International Flavor with Chef Maria Cooper 6

ThreeWways with Balinese Lamb


An International Fare

Chef Maria Cooper uses bold international flavors and healthy proteins paired with fresh vegetables to create vibrant dishes. Her focus is on local, organic, and seasonal foods. Prior to her current position as the Executive Chef at the Highland City Club in Boulder, she was hired as the Chef/Consultant to open Harvest Restaurant in Madrid, Spain in 2008, Anjou in Boulder in 2007, and Café Zesta in Boulder in 2008.

Chef Maria is currently working on Beyond Paleo, a cookbook that will introduce affordable, nutrient-dense recipes that integrate easily into busy lifestyles, rich with dynamic international flavors and cooking techniques. Check out for more information.

Balinese Lamb Ragout with Kale, Local Asparagus & Cucumbers

Makes 2¼ quarts of ragout, and feeds 8+ depending on application (applications follow) The ragout freezes great. If you prefer, cut the recipe in half.

Try Golden Hoof Farm in Boulder for grass-fed ground lamb and lamb tallow for cooking!

3 pieces lemongrass, bottom ½” of stalk and outer layer discarded if quite thick and fibrous.

Zest and juice of 1 each organic lemon and lime

6 cloves garlic

¼ cup ginger, about ½ pinch pieces roughly chopped

1T fish sauce (optional, if omitting, add 1-2 extra tablespoons lime, and taste for extra salt at the end)

1 tablespoon toasted coriander

2½ teaspoons toasted turmeric

2 teaspoons toasted black pepper

2 teaspoons high mineral sea salt

1 red onion, roughly chopped

1 head organic chopped cilantro, stems ok

4 tablespoons chopped fresh organic mint (or 1 tablespoon dry mint)

2 tablespoons cooking oil: extra-virgin coconut oil, tallow (grass-fed beef or lamb fat), or schmaltz (chicken fat)

2 pounds ground lamb, grass-fed if possible, Golden Hoof Farm is a great source

1 bunch organic kale, ribs and stems removed and chopped roughly, approximately 1”-2” pieces

1 head local asparagus, woody ends removed, and diagonally sliced into ½” sliced

1 cup organic cucumber, ½” diced (optional for serving)

1 cup toasted and chopped almonds or cashews (optional for serving)

1 lime, cut into 8 wedges (optional for serving)

  1. With remaining section of lemongrass stalks, reserve thickest 1½”, and slice in 1/8” rings.
  2. Add the lemongrass, lemon, lime, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, coriander, turmeric, black pepper, salt, red onion, cilantro, and mint to the food processor and pulse until a thick mixture forms, but not quite a puree, approximately 30-40 pulses.
  3. In a 3-4 quart bowl, mix lamb with the onion spice mixture with your hands
  4. Warm 1 tablespoon of the cooking oil on medium-high heat and begin to brown half of the meat, spreading it all over the pan.  Allow the meat to caramelize before flipping it to caramelize on the other side.
  5. Set the meat aside and repeat with the other tablespoon of fat and the other half of the meat. If necessary, strain out the fat, or wipe out the pan in between cooking.
  6. On medium heat, add all the meat back in the pan with the kale and asparagus and allow the vegetables to steam until the kale is wilted, and the asparagus is crisp-tender, approximately 3-4 minutes.
  7. With the heat off, keep a lid on until you are ready to serve.

Top with chopped cucumbers, toasted nuts, and lime wedges.

This dish is great as is, or use it to create any of the following dishes:

  • Radicchio Leaves with Warm Balinese Lamb Ragout (first course)
  • Colorful Citrus Slaw with Balinese Lamb Ragout (second course)
  • Nourishing High Mineral Bone Broth with Balinese Lamb Ragout, Local Asparagus, & Roasted Butternut Squash

Radicchio Leaves Filled Warm Balinese Lamb Ragout (first course)

Feeds 4-14 as a first course, depending on size of leaf, and if guests take 1 or 2 leaves

9-14 radicchio leaves (purchase 2-3 small radicchio heads to choose best leaves)

½ recipe of Balinese Lamb Ragout with Kale and Cucumbers (warm or room temperature)

Reserved cucumbers, nuts, and lime wedges from the end of ragout recipe

Carrot peelings from 1-2 carrots, for garnish

  1. Fill each leaf with 1/3 to ½ cup of the ragout mixture
  2. Garnish with reserved cucumbers, nuts, lime wedges, and carrot peelings.

Colorful Citrus Slaw with Balinese Lamb Ragout

Feeds 6-10 as a main course, 14-20 as a first course, and this dish is great leftover!

¾ teaspoon each dry-toasted cumin, coriander, black pepper

1 ½ teaspoon high mineral sea salt

1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons flax oil combined with 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 cups baby organic arugula

3 medium carrots, grated

1 small head of red cabbage, core removed, and cut into thin slices

2 small avocadoes, chopped into ½” cubes

1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

1 full recipe of Balinese Lamb Ragout with Kale and Cucumbers

Reserved cucumbers, cashews, and lime wedges from the end of ragout recipe

  1. Make the dressing in a 4-6 quart bowl. Combine the toasted spices, salt, vinegar, and lime juice.
  2. Whisking constantly, combine and add the flax and olive oil in a stream to slowly combine, add the rest of the ingredients, and toss well.
  3. Divide slaw among plates and top with the lamb ragout, cucumbers, cashews, and lime wedges.

Nourishing High Mineral Bone Broth with Balinese Lamb Ragout & Roasted Butternut Squash

Feeds 10 as a main course, and this dish is great leftover!

8 cups high mineral bone broth, homemade grass-fed lamb stock, grass-fed beef stock, or chicken stock

4 cups chopped and roasted butternut squash

1 full recipe of Balinese Lamb Ragout with Kale and Cucumbers

Carrot peelings for garnish

  1. Heat the broth or stock and butternut squash until warm
  2. Ladle the broth and vegetables into each serving bowl, and top with the ragout, carrot peelings, cucumbers, cashews, and lime wedges.