Monthly Archives: December 2015


Seeded Lamb Chops with Tomato Mint Salsa

This mixed seed crust used on the lamb chops would be terrific with beef steaks as well. If you need to cook the Seeded Lamb Chops in batches, be sure to wipe out the pan in between to remove any burnt seeds.

Serves 4

1 1/2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
3 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon celery seeds
8 (4-ounce) lamb chops, about 3/4-inch thick
Salt to taste
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Tomato Mint Salsa, see recipe below, for serving

Mix together the cracked pepper and sesame, cumin, and celery seeds in a small shallow bowl. Season the lamb chops all over with salt. Firmly press each chop into the seed mixture to coat all over. Set aside.

In a large, preferably cast-iron, skillet that comfortably holds all 8 chops, heat the oil to very hot but not smoking. Cook the chops in the bubbling oil until the seeds are golden, about 2 minutes per side. (Do not worry about a few seeds slipping off.)

To serve, spoon Tomato Mint Salsa onto 4 serving plates. Top with two lamb chops each and serve.

Tomato Mint Salsa

1 bunch mint, leaves only, finely chopped
6 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and reserve in refrigerator.


4 Ways to Spice Up Your New Year’s Eve

Get an early start on your New Year’s Eve festivities in Las Vegas with a special Border Brunch and complimentary champagne toast at noon for $35 at Border Grill Forum Shops. Call 702.854.6700 for reservations.

Then paint the town gold at Border Grill Mandalay Bay with unlimited bites and booze for $75 per person plus an East Coast ball drop at 9pm! Call 702.632.7403 for reservations.

Ringing in the New Year on the West Coast? Celebrate with a sensational 4-course dinner plus
a sparkling cocktail for $65 per person at Border Grill Santa Monica and Border Grill Downtown LA.

New Year’s Day Brunch

Continue the New Year’s celebration with Border Brunch in Santa Monica, The Forum Shops, and Mandalay Bay!

What better way to kick off the first day of 2016 than with bloody marias, bottomless mimosas, and unlimited small plate favorites such as Peruvian Shrimp and Grits, Yogurt with Housemade Granola, Huevos Rancheros, and Churro Tots.


Roasted Duck with Grape Sauce and Crispy Chestnuts

Photo: Gentyl + Hyers

Roasted duck may not be part of the traditional holiday spread, but it should be. Choose duck for your table, and you’re in for a steak-like treat. Roasted, the thick fat underneath the skin renders, basting the meat and crackling the skin.

You’ll want to rub the bird with salt and pepper and let it sit in your refrigerator for a day or two before you roast it — this extra step is well worth the advance planning, as it results in deeply flavorful meat and ultra-crisp skin.

Serves 2 to 4

1 medium (5 to 6 pound) whole duck; neck, gizzard, and heart reserved
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 bay leaves
2 ribs of celery, cut in thirds
1/2 pound seedless green grapes, halved
1/2 pound seedless red grapes, halved
1 pound fresh or jarred chestnuts, lightly roasted, shelled, skinned, and coarsely chopped


2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup minced shallots
1 cup Madeira wine, divided
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water

With a knife, prick duck skin all over except legs. Without cutting into flesh, score breast skin in crosshatches. Season duck liberally, inside and out, with salt and pepper. Place on a rack set in a roasting pan and refrigerate, uncovered, 1 to 2 days.

Bring stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add neck, gizzard, and heart; simmer 30 minutes. Strain and set aside. If you like, reserve solids for sauce; shred neck meat and finely chop heart and gizzard.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a 3-quart saucepan over low heat. Add shallots; cook until soft, 10 minutes. Increase heat to high, add 1/2 cup Madeira, and cook until reduced by a third. Add reserved stock and, if using, reserved giblets; cook until reduced by a third. Add honey and vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Whisk in cornstarch mixture; simmer until thickened, about 4 minutes. Set sauce aside.

Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Let duck sit at room temperature 1 hour. Stuff with bay leaves and celery; place breast side up on a rack in a shallow roasting pan filled with 1/4-inch of water. Roast 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees; roast 40 minutes. Turn breast side down; roast 40 minutes longer. Return to breast side up; roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into breast reads 145 degrees, 15 to 30 minutes longer.

Transfer rack to a cutting board and tent duck with foil. Increase oven to 450 degrees F. Pour drippings from pan into a heatproof measuring cup. Allow fat to rise and skim it off, reserving drippings for future use. Add 1 tablespoon fat to roasting pan, reserving remainder. Heat pan over medium-high heat; add green and red grapes and cook, swirling, until slightly soft, 5–7 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup Madeira and bring to a boil, scraping browned bits from bottom of pan. Cook until reduced by two-thirds, about 3 minutes. Add reserved sauce and simmer 2 minutes. Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter, transfer to a gravy boat, and keep warm.

In a 12-inch skillet, heat reserved duck fat (about 1 cup) over high heat. Fry chestnuts in three batches until golden brown, about 2 minutes each. With a slotted spoon, remove chestnuts and drain on paper towels. Season with salt.

Place rack back in roasting pan. Roast duck until skin is crisp, 10–15 minutes. Carve immediately and serve with the sauce and chestnuts on the side.


Green Corn Tamales

These green corn tamales are a good choice for the beginning tamale maker because they don’t contain masa. They are also a great choice for a party because everybody loves them. The flavors are simple and sweet. We’ve been serving them at a rapid clip for many years at our restaurants.

The green in Green Corn Tamales means that the corn is fresh rather than dried. It doesn’t refer to the color of the corn, although fresh husks are green.

Makes 10 to 12 tamales, or 6 servings

10 ears corn
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of sugar, if necessary
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup hominy grits
Salsa Fresca (see recipe below), for serving
Sour cream, for serving

Remove the corn husks by trimming off both ends of the cobs, trying to keep the husks whole. Place the largest husks in a pot of hot water and set aside to soak.

To make the stuffing, working over a bowl, run the point of a sharp knife down the center of each row of corn kernels, and then scrape with the dull side of the knife to remove the kernels.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over moderate heat. Add the corn and its juices, the salt, pepper, the sugar if the corn isn’t sweet, and the cream and simmer until the mixture thickens, 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool. Then stir in the baking powder and grits and reserve in the refrigerator.

Drain the corn husks on paper towels. Make ties for the tamales by cutting a few of the husks into strips.

To stuff the tamales, overlap 2 or 3 husks and spread about 3 tablespoons of corn filling down the center. Fold over the sides and then the ends to enclose the filling. Tie with a corn husk string. Repeat with the remaining filling and additional corn husks.

In a steamer or a pot fitted with a rack, make a bed for the tamales with the remaining corn husks. Add the tamales and steam over low heat for 1 hour. Remove from the steamer and let rest 10 minutes. Serve hot with Salsa Fresca and sour cream.

Salsa Fresca

Makes 2 cups, or 6 appetizer servings with chips

4 medium ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and finely diced
1/4 red onion, minced
2 jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded if desired, and minced
1 bunch cilantro, leaves only, chopped
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir and toss well, and serve. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator no more than 1 day.

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