Sunday, 10 March 2013

Herb-crusted rack of lamb with red wine sauce and mustard mash

Last week I thought spring was well and truly on the way and I found myself day-dreaming about beer gardens, Sunday walks with ice-cream and ditching the winter boots. Then as the week progressed, it got colder and windier and now it’s forecast to snow again!

But with Easter round the corner and lighter nights on the way, I wanted to embrace the new season and make a real spring-time meal that I could share with you.

This herb-crusted rack of lamb with red wine sauce is perfect for Mother’s Day if you’re making dinner tonight and haven’t yet decided what to cook. (Above photo taken from Gordon Ramsay's recipe)

It’ll also make a nice Easter meal if you need more time to prepare and get hold of some top quality lamb from the butchers.
Cooking the lamb on the rack keeps it succulent and the topping is just delicious and really easy to make. I got the basic idea for both the crust and the gravy from Gordon Ramsay’s recipes but have adapted them along the way to make them lighter and perfect for the time of year. (I must say, before my fiancĂ© reads this, that he in fact made the gravy on this occasion!)

Ingredients (Serves 4)
For the lamb:
2 large racks of lamb
Olive oil
4 slices of stale bread, teared into chunks – I use ciabatta
7 tbsp grated parmesan
A few sprigs of fresh parsley, thyme, coriander and rosemary
Handfull of toasted pine nuts (optional)
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper

For the red wine sauce:
2 banana shallots, finely chopped
1 large garlic glove, finely chopped
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
150ml red wine
500ml chicken stock (if making this gravy for beef, use a rich beef stock instead)
A few sprigs of rosemary and thyme

Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Place the lamb on plastic cutting board fat side up. Lightly score the fat layer with a sharp knife then sprinkle the lamb with salt, pepper and a little olive oil then rub all over.

Put on your potatoes to boil for the mash and chop your shallots and garlic for the gravy.

Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and seal the lamb by holding each side in the oil long enough to develop a brown colour (be careful you don’t burn your hands). Remove from the pan and set aside while you prepare the crust. Firstly, toast off the pine nuts if using.

Place the bread, parmesan, herbs, pine nuts, a splash of olive oil and seasoning into a blender and pulse several times until it looks nice and green and fully mixed into fine crumbs.

Brush the lamb generously with the mustard and coat with the crust mixture. Place into a roasting tin and put in the oven for around 20 minutes. Note: the lamb needs to be pink inside and it will continue to cook as it rests so be careful not to over cook.

While the lamb is in the oven you can make the gravy. Fry off the shallots and garlic in a splash of olive oil and add salt and pepper. Fry for about five minutes until the shallots soften then add the flour and stir for a few more minutes.

Pour in the vinegar and red wine and bring to the boil. Add the stock and simmer for about 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the wine has cooked off. Add the herbs for a few more minutes then strain the gravy through a sieve.

Remove the lamb from the oven and leave to rest for ten minutes while you get everything else ready.

Slice the lamb into cutlets and serve approximately three pieces per person.

Serve with mashed potato (mixed with a tbsp of mustard and lots of butter) seasonal vegetables and the red wine gravy. Yum!

Let me know how you get on and please send me your photos!

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