfort food recipes

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Ben Toney, executive chef at The Golden Lamb in Lebanon
Ben Toney, executive chef at The Golden Lamb in Lebanon

By Christie Schmidt

When it comes to great food, comfort is often the key.

Ben Toney, executive chef at The Golden Lamb in Lebanon, confessed that when he’s at home in his own kitchen, he gravitates toward the foods that nearly everyone loves: macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, burgers or pizza. Toney has been executive chef at The Golden Lamb for the last year and a half. Before that, he was at Trio in Kenwood.

What is your philosophy on cooking? Much like our philosophy at The Golden Lamb, I believe in buying fresh and locally if possible. At the restaurant, we buy all of our food from local farms. We say that we like to go from farm to table. I also think that keeping it simple is the way to go – you don’t need a ton of ingredients to make a tasty meal. Get variety by adding a few tweaks to your favorite comfort food.

What is The Golden Lamb’s most popular dish? That would definitely be our fried chicken. Rumor has it that back in the 1800s, Colonel Sanders (Kentucky Fried Chicken) came to the restaurant and had the fried chicken and then returned to get the recipe. In fact, we are headed down to Washington D.C. next week to cook our fried chicken for the U.S. Senate.

Any tips on the best way to cook lamb? Honestly, any way you choose to cook it – baked, fried, grilled – is suitable. Lamb is a really dark meat, like venison, so you’d cook it the same way you would beef. Unlike, say a pork chop, you can eat a lamb chop fairly rare, like you might a steak. It has a somewhat sweeter taste than beef, but isn’t too gamey tasting. Ground lamb is also a nice twist to meatloaf.

What are five ingredients that you think every kitchen should have? That’s easy – sea salt, fresh cracked black pepper, fresh lemons, garlic and thyme.

Chef Ben Toney’s recipes:

Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tb butter
  • 2 Tb flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ cup blue cheese
  • ¼ cup Romano
  • 1 8 oz block Velveeta cheese
  • 1 cup mild cheddar cheese
  • 1 Tb Worcestershire sauce
  • 5 dashes tobasco
  • 1 Tb fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 Tb mustard powder
  • 1 lb of desired pasta

Directions:

Cook pasta until al dente, drain and set aside. Place heavy bottom sauce pot on medium heat. Melt butter and add flour making a roux, and cook for one minute. Whisk in your milk slowly, making sure to remove any lumps. Once your milk has thickened, reduce the heat to low and add remaining ingredients. Stir occasionally and cook until all the cheese has melted, about 10 minutes. Add pasta and toss to coat.


Lamb Meatloaf

Ingredients:

  • 1lb ground lamb
  • 1 egg
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 # button mushrooms
  • 1 Tb Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tb Worcestershire
  • 1 Tb kosher salt
  • 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 oz ketchup
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs

Directions:

Dice peppers, onion and mushrooms and sauté in a large skillet with 1 tsp of vegetable oil. Cook until soft, cool, then puree until smooth. In large mixing bowl, combine the lamb, pureed vegetables, and seasonings. Mix thoroughly by hand. Add breadcrumbs and mix gently until breadcrumbs disappear. Form meatloaf into a log shape. Cook in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and place ½ cup ketchup on top of meatloaf. Cook for an additional 10 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

If you know of an interesting dining spot or just have an interesting recipe, contact Christie Schmidt atclschmidt5@yahoo.com.

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