"A medium dry martini, lemon peel. Shaken, not stirred." - Sean Connery as James Bond
James knew the secret to a good martini, not the shaken or stirred part but the gin. Now if you know me you know I am a Scotch Whiskey man myself but even I have to admit that on a hot summer day nothing can taste better than a cold class of gin and tonic. It's the fresh taste that gin has, I just love it. To break it down even more what I love about gin is the Juniper. It's right there in your face clean flavor.
Juniper berries are not something that you'll find in everyone's spice rack but you can find at pretty much any mega mart grocery store. They are almost a staple in Scandinavian food and when paired with meat...well let's just say it's divine. Typically you'd see juniper paired with wild game meat but as I'm not a hunter and don't really know anyone who is I've not tried them in that context. However I've used them with pork, beef and turkey. The wonderful thing about the berries is that they add such an unexpected flavor.
Now you know a little bit about Juniper berries lets dive into an easy way to incorporate them into your foods.
The Juniper Jump
First take your favorite stew recipe (I used this one from TheWay The Cookie Crumbles but subbed beef for lamb)
When you are adding your aromatics (thyme, rosemary, sage etc...) throw in 3-4 crushed juniper berries to the mix as well.
It's that easy!
Then sit back and allow your family and/or friends to shower you with culinary praise! I believe the key to good home cooking is the flavors, we get so used to the same tastes. This will be sure to shake up the taste buds and add a new depth to your cooking!