Archer: Tavë Kosi à la Sterling

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Archer is coming back tonight, WOO!!!

To celebrate I’d like to bring you back to a fun little episode from season 4 called “Live and Let Dine”, In which the crew of ISIS finds itself working undercover at a ritzy restaurant to protect the Albanian ambassador.That restaurant, Seize, is home to the bombastic reality show, “Bastard Chef”, hosted by Lance Casteau (voiced by Anthony Bourdain).

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Casteau, famous for his risotto, caustic insults, and witty bumpers has more than his work cut out for him when not only does he need to make up an entirely Albanian menu, he also needs to rely on the worlds’ most inept kitchen staff to cook it.

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The featured dish from this episode is Tavë Kosi, a quiche-like casserole made of lamb, yogurt, rice, and eggs, (or “Albanian glop” and “sheep’s face” if you’d ask Casteau). This peasant entree is the iconic Albanian comfort-food equivalent to the American Mac and Cheese. Though I will say that what they actually do make…

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looks anything but traditional…

To quote Casteau: Food? We’re not making food! We’re making cuisine! Food is what a dog eats!”. So likewise, we’ll totally not be making a traditional Tavë Kosi.

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Nailed it!

So from what I gathered from the events of the episode and the picture, they use aubergine (aka:eggplant), mushrooms, alfalfa sprouts, some kind of purple leaf, and some kind of green stuff.

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My technique might not be as strong as Sous Chef Randerson’s

Since I’d rather not look like a dinosaur’s tampon after butchering it, we’ll be using lamb stew meat rather than sheep’s face for this recipe.

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BOOM! Bumper!

We might even use some of those slippery metal bowls

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WONG WONG WONG WONG WONG WONGWONGWONGWONG….WONG

Casteau may want to remind you of his famous risotto, so we’ll use some arborio rice. And since this is not Spain in the Thirties, we’ll be cooking the whole lot in white wine.

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So what is that purple leaf and green stuff? I first thought it was purple basil and pesto. I, however, couldn’t find purple basil while shopping. I did find, however, purple perilla – also known as shiso – which is a mint-flavored leaf often used in Vietnamese cuisine.

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For this recipe, we’ll be mixing some basil pesto into the yogurt sauce, and then mixing some of that into a puree of perilla, alfalfa sprouts, and green peas.

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You can probably find perilla in Asian supermarkets, Whole Foods, or you’re in Atlanta, Dekalb Farmers’ Market. However you can probably get a similar flavor, if not the look, from fresh mint leaves.

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So here it is, delicious high-end Albanian-fusion glop on a plate: Tavë Kosi a la Sterling.

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Tavë Kosi à la Sterling

Serves 6-8

Equipment: Oven, 9×13 casserole dish, colander, medium sized saucepan, 12-inch skillet with lid, stovetop, food processor.

Ingredients

Lamb mix
  • 1 lb diced eggplant
  • 1/4 lb sliced oyster mushrooms
  • 1.5 lb lamb stew meat, trimmed of excess fat and gristle
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
Yogurt Topping
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 lbs plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons basil pesto
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons dried marjoram or oregano
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 5 eggs
  • garlic powder (optional)
 Purée
  • 2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1/2 cup purple perilla or fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • kosher salt to taste

Instructions

When prepping, dice your eggplant and place them in a colander, Sprinkle a pinch or two of salt over it and let it sit while prepping your other ingredients. This will reduce the moisture and bitterness.

Season the lamb liberally with salt and pepper and put it in a bowl with 1/4 cup of flour. Toss to coat completely, add the mushroom and eggplant and stir to mix.

Heat skillet with 3 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil on the stovetop at med. When the butter has melted and the oil is shimmering, add the lamb mix and brown the meat, stirring to cook on all sides. After meat has browned, stir in the garlic, rice, and white wine. Put the lid on the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Allow to cook for 17-20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. While oven is preheating, heat 3 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan on the stovetop. When butter is melted, add 1/3 cup of flour and whisk until smooth. Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the yogurt, pesto, nutmeg, marjoram, and salt to taste. Reserve 1/2 cup of the yogurt mix in a separate container to use later. Add the eggs to the saucepan with the remainder and beat until smooth.

Spray the inside of the casserole dish with cooking spray. Spread the lamb mixture in the dish and then pour the saucepan of yogurt mix on top to cover completely. If you wish, sprinkle some garlic powder on top. Bake 45-60 minutes until golden on top.

Use the food processor to puree the reserved yogurt with all of the purée ingredients. Add salt to taste.

When the casserole is done baking, remove from the oven and allow to cool. Create a bed with a few spoonfuls of puree on each serving plate or bowl. Place a portion of casserole on each bed and garnish with alfalfa sprouts and perilla.

Serve

The Gluttonous Geek