Summer Folds into Fall

Savor the memory of summer on the farm with recipes for savory lamb and creamy polenta.

Chef Ira Lee of Twisted Soul Food Concepts cooked for hundreds at Bard College’s 2017 SummerScape Gala. Just before the cocktail hour, he was armed with a squeeze bottle of cold-pressed olive oil, drizzling the grilled apricots served with dairy-farm ricotta. The platters of tender lamb and smooth polenta were spooned clean as guests ate in a softly lit tent at historic Montgomery Farm, an estate dating back to the early 19th century. It was only fitting that Chef Lee built his menu around Hudson Valley’s sweetest, freshest farm picks, from berries to beets. Here, we’ve provided you with the steps to master his Seared Lamb Loin and Creamy Polenta in your kitchen this autumn.

Lamb Loin with Walnut Grove Currant Compote

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 boneless lamb loin (about 1 1/2 pounds)
    • Kosher salt
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 sprig fresh thyme


  1. Preheat the oven to 275° F.
  2. In a saute pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil.
  3. Season lamb with kosher salt and sear until browned on all sides.
  4. Remove the meat from the heat, and place in baking pan. Cook in oven until internal temperature reaches 140° F. Let lamb rest for 5 minutes.
  5. Melt butter in a large saucepan until brown, stirring occasionally.
  6. Turn the heat off, and add the lamb and thyme.
  7. Baste meat with the infused butter until evenly coated.
  8. Remove lamb from the pan and slice into 1-inch medallions.

Walnut Grove Farm Currant Compote

  • 1 pound *Walnut Grove Farm frozen black currants
  • 1/4 cup CurrantC Black Currant Nectar
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until it has a syrupy consistency. Pour over lamb on serving platter.
    *Walnut Grove Farm is in Staatsburg, NY.

Wild Hive Creamy Polenta

  • 1 cup *Wild Hive Farm stone ground polenta (coarse grain)
  • Cooking spray to coat an 8” square baking pan
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino cheese
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. Cover polenta with 2 inches cold water. Let soak, covered, overnight.
  2. Strain the polenta. Spray square pan with cooking spray to coat.
  3. Pour milk, water and salt into a medium-size pot over medium-high heat. When liquid begins to scald, gradually pour in the polenta, whisking the mixture until smooth. Turn heat to low so the polenta barely simmers.
  4. Cover pot and whisk polenta occasionally for the next 45 minutes.
  5. Whisk in the cheese and butter, and cook for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and pour the polenta into prepared pan.
  6. Let set at room temperature for 30 minutes or serve immediately, cutting into squares or rectangles.
    *Wild Hive Farm is in Clinton Corners, NY.

Spiced Hibiscus Tea

  • 1/2 ounce hibiscus leaves
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 3 cloves
  • 5 whole coriander seed
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 2 green cardamom pods


  1. Boil all ingredients in a large saucepot. Turn heat off and let tea rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Strain and serve.

Spiked Spiced Hibiscus Tea

  • 6 ounces Spiced Hibiscus Tea (recipe above)
  • 2 ounces Flor de Cana dark rum
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 round slice fresh orange (orange wheel)


  1. Heat the spiced hibiscus tea until it simmers.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the dark rum and simple syrup.
  3. Serve with an orange wheel on the rim of cup.

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