30 May 2012

Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb with Root Vegetable Gratin, Green Peas and Brown Sauce

Preparing the meat in this way is generally called the French was of preparing a rack of lamb, where more care is taken toward preserving the ribs themselves. You trim the sides and remove some of the meat from the ribs so the bones stand out. My father-in-law, who had so generously brought the lamb over from Iceland, got an Icelandic butcher to sort out the preparation of the meat - so little remained for me but to throw myself into the cooking!

Savory root vegetables prepared for the gratin

Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb with Root Vegetable Gratin, Green Peas and Brown Sauce

As the title implies, with the meal we served a slightly different gratin. We peeled and sliced both potatoes, carrots, celeriac and chioggia beetroot, which reveals characteristic circular patterns when you cut them. Spread oil around the inside of an ovenproof dish and then layer the root vegetables into it. Generously season. Pour a reasonable amount of cream into the dish and top the whole thing with freshly grated cheese. Bake in oven for around an hour at 200 degrees. 

Icelandic lamb-racks 

First the rack was washed and dried. Season with salt and pepper and then browned on the outside on a hot pan, just long enough to close the meat. Place to the side while you attend to the next steps.

Mixture of herbs

The herb mixture was made from a handful of grated parmesan, garlic, handful of breadcrumbs, handful of parsley, basil and fresh thyme, and of course, salt and pepper. The concoction was minced in a food processor until it turned into dusty and lustrous mossy green crumbles which smelled amazingly. 

I love dijon mustard!

Next, the rack of lamb is anointed with the loveliest French dijon you can find - in this case, Edmont Fallot. 

Ready for the oven

Then, cover them with the crumbly herb mixture, carefully layer them into an ovenproof dish and bake at 200 degrees or until the core temperature had reached 65 degrees Celsius.

With a meal like this you absolutely need good red wine 

With the food we drank this great red wine from France. E. Guigal Gigondas from 2007. The wine is from the southern part of the Rhine valley and is made from a blend of Grenache (65%), Mourvédre (25%) and Syrah. It is a lovely sip - deep red in color. The taste reminiscent of pungent fruit, a little acid and good, balanced tannin. Good aftertaste. The wine has received very good reviews from a variety of critics, like many other wines from the same producer. 

Holy moly ... Bon appetit!

The sauce was as simple as it gets. I had prepared lamb stock before which I had kept in the freezer. Lamb stock is easy to make - the only things required are a big pot and plenty of time. First, fry onion, carrots, celery, garlic until soft. Add browned lamb bones and water, enough to cover the ingredients and then boil for a few hours. In the beginning there emerges a sheet of brown froth on top which is wise to remove, i.e. if you are in search of a clear stock! The stock I had made was quite powerful, but it needed to be sharpened slightly. To achieve this simply boil and reduce until it begins to taste along the lines you are searching for. Thicken the stock with roux, and season to taste. Voila! 

Bon appetit.

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