Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A lamb on the prairie and lamb at Linderhof!

March came to the prairie like a lamb -- it's warm and balmy even with no wind (or gale) and feels so like Spring! The grass is starting to green (warmth and all of that snow moisture) and bulbs are poking their noses up -- ready to awaken for 2011.

We often celebrate March (and soon to come Spring) on March 1 with a lamb dinner. We hope that the outside is as lamblike as the inside (and this year it was!)

Thick chops, marinated in Dijon, rosemary, garlic and olive oil and then grilled. It's a perfect night to grill!

To go along with . . .
A wonderful potato fennel gratin. The Supermarket actually had fennel!!! I was so thrilled for this is a favorite dish of ours and goes so well with anything grilled. It's from favorite Ina Garten from her first book and it is soooo good!

Eating lamb on March 1 ensures us of March coming in like a lamb -- but we do not celebrate March going out like a lion by dining on lion on March 31!!!!! It's more lamb for us!!!!

It's Wednesday and I'm celebrating March is In Like a Lamb and so I'm joining Susan at A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday even though my lamb was inside!

I'm sharing the recipe for the potato fennel gratin. Cooking the fennel changes the flavor and it is not so anise flavored but milder and covered with cream and cheese -- does food get any better than that?


2 small fennel bulbs
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 T. good olive oil
1 T. unsalted butter
4 large russet potatoes
2 cups plus 2 T. heavy cream
2 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (or Swiss if you can't find Gruyere)
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350
Butter the inside of a 10 x 15 x 2 inch baking dish

Remove the stalks from the fennel and cut the bulbs in half lengthwise. Remove the cores and thinly slice the bulbs crosswise, making approximately 4 cups of sliced fennel. Saute the fennel and onions in the olive oil and butter on medium low heat for 15 minutes until tender.

Peel the potatoes, then thinly slice them by hand or with a mandoline. Mix the sliced potatoes in a large bowl with 2 cups of cream, 2 cups of Gruyere, salt and pepper. Add the sauteed fennel and onion and mix well.

Pour the potatoes into the baking dish. Press down to smooth the potatoes. Combine the remaining 2 T. of cream and 1/2 cup of Gruyere and sprinkle on top. Bake for 1 1/2 hours until the potatoes are very tender and the top is browned and bubbly. Allow to set for 10 minutes and serve.


Southerncook said...


I have not tried that gratin with the fennel but I have planted fennel in my herb bed this year. I will try it soon. It sounds delightful.


Pondside said...

March has come in like a lion here, with winds of 140 km/hr on the island. I have a store of firewood on the porch and flashlights on either side of the bed, so we're ready to anything. I'd love to dining on lamb tonight, but I'd need to be in a restaurant to do that, as TGD doesn't like lamb - his legacy from four years at the Royal Military College where mutton was a regular on the menu.

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

what a great tradition...looks scrumptous!

LV said...

March came in here like a wild woman. It is cool and the wind is terrible. I wish I had your left overs. All this looks delicious.

Donnie said...

Lovely tradition. The photos look gorgeous.

Martha said...

Pondie -- I didn't grow up on lamb either -- mother got mutton labeled lamb during the war and never made it again (that was WAY before I was born) -- but I was an adventuresome cook even at 19 -- I bought lamb chops and fixed them and was in love!

From the Kitchen said...

We had a rather balmy day too and I'm giving you all the credit for serving up that luscious lamb. Thanks, too, for reminding me of Ina's delicious dish.


Tracy F. said...

The potato recipe sounds yummy! Love anything from Ina Garten.

On Crooked Creek said...

Your dish looks delicious! We, too, have been grilling on our side of the prairie! Enjoying these days of freshness in the air!

Debbie said...

Oh goodness, I don't know what I like more, the table or the food! It all looks lovely and delicious. I guarantee your luncheons are a great fund raiser.

Anonymous said...

This lamb is just "catching up" on blogs.... and was wondering why do we peel potatoes for a dish like this one? I remember that the skins have a lot nutrients....

As always the pictures are so calm and delightful and elegant.