Basque-ing in good barbecue and good times
August 29, 2007
It’s always this time of year that I talk about a favorite event that Karen and I participate in: The St. Teresa’s Basque Festival. It’s a challenge and fun to plan for this event, which showcases the Basque community’s proud traditions and folklore in Nevada, especially Northern Nevada. I truly enjoy the bi-weekly meetings held here at the restaurant and have developed some great friendships with my fellow committee members.
The event itself celebrates many traditions of the Basque country as portrayed by the students from the University of Nevada, Reno, Basque Studies Department. They bring their dancing troupe and display the dance of the Pyrenees. There are Basque readings, wood chopping and a great display of dogs herding sheep and geese. There are many games for the children and a couple of card games that the members of the Douglas County Basque community conduct during the festivities, all of which are under the watchful eye of Jeanette Blanco.
There is a booth that supplies cookbooks, Basque folklore, knickknacks, Spanish olive oil and a great wealth of products from the Basque country. There are many activities including a wonderful field mass performed by our new pastor at St. Teresa’s, Father Chuck Durante.
This is truly a great family event. Tickets are reasonable and kids age 14 and under eat for free. Speaking of kids, under the watchful eye of Joe Lushina and his expert volunteers, we have a kids barbecue with hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad and chips. That is if the Basque-style of food is a little too rich for them.
The menu always provides three different preparations of Basque beans prepared by the Gardnerville Basque restaurants (Overland Hotel, JT’s, and Country Club). Molly will be doing the Basque/Spanish-style rice and for your enjoyment later you can purchase John Ascuaga’s famous Basque sheepherders bread.
This is the 13th year that Mike Lemich, his family and friends from Ely will come and work magic on their open mahogany fire pit roasted lamb, chicken and turkey. Definitely magical; a show in itself.
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This is also a chance to see our local judges performing their particular magic barbecuing the Basque-style chorizo sausages under the watchful eye of Andy MacKenzie. Karen and I oversee the whole operation as far as food goes. We let everyone else do their thing while Tony and I cook our famous lamb stew.
This year also marks the return of our salad czar, Helaine Jesse. She is returning after a hiatus of a few years.
If you get the idea that I have a lot of fun doing this you are right. I recommend that you and your family join the fun. This type of family-oriented event is why, as I have said many times, people live in small towns. Visit our Web site for more information at http://www.basquefestival.org.
The event is more about celebrating Basque traditions, family and friends no matter what your religious background is and I have heard rumored that sharing a Picon Punch (an adult Nevada Basque tradition) is always a memorable experience.
So come and enjoy even if for no other reason than to say hello to one of Carson City’s infamous Basque citizens, John Borda.
Barbecued Basque-Style Lamb Chops
In preparing the chops for the barbecue, I like to have at least 12 hours of marinating time. So prepare the marinade the day before.
• 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 1Ú2 cup onions, chopped
• 1 cup red pepper, chopped
• lots of garlic, at least 1Ú4 cup roughly chopped
• 1 cup fresh tomatoes, coarsely chopped
• 1Ú4 teaspoon cumin
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1Ú2 cup red wine
• 12 1.5-inch thick loin lamb chops
• 3 tablespoon brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon kosher salt
• 2 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
To prepare the marinade, place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend to a fine puree.
Place the chops in a large casserole-style dish and cover with half of the marinade. Reserve the other half to serve with the chops. The reserved marinade can be served heated or at room temperature. Either way, it is an excellent compliment for the chops. Marinate for 12 hours.
Remove the chops from the marinade and drain the excess from the chops so that you will have no flames on the barbecue. Make sure your barbecue is hot (medium-high to high). Cook approximately 5-7 minutes per side (medium-rare). Be sure to watch carefully as the cooking time will be different for each type of barbecue. There is no way to actively control the heat on a barbecue so that it is consistent.
In a bowl mix the brown sugar, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. When you remove the chops from the barbecue, sprinkle this mixture on both sides and enjoy. Serves 6.
When selecting a wine to accompany this dish, talk to our friends at Ben’s Liquor and Aloha Wine and Spirits. I suggest choosing a good Spanish or Basque country red wine. As always enjoy, enjoy, and I look forward to seeing you at the Basque Festival.
• Charlie Abowd is the owner and chef at Adele’s. He and his wife, Karen, have lived in Carson City for 22 years. Charlie is a fourth-generation restaurateur.
If you go
WHAT: St. Teresa’s 10th annual Basque Festival
WHEN: 11 a.m. Sunday
WHERE: Fuji Park, Old Clear Creek Road
DETAILS: Features traditional Basque meal from 1-3 p.m.; Mass at noon; live entertainment and demonstrations.
Tickets: $30 at the door for adults; teens 15 and younger free