I've been herb gardening for about 20 years now and one of my favorite herbs that I discovered at the first annual plant sale was rose geranium.
Scented geraniums became really popular in the 80's and were still grown in abundance throughout the 90's. Now they seem to be an endangered species, at least in Virginia Beach.
When you rake your hand across its webbed, hand-shaped leaves you'll be rewarded with the sweet intoxicating scent of a rose garden in full bloom. You may know how to incorporate basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and a host of other everyday herbs into your culinary lives. But herbs like rose geranium are less familiar.
You can create soaps, potpourri, or infuse rose geranium into tea. I love blending it into cakes, like Rose Geranium Cake With Blueberry Coconut Rum Frosting or Strawberry Filled Rum And Rose Geranium Brownies With Strawberry Cream Liqueur. Its rose petal notes pair perfectly with the floral flavor of fruits like blueberries and strawberries.
So it's fabulous as a sweet accompaniment but what about alongside a savory meal? Chicken could be good. Pork, maybe. Seafood such as scallops or halibut have potential. But there's something about lamb that interested me.
With its slightly wild flavor I suspected that the sweet floral sauce would be a pleasant contrast to offset the sharp beefy taste.
And boy was I right! Fresh succulent strawberries, honey, vodka,and rose geranium create a decadent vibrant accent for the lamb!
I also broiled the meat with sage and thyme, two herbs that are a superb match with fruit.
If you love experimenting in the kitchen and the herb garden then plant a rose geranium and add some small snips into your next pound cake or mix some leaves into the sugar bowl.
There are so many possibilities for this delicate gem and it's not just for desserts!
Ingredients For Strawberry Rose Geranium Sauce
20 strawberries plus 4 for garnish
2 ounces vodka
2 tablespoons honey
pinch of salt
3 fresh rose geranium leaves, plus a few extra for garnish
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon butter
Ingredients For Lamb
4 1/2 to 1 inch thick leg of lamb steaks
12 sprigs fresh English thyme
12 sprigs fresh lemon thyme
8 fresh sage leaves, torn into large pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Directions For Sauce
Puree strawberries, vodka, and honey in a blender. Pour mixture into a saucepan. Add salt and rose geranium. Heat over medium high heat just until it comes to a boil. Then turn heat down to medium low until it starts to thicken, about 15 minutes. Whisk cornstarch and water together into a cup until fully dissolved. Stir into strawberry sauce. Continue heating until it thickens.
Toss 1 tablespoon of butter into pan. Gently swirl pan in a circle on and off the heat to slowly dissolve the butter. You want it to merge with the sauce but not melt and make the sauce oily. The end result will be a smooth beautiful sauce with a velvety sheen.
Directions For Lamb
In a bowl, massage oil, fresh herbs, salt and pepper together. Rinse and completely pat dry each of the steaks. Rub the herb mixture evenly over both sides of each piece of meat. Broil the lamb for 8 to 10 minutes per side. Remove from oven, cover with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes.
Slice lamb and top with sauce. Garnish with strawberries and rose geranium leaves.