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Pistachio Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb

I adore rack of lamb.  It is one of my favorites.  This was my first time making it at home.  It turned out so good!  I will definitely be doing it again, with some tweaks of course.  One note – it is essential to have a meat thermometer on hand to determine doneness.  I ended up having to put some of the chops back in the oven for a few more minutes.  Not a big deal.

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Ingredients

  • 2 racks of lamb (remove some of the fat cap if there is a large amount, but you need some fat to sear it)
  • Salt and pepper

For crust –

  • ¾ cup pistachios (shelled)
  • ½ – 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Coriander seeds (I put a small amount in the middle of my palm, maybe ½ tsp, then did it again)
  • Rosemary – maybe ½ – 1 tsp
  • Green Peppercorns ( ½ tsp)
  • Salt
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard

To Prepare

  • Mix all except the mustard in a food processor until it forms a coarse paste.  I added a tiny bit of olive oil to help it come together.  (I made the mistake of adding the mustard to the food processor.  I should have spread the mustard on the lamb and then added the spices as a crust.  My crust while delicious fell off when the lamb was sliced)
  • Heat a cast iron or heavy bottom skillet to very very hot.  Sear the lamb fat side down for 4 – 5 minutes until nicely browned.  Flip and sear another 2 -3 minutes.  Remove to a baking sheet.
  • Coat the meaty side of the lamb with the mustard.  Then pat ½ the spice paste onto each rack of lamb. 
  • Roast the racks of lamb in the preheated oven crusted side up for 15 – 20 minutes.  The internal temperature should be:

¨       Rare:  120-130

¨       Medium Rare:  130-140

¨       Medium:  140-150

  • Loosely tent the racks with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Slice chops (single or double, your choice) and serve on a warmed platter.  They cool very quickly.

 

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Radicchio, and Fried Capers
(Taken from Anne Burrell, with modifications)

I would definitely make this again but I would substitute maybe endive or red cabbage for the radichio.  Or use more cauliflower and less radicchio.  I like the bitterness of radicchio but it was a bit much for the family.  The original recipe called for adding Perorino but I was making this with lamb so I omitted the cheese and instead added a bit of honey to mellow out the dressing and ease the bitterness of the radicchio.

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Ingredients

  • 1 large or 2 small heads cauliflower, cut into bite size florets
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup capers, patted dry
  • 2 radicchio, cut into chiffonade
  • ½ – 1 tsp Rosemary
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

To Prepare

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Add the cauliflower florets to a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and toss. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast until the cauliflower is very brown and crispy, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven to a large bowl and reserve.
  • Coat a large saute pan generously with olive oil. The oil should be about 1/8-inch deep. Heat the pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the capers. As the capers cook they will open up and start to look like little flowers (very cute). Fry the capers until they are crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the capers from the pan, dry them on paper towels and season with salt immediately. (Go LIGHTLY on the salt, capers are already a bit salty but you did rinse them so a bit of salt is needed)
  • Toss together the cauliflower, capers, and radicchio. Dress the salad with lemon juice, honey, olive oil, and rosemary.  

 

It was also served with a simple quinoa that had some red chili flakes, salt, pepper and a little rosemary to tie it all together.  Oh, and a really nice red wine.

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Jeff’s mom gave me this recipe when we first got married because it is a family dish that Jeff adored as a child.  He still does as do the kids and I.  It is quick and easy to prepare.  I’ve made a few tweaks over the years.  Tonight I made it with ground lamb instead of ground beef because that’s what we had in the freezer but either works well.  Since our herb garden is producing nicely, I used a small handful of fresh oregano that I chopped and a child sized handful of fresh thyme as well.  The recipe doesn’t call for thyme but it was a spur of the moment addition and it worked well.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground beef or ground lamb
  • 1 – 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 -2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green pepper cut into a large dice
  • 1 red or yellow pepper cut into a large dice
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced. Remove seeds and membrane.
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (10.5) ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 (14.5) ounce can corn, drained
  • 1/2 cup black olives, cut in quarters (we had some fresh cured Italian olives in the fridge so we used them – HUGE difference for the better in the flavor but I did cut back on the salt that was used to compensate for the intrinsic brininess of the olives)
  • Extra wide egg noodles, cooked according to directions on the package.   (I used these noodles by Rozoni, the whole 12 oz bag)

Directions:

  • In a dutch oven or small stock pot, heat 1 – 2 tbsp olive oil.  Add the onions and garlic.  Cook, stirring frequently until slightly browned.
  • Add the jalapeno peppers, the green and yellow or red pepper.  Saute for 3 – 5 minutes until the peppers are softened.
  • Remove the pepper and onions from the pot and set aside.
  • In the same pot, add the ground beef or lamb, salt and pepper.
  • Brown the meat until it is no longer pink.
  • Add the peppers and onions back to the pot.  Stir in the corn, the crushed red pepper flakes and the oregano and thyme.
  • Add the tomato sauce.
  • Let simmer for 1o  – 15 minutes.
  • About 5 minutes before serving, add the olives.
  • Serve over the egg noodles.

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