Like Music to Your Taste Buds

It is a joy to see the Sunset Concerts buffet filled with people enjoying my food and lively conversation.

It is a joy to see the courtyard filled with people enjoying my food and lively conversation. Photo by Jared Steven.

Sunset Concerts 2012 are over, but as a colleague reminded us in pictures, “What a summer it was!”

For me, the pleasure wasn’t only hearing great tunes or watching the showmanship of the artists, but enhancing the fan experience with good food. Each week, as I planned the menu for each of the popular pre-concert buffets, I drew inspiration from the feel of the music, the cultural and culinary heritage of the band, and the fresh summer bounty. It was fun to create something original, with music serving as my muse.

For the Sunset Concerts performance by La Santa Cecilia, among many dishes inspired by the band’s Latin American background, I created lamb shoulder braised with guajillo peppers, cinnamon, and orange. As I greeted guests, many asked me for the recipe. I’m happy to share it now with all of you. Enjoy it year round… and be sure to dine at Zeidler’s Cafe for next year’s season to see what I come up with next!

The lamb being served in the courtyard. I made extra sauce that night, to be sure there would be plenty for everyone.

The lamb shoulder being served in the courtyard on August 23. I made extra sauce that night, to be sure there would be plenty for everyone.

Lamb Shoulder Braised with Guajillo Peppers, Cinnamon, and Orange
4 lbs. boneless lamb shoulder, cleaned of excess fat and connective tissue and re-tied
5 oz. Guajillo chili peppers, seeded and de-stemmed, soaked and rinsed
6 chili de arbol peppers, toasted
4 cups diced pineapple
12 whole garlic cloves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
8 cloves
3 whole cinnamon sticks
1-1/2 cups orange juice
4 cups water
1-1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2-1/2 tablespoon sugar

  • Blend chili peppers, pineapple, garlic, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, orange juice, and water.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Heat a saucepan with 3 tablespoons olive oil.
  • Add sauce and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Season with vinegar, sugar, and salt.
  • Strain sauce and let cool.
  • Brown lamb in Dutch oven, then add 3/4 of sauce and 1/2 cup water.
  • Cover and place in a pre-heated 350° oven for 3 hours.
  • Serve with remaining sauce and enjoy!

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