The Dish: Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten

Even among celebrated chefs, there is a rare distinction -- those whose first name is all you need to know, like Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

Vongerichten was born and raised in the Alsace region of France, known for its blend of French and German cuisine. He practically grew up in his parents’ busy kitchen. For his 16th birthday, they took him to a Michelin-starred restaurant and his choice of career was cemented. He soon began working there.

He later apprenticed with some of France’s famous chefs and began to open restaurants all around the world. Now, he’s head of a true restaurant empire with dining establishments from Paris to Tokyo, to Shanhai and New York. 

Here are some of Vongerichten’s signature recipes: 

Boneless lamb with mushroom crust and leek puree

Makes 4 servings 

Ingredients 

2 leek, trimmed of hard green parts, split in half, well washed, and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces dried black trumpet or other dried mushroom
1 egg, beaten with a little salt and pepper
Flour for dredging
2 racks of lamb, boned
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces shiitake or other mushrooms, trimmed and cut into chunks
2 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
2 thyme sprigs
Coarse salt   

Directions

  1. Cook the leeks in boiling salted water until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and transfer to a blender with the butter and salt and pepper to taste. Puree and keep warm.  

  2. Place the dried mushrooms in a spice or coffee grinder and grind to the consistency of coffee. Place them on a plate. Beat the egg in a bowl and place the flour on a plate. Dip the lamb very lightly in the flour, shaking off the excess, then dip it in the egg, then into the mushrooms. Pat the mushrooms to adhere; you want to coat the lamb heavily. Refrigerate for up to two hours, if time allows. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

  3. Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a 10-inch skillet and add the shiitake mushrooms, garlic, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, place the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in an ovenproof skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. A minute later, add the lamb; cook for two minutes on one side, then turn over the lamb and place the skillet in the oven for three to four minutes for rare meat, a little longer if you like it more done. 

  5. Let the lamb rest for a minute, then cut it into ½ inch-thick slices. Place a dollop of leek puree on each plate, top with a portion of mushrooms, then place the lamb on top. Sprinkle with a little coarse salt and serve.

Brussel sprouts cooked with smoked bacon and sage 

Serves 4 

Ingredients

1 qt brussel sprouts, trimmed, blanched and shocked
1 c smoked bacon lardons
1 tspn olive oil
Salt/black pepper
Fleur de sel
Black pepper
Balsamic vinegar
2 Tb sage, fine chiffonade

Directions

  1. Heat a sauté pan with olive oil until smoking, then add lardons and cook until bacon is fully rendered and crispy; degrease 80 percent of that fat.

  2. Add brussels sprouts and sauté until slightly crispy. Season with salt and black pepper. Spoon into a large bowl and drizzle with white balsamic vinegar then scatter with sage.

Warm beets with cranberries and ginger

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 ea medium size red, yellow and candy striped beets
3 qts water 
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Directions

  1. Combine all in a pot and bring to a simmer. Cook until beets are tender. Drain, wipe off peels with paper towels and cut in 1/6”s.

Cranberry-ginger dressing

Set 1

1/2 cup cranberries
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons ginger peeled, fine julienne
1 tablespoon salt 

Set 2

1/4 cup olive oil

Directions

  1. Combine 1st set in a small pot and mix well. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Let cool at room temp and add olive oil.

  2. To serve -- Warm beets in a saute pan with a little h2o and season gently with salt. Spoon into a large bowl and scatter with the cranberry dressing. Garnish with chervil.

Mushrooms in wine butter 

Ingredients

Mixed mushrooms (see below)
Olive oil
Wine liquid (see below)
3 tablespoons butter
Assorted sprouts and herbs 

Wine liquid

1/2 cup white wine
2 teaspoons salt 
4 tablespoons shallots, chopped
2 teaspoons garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

  1. In a Teflon pan, caramelize shallots and garlic with olive oil. deglaze with wine and stir in salt. Set aside. 

Mushrooms

Ingredients

1 cup large white mushrooms, washed, stemmed cut in 1/4”
1 cup chanterelles, cleaned and stem trimmed
1 cup oyster mushrooms, tripped into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup shimeji mushrooms, trimmed into 1 1/2 inch pieces

Directions

  1. In a sauté pan, heat olive oil until just smoking. Add mushrooms and sauté until softened. Deglaze with wine liquid and reduce until almost dry, then mount with butter. Season with pepper.