Home Food The Shabbat table: Bringing Le Marais to you

The Shabbat table: Bringing Le Marais to you

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BETH H PHOTO

Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom! Le Marais is one of the finest and most successful kosher restaurants in the United States, and eating there is a memorable experience. Now, you can make some of the incredible dishes from Le Marais in your own kitchen.

Le Marais: A Rare Steakhouse—Well Done is a collaboration between Mark Henessey, Le Marais’ executive chef, and Jose Meirelles, its executive chef and co-owner. Only in New York would a non-Jewish Portuguese immigrant open a French bistro and hire an Irish-Italian Catholic as its executive chef.

Now you can learn how to create the incredible classics from Le Marais at home. Discover the techniques and recipes you need to bring French gourmet into the Kosher kitchen – or any kitchen, for that matter.

The following menu would make an elegant meal for Shabbat, or any special occasion. Bon appétit!

BRAISED LAMB SHANKS

MAGGIE HOFFMAN PHOTO

Adapted from Le Marais: A Rare Steakhouse—Well Done

Serves 8

I’m not sure that there is any dish that is better suited for a cold winter day than braised lamb shanks. Like all braised dishes, they are deceptively simple to make and are great for leftovers. I serve this with my personal favourite side dish, creamy polenta, though any absorbent starch will do the trick.

  • 4 tbsp. peanut oil
  • 8 (12-to-14 ounce) lamb shanks
  • Salt and white pepper
  • 2 medium-size yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 (750 ml) bottle dry red wine, such as Bordeaux
  • 3 fresh plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 5 sprigs mint, plus extra for garnish
  • 5 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. pink peppercorns
  • Rind of 1 orange
  • 8 dried figs
  • 8 dried apricots

Preheat the oven to 300 F.

Place a 14 X 17-inch lidded braising dish on the stovetop over medium-high heat and add the oil. Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper. Working in batches, sear the meat on all sides until well browned. When done, remove each piece and set aside until all of the lamb has been seared.

Add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook until the onions are caramelized. Add the tomato paste, stir and cook until the tomato paste begins to brown, about three minutes. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the vegetables, stir and cook for about another four minutes. Add the wine and mix in well.

Use a spoon to scrape off all of the fond from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the temperature on the stovetop to medium heat and cook until the liquid thickens, about three to four minutes. Return the lamb to the pan and add the tomatoes, carrots and saffron. Pour in just enough water to cover the meat. Place the remaining herbs, spices and the orange rind in a cheesecloth bag, tie closed and then drop that into the pan. Cover the pan and place in the oven for about three hours. At the two-hour mark, add the figs and apricots. Cook for another 30 minutes, or until tender.

When fully cooked, remove the lamb from the pan. Serve in a bowl with some of the onions, tomatoes, carrots and dried fruits. Garnish with fresh mint.

POMMES BOULANGÈRE

Adapted from Le Marais: A Rare Steakhouse—Well Done

Serves 8

Prepare the entire dish and then pop it into the oven an hour before serving.

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick or 1/2 cup) unsalted margarine, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • 4 medium-sized Spanish onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 8 large russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 8 sprigs thyme, leaves only
  • Salt and white pepper

Preheat oven to 375 F. Thoroughly grease a four-quart baking dish with margarine and set aside.

Place an eight-inch skillet on the stovetop over medium-high heat and add oil and margarine. Add onions and salt and pepper. Cook until soft and golden brown. Drain fat from onions and set both aside, separately, until ready to use.

Place a thin layer of sliced potatoes on bottom of prepared dish and season with salt and pepper. Cover with some of the sauteed onions and sprinkle with fresh thyme. Repeat layers using remaining ingredients, ending with potatoes.

Pour reserved cooking fat over the layers and then add just enough water to cover the potatoes.

Place dish into oven and bake for 30–40 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the top has browned. Insert a paring knife into the centre of the dish; if it slides in and out without resistance, you’re good to go.

When fully cooked, remove dish from oven and serve.

PORT-POACHED PEARS

DAVID BLAINE PHOTO

Adapted from Le Marais: A Rare Steakhouse—Well Done

Serves 6

This dessert is classic, simple, elegant and sexy. If you can’t find quality port, use a less tannic dry red wine and increase the sugar by about 1/2 cup.

  • 6 cups port
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 strip orange rind
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 8 firm, almost ripe pears, Anjou or Bartlett

Place an eight-quart, lidded stockpot on the stovetop over high heat, add all the ingredients except the pears and bring to a boil. In the meantime, peel the pears, leaving the stem intact and some of the skin at the top to give them a more rustic look.

When liquid comes to a boil, lower temperature on stovetop to low heat, bring liquid to a simmer and add pears. Cover and let cook for 15­–20 minutes, until pears are cooked through yet still firm. Turn pears in liquid every five minutes or so to ensure even colour and cooking. Remove pears from pot and set aside while you finish the sauce.

Increase temperature on stovetop to high heat and cook remaining poaching liquid until it has reduced by about three-quarters, or until it becomes syrupy.

Serve pears while still warm, topped with premium vanilla ice cream (or non-dairy ice cream for a meat meal). Drizzle both pears and ice cream with warm sauce.


Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada. She is the author of 12 cookbooks and divides her time between work as a food writer, food manufacturer, consultant, spokesperson, cooking instructor, lecturer and cookbook editor. Norene lives in Toronto, and her motto is: “Food that’s good for you should taste good!” For more information, visit her website, or email her.

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Norene Gilletz
Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada. She is a food writer, food manufacturer, consultant, spokesperson, cooking instructor, lecturer, cookbook editor and now a podcaster. Norene lives in Toronto and her motto is “Food that’s good for you should taste good!” For more information, visit her website at gourmania.com..