Photography: Courtesy Smith Fork Ranch

A plateful of Colorado’s diner’s delight can now be yours. All you need to do is rustle up these recipes.

Smith Fork Ranch is a Western gourmand’s retreat. Near western Colorado’s North Fork Valley, the 15-year-old ranch showcases the American West as a bountiful gourmet table under the direction of executive chef Marcus Parrott. Now in his sixth year there, Parrott builds on tradition and history stretching back to the Ute Indians’ use of abundant wildlife and the 19th-century cattlemen’s development of the area’s fertile land. A plateful of this diner’s delight can now be yours. All you need to do is rustle up these recipes.

Blackberry Gazpacho

(Serves 68)

Gazpacho

4 cups blackberries, halved
1½ cups red pepper, diced
1 cup green pepper, diced
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 Roma tomato, diced
1 shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup sherry or apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Garnish

Blackberries, halved
Basil leaves
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

Combine all the ingredients for the soup in a large bowl and toss to combine. Cover, put in the refrigerator, and let macerate for several hours.

Remove from the refrigerator and purée in a blender on high speed for 1 – 2 minutes. Pass through a fine-mesh strainer. Check for seasoning and consistency, and keep well-chilled.

To serve, ladle the soup into chilled bowls, and garnish with the blackberries, basil, olive oil, and balsamic.

Braised Lamb Shank With Peas, Artichoke, Olive, and Pomegranate

Lamb

Lamb shanks, as many as you intend to serve
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 onion, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups red wine
3 bay leaves
Chicken or beef stock, or water, to cover

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Season the shanks with salt and pepper. Get a pan very hot and sear the shanks on all sides, adjusting the heat as necessary. You may need to do this in batches. When the shanks are well-browned, remove them from the pan and add the onion, celery, and carrots. Sweat them over medium heat. Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 – 3 minutes, and then deglaze with the wine.

In a large enough pan to fit all the shanks, put the vegetable and wine mixture, and lay the shanks on top. Add the bay leaves and cover with the stock or water. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 3½ – 4½ hours, until very tender, but not falling apart.

Remove from the oven and pull out the shanks. Strain. Then add the shanks back in to let them cool in the liquid, preferably overnight. Reserve three cups of liquid for making the jus.

For the Artichoke

10 small spring artichokes
1 lemon, juiced
1 cup white wine
½ cup olive oil
4 sprigs parsley
3 sprigs tarragon
2 sprigs thyme
Salt, to taste

Fill a pan with enough water to cover the artichokes, and add the lemon juice.

Working with one artichoke at a time, pull off the outer leaves until the tender center is left. Peel the stem, remove the top, and halve. Scoop out the choke, if any, and add to the water. Repeat with the remaining artichokes.

Add the wine and olive oil to the pan, and make a sachet of the herbs. Add to the mixture. Season with salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until the artichokes are tender. Slice into appropriately sized pieces and let cool in the cooking liquid.

Peas, Olive, and Pomegranate

English peas, shelled, to yield 1 – 2 cups (depending on serving size)
½ – 1 cup salt-cured olives, pitted and torn in half
1 pomegranate, seeded and reserved

For the peas, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the peas for 30 seconds to 1 minute and immediately plunge into an ice bath. Remove from the bath, and keep chilled.

Store the olives and pomegranate in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

To Serve

1 shallot, diced
1 cup red wine
2 bay leaves
Crushed black pepper, to taste
1 cup pomegranate juice
Reserved stock, from above
1 tablespoon olive oil
Mint leaves, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Put the shanks in the oven to warm.

Sweat the shallot over medium heat, and deglaze with the wine. Add the black pepper and bay leaves, and reduce until almost dry. Add the pomegranate juice and reduce by half. Add the reserved stock and reduce until a sauce consistency. Strain and keep warm.

Toss the peas, artichokes, and olives in a bowl with the olive oil and warm in the oven. When warm, toss in the pomegranate seeds.

Place one shank on each plate and spoon some of the vegetable mixture next to it. Pour the sauce directly over the shank, scatter some mint leaves around, and serve.


Read our Western Gourmet feature on Smith Fork Ranch. For more information on Smith Fork Ranch, visit the resort’s website.

From the May/June 2017 issue.

Explore:Food & Spirits