I have really been trying to embrace cooking outside my normal comfort zone lately. Cooking with ingredients that are not a part of my everyday meals to really explore different cooking techniques, flavors and intense, powerful aromas that fill the air with mouth watering goodness. Rack of lamb wasn’t something I would have ever really imagined cooking but a fellow shopper at my local Central Market once convinced me it was one of the easiest things in the world to prepare.
Last weekend we hosted some friends for a casual dinner to which I said to Gary “let’s try lamb.” It turns out the shopper was right, the overall cooking of the lamb is quite easy; the sauce took a little more time and tweaking. End result – delicious, juicy, savory lamb with a sweet and tangy herb rich sauce that balanced the gamey earthy lamb flavors, creating a heavenly flavor. We served with a rich and hearty Stagecoach Vineyard 2006 Merlot from Miner. Merlot and lamb are an incredible match and the fruit from Stagecoach can’t be beat…my Merlot for people who say they won’t drink Merlot…it always surprised them.
Yoda was especially happy with this meal as well…he got a bone to munch through the night.
Rack of Lamb with Red Wine and Pomegranate Sauce
2 racks of lamb, frenched – we were cooking for 6 and averaged about 2 pieces of lamb per person, plus a few extra so our racks of lamb had eight chops each.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, we used thyme, rosemary, mint and parsley
Freshly ground pepper and salt
For the sauce:
2 cups red wine
1 cup stock – beef or chicken
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper
Several hours prior to cooking remove any access fat from the lamb and rub with 1 tablespoon of the oil then sprinkle the garam masala evenly over the top and bottom on the rack, season generously with salt and pepper. Mix the mustard. garlic and herbs together, then pat the mixture evenly across both racks of lamb. Wrap with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Remove the lamb from the fridge about 30 minutes prior to cooking to help bring the meat temperature up.
When ready to cook pre-heat the oven to 425. Heat the remaining oil in a large oven-safe skillet and add the lamb to the pan with the fat side down. Sear for 5-7 minutes until the lamb has browned thoroughly. Remove from the pan and drain off some of the fat then add back into the pan, flipping to the fat side up and cook for 1-2 minutes, then place in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes until a meat thermometer reads 130-135 degrees. Remove from the oven and set aside, covering with aluminum foil. Let the meat rest for at least 20 minutes to make sure all the juices are set. When ready to serve carve each piece cutting through the middle of each bone. Garnish with fresh mint, pomegranate seeds or chopped parsley. Serve with the sauce on the side.
To make the sauce:
Heat the oil in a large sauce pan then add the shallot and garlic and cook until translucent. Slowly add the wine and reduce by 1/4, then add the stock, molasses, juice, Worcestershire, honey, mustard, horseradish and red pepper flakes. Tie the rosemary, bay leaf and thyme into a bundle with string and add to the pot. Bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes. Add the herbs remaining herbs and cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste. Remove the herb bundle. Using a strainer or coffee filter lined colander strain the sauce to remove any bits and lumps. Add back into the sauce pan over low heat. Right before serving whisk in the butter. Serve beside the lamb. Can be made a few hours a head of time, just whisk the butter in at the very end right before serving.