Braised Australian Lamb, Orange, Sage, Spinach, Almond Piccata, and Crispy Polenta
For the Braised Australian Lamb:
Heat a large iron skillet over medium-high heat until quite hot. Meanwhile, sprinkle the lamb with salt and pepper. Add olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Sauté the lamb, a small amount of meat at a time, to brown on all sides. While the meat is searing, start sautéing the onions in a 4-quart pot with a thick bottom in a small amount of olive oil. Add the garlic, sage, and thyme. As the lamb pieces become brown on all sides, add them to the pot with the onions and allow the onions to continue cooking. After all the lamb is cooked, pour off any excess grease and deglaze the pan with white wine. Pour the wine over the onion lamb mixture, add the orange juice and the stock and then bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 1 to 1½ hours. Once the lamb is cooked, add the currants, celery, carrots, orange zest, and bay leaf and simmer another 5 minutes.
For the Crispy Polenta:
In a 2-quart saucepan, bring the milk, water, and butter to a boil. Add the salt, pepper, and polenta and turn up the heat to simmer. Stir the mixture constantly for 15 minutes, until the polenta pulls away from the side of the pot. Add the Parmesan cheese and mix to incorporate. Pour the polenta onto a small sheet pan, flatten out the top with a spatula, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.
For the Almond Piccata:
Combine the almonds, parsley, and garlic and stir until coarsely mixed. Season lightly with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
To Assemble and Serve:
In a shallow iron skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Cut the Crispy Polenta into sticks making sure to have at least 3 sticks per person. Dust lightly with cornmeal and fry in the vegetable oil until golden. Immediately before serving time, cut the polenta into flower shapes (using a cookie cutter or a knife). Add the spinach to the lamb stew and wilt. Plate the Braised Australian Lamb and plate the Crispy Polenta on top. Sprinkle the dish with the Almond Piccata.