The story of the lambThe motivation for this whole meal goes back many years. Back when we were just married, we were eating one night at my favorite restaurant, Dean's Hungry I, which I've mentioned before.
One of the specials that night was rack of lamb with a pomegranate "tar". After eating it, she raved and raved about it. It was her favorite meal of all time for a few years.
It was supplanted by half a duck. Breast roasted and leg stuffed with a duck sausage at her favorite restaruant, Bachus. Dean sold out and the Hungry I soon folded. Chef Gary closed Bachus on a successful note and moved to Cape May. Such are the perils of having a favorite restaurant.
Move forward a few years to pomegranate season. We've bought a flat of pomegranates as the wife devours them happily in season. They're more work than the reward is worth to me. The little folder of pomegranate hype also talks about bottled pomegranate juice, a simple path to a past favorite dish. But I can't turn any up at any of the stores I can think of.
This spring, we were out to see a movie, Shanghai Knights, I think. We're both Jackie Chan fans. We had only a short time before the movie, so the sit-down restaurant wasn't an option. But just up the street from the theater is this middle eastern grill/barbecue, Chicken Express. Sort of a step up from fast food, but not a full service restaurant either. I've always liked it.
It has a big gas rotisserie in front with beef ribs and chickens roasting on it. A bit dramatic, but fun. No pork of course. Good lemon pilaf and a tasty sumac potato, A surprisingly tasty vinaigrette on his salad, usually an afterthough item in this sort of place.
Cicken Express was empty that day, so I struck up a conversation with the chef, mostly about his sumac source, and Persian cuisine in general. I can't find sumac locally either and have had it shipped in from Penzey's. The proprietor mentioned Pars, a Persian store about 1 1/2 miles from my home.
This place carries sumac at reasonable prices and quality as well as plenty of ingredients I've never laid eyes on outside of photographs. Including bottled pomegranate juice. At about the same price, they also had pomegranate paste. I opted for the paste as it seemed the best bang for the buck for my purposes. Had a little insight at the cash register. No credit cards. Hadn't even thought about that ramification of running a business under the crede of Islam. I can't remember if Chicken Express takes charge cards either. I think not.
And so we could have pomegranate sauced lamb for her birthday dinner. Mine was different, of course, but fun to take a crack at creating.