Saturday, February 27, 2010

Rack of Lamb a la Julia Child

Ever since I saw "Julie & Julia", I've been really into learning more about Julia Child. Ken bought me her "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" as well as as "Julia's Kitchen Wisdom", an essentials guide. Today, my colleagues got me her "My Life in France" as a belated birthday gift which I'm looking forward to reading.

As it turned out, I happened to buy a rack of lamb from Costco and was going to prepare it my usual way: cut into chops and marinated in olive oil, rosemary and garlic, seared on both sides then roasted in the oven, and served with a red wine reduction. This recipe called for the rack to be roasted whole, which I haven't tried before. She had a sauce to go with it but it was too time-consuming (um, simmering lamb bones for 2 hours), so I just made something up with the ingredients I had.

Yeah, I know...the whole thing is one color (including the plate). It's dinner so having something tasty was my main concern. I loved the crunch of the bread crumbs and how well it worked with the mushroom sauce. Usually, when something tastes good, I'll hear a quick "mm" from Ken. With this, there wasn't any sound but I knew he liked it because he systematically chomped down one chop after another by holding it by the rib rather than using a fork and knife like a civilized person. There was nothing left by the time we were done with this meal (it's not as much as it looks). It's been a week since I made it so my memory's a little foggy on the sauce, but I'll try my best to remember what I did.

Herbal Garlic & Mustard Coating
Whisk together a mayo-like consistency 1/3 cup Dijon mustard w/ 3 large cloves of pureed garlic, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 tsp ground rosemary & 3 tbsp light olive oil. Spread over lamb and marinate 1/2 hour or cover & refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Rack of Lamb
Scrape off any fatty meat between the ribs & from top of bones. Score the fat side of the ribs lightly & paint w/ mustard coating. Roast for 10 minutes at 500F, sprinkle 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs over the meat & drizzle on a little melted butter. Roast 20 minutes more, or to internal temperature 125F for red rare or 140F for medium rare. Let rest 5 minutes before cutting into chops.

Mushroom Sauce
Saute about 1/2-1 cup (your preference) sliced mushrooms in a little extra virgin olive oil & butter. I added about 1 cup of dry sherry because that's what I had on hand. I had a demi-glace (Gold brand) paste in the pantry and made about 2/3 cup of stock according to the packet instructions, which I added after the the sherry reduced by about half. When the sauce reduces, add about 3 tbsp butter at the end and season with salt to taste. In the future, I would use different types of mushrooms, something more earthy, and maybe add herbs as well for a deeper flavor. It's fun to experiment.

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