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Lamb dinner deconstructed at Silversmith Brewery in Niagara — breaking it all down

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Silversmith Brewing Company held a very informative and unusual dining event recently. A butcher and a chef teamed up to show us how to break down your dinner — literally.

This is how it goes down. Butcher Jamie Waldron (at right, top photo) kicks things off as he demonstrates taking apart a side of lamb. Meanwhile, Chef Matt Kershaw (at left, top photo) of Rapscallion and The Other Bird restaurants in Hamilton puts together a four-course tasting menu featuring cuts from the other half. During his demo, Waldron peels back the veil of mystery surrounding the art of butchery, explaining the economics of buying larger portions and how to get the most out of each part of the animal. It is a valuable lesson for home cooks looking to stretch their food dollar.

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With today’s increased concerns of eating meat laced with antibiotics and growth hormones, many serious home cooks (myself included) are looking for more trustworthy and environmentally friendly sources. But to many, the notion of buying larger portions, and the uncertainty of how to correctly handle them, may be intimidating. Any guide on the subject is an invaluable tool and Waldron’s book on the subject of home butchering, complete with pictures and step-by-step techniques, is now available.

Chef Kershaw’s first plate featured succulent slices of roast lamb leg paired (at top, below) with lamb’s leaf lettuce and goat cheese drizzled with mint vinaigrette. Next came cured and slow cooked lamb belly matched with creamy potatoes and pickled beet (at bottom, below). A syrupy reduction made from suckling pig and lamb stock easily catapulted the dish into my best-bite-of-the-night spot.

Niagara restaurantsAnd so the evening went – introductions to the various cuts of lamb, both on the hoof and on the plate. One dish took on an international theme featuring a version of lamb kofta, a meatball of sorts, seasoned with a blend of spices typically used in Northern Africa (below photo). Mixed cabbage slaw and creamy yogurt accented the aromatic spices.

The last plate, a rich and savoury slab of pressed lamb (above photo) was dressed with a thick, hot-sauce accented hollandaise sauce and topped with a lamb and duck fat roasted potato — yes, it was criminally as good as it sounds! Throughout the event the clinking of pints of Silversmith brews could be heard. This was the second such event, brought back by popular demand after last year’s sell-out. Keep an eye on Siversmith’s website for future events.