Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Garlic Poblano Rack of Lamb & Provance

It has been difficult if almost impossible to get decent lamb down here.
When you were able to get it you would get a minuscule rack that looked like it came from a malnourished animal.

But now we have the scourge of box stores, Costco in Morelia carries pretty decent racks.
Not as good as CK Lamb that in California has.
They have the Sonoma raised lamb that Wolfgang Puck buys to supply his eateries. If you are in the states they ship overnight! It's great for a special dinner etc.

The trick to good lamb is not to overcook it and to infuse some flavors into it.
One common recipe is to chop up garlic, rosemary and make a covering using day old bread saturated with Olive Oil. The simply roast it until it is medium rare. 140 degrees.

This recipe is nice because it imparts a subtle chili flavor and still retains some good garlic flavor.

Take the rack and remove the skin that covers the back of rack. Not the top with the fat but the bottom. You may need some kitchen pliers to help you pull the skin off. If it has a lot of fat on the top you could trim some of it off but careful not to take too much off. Leave at least 1/4 inch on the top.

Score the bottom of the rack with a knife with 1/4 inch cross ward cuts.

Make the coating, it should be the constancy of gloppy oatmeal, not too runny.

Massage the coating into the rack especially on the bottom where you made the cuts.
Coat the top and sides with the coating, place in a shallow pan, cover with plastic and let rest in your refrigerator overnight.

Next day remove from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours or until it comes up to room temperature. (this is done so that the rack will cook evenly when it is placed in the oven)

Pre heat your oven to 450 degrees.

take the plastic off the rack place into shallow Pyrex or other type roasting dish.
If the coating has fallen off, take a spoon and slap it back on, you could use your fingers too if you like.

When the oven is hot, place the dish in the middle rack. ( with the lamb in it)
Close the oven door, reduce the heat to 400.
Go read a magazine for 10 minutes or fix the dinner table so it looks real nice, eh?

Now, how do you tell when it is done?
If your oven temp is accurate, pull it out in 12 minutes for medium rare.
If your oven is not, then you better have an instant read thermometer!
13-14 minutes for medium.

Two ways. If you have an instant read thermometer, which you can pickup cheap at Walmart or other place, you jab it carefully into the middle of the rack, avoiding thrusting it into your hand at the same time (just kidding) and see what it says.
You should be sure that the end of the probe is in the center of the meat and not hitting the bottom of the pan.
If it reads 135 then pull it out, place a little roof of aluminum foil on top of it to trap the residual heat while you open a bottle of wine , get the table ready and eat your salad. The second way to tell is to look at how much the meat has receded from around the rib bones. It should be coming back about 1 inch or so, if they are Frenched ( separated and meat removed between the bones) and when you push on the top of the meat it should offer just a little resistance. If your oven is accurate, about
The meat needs to rest for at least 10 minutes.
Why? I want to eat it now!
OK,, cut it and ruin your rack!

Ken's lesson #688 All roasted meat like, roasts, leg of lambs, prime rib anything that has some volume to it, including roasted chickens, ducks, etc,etc,etc, needs time to stop cooking and redistribute the juices back inside the volume of the meat. Believe me! OK if you don't do this. Buy two identical roasts, ( Beef preferably because it is more expensive and you may learn better when you waste a lot of money) Cook them for the normal time until the thermometer registers 130 degrees for rare, 135 for medium rare. Take both out, place both on a cutting board, tent one and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Cut the other one immediately up and leave the cut meat on the board. On the other side of the board, cut the other after it has rested. See all the juices that have run OUT of the one that didn't rest? See less of the juice running out of the one that did rest? If you want a tough dry, tasteless piece of meat, guess which one it is? OK, so now you know!

Back to the rack........
After it has rested, go ahead and cut it into serving pieces. I like to cut it into individual chops and fan them out on the plate on top of a seasoned rice or other grains.
You could cut the rack in half and provide mini racks for two people.
You can cut it any way you like and be rewarded with a delicious rack of lamb. And it is pretty easy to do.
I have also wrapped racks in puff pastry, and made mini lamb wellingtons, also tasty.

Stuff you will need:

One full rack of lamb ( feeds 2 to 3 people)
1 Ancho or Poblano chili, soaked overnight, the chopped in a blender with 1/4 cut of chicken stock.
1 Full Chopotle chili thrown into the blender at the same time ( if you don't like the heat, eliminate this step)
3 two day old Bolillios, smashed up to the constancy of mush
3 to 4 cloves of garlic, chopped fine.
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of ground pepper
2 TBS of stone ground mustard

Place in large mixing bowl, use your hands to mix all the ingredients into a oatmeal mush consistency. It needs to be firm enough to stick to the rack but not to dry to keep falling off. You can taste the mix at this time to see if you want to add anything more to it. ie, cumin or more hot pepper, etc.
After mix is done, cake the mix onto the rack, cover and hold in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours before cooking.
Roasting is best, you could grill it, bu the a lot of the coating will fall of that way.

I had a couple of emails asking for some more info on the rack of lamb. Some people didn't want lamb with Latin flavors, so here is one that is more Italian, (which is sort of Latin). Enjoy.

Make the Make the bread coating with the following ingredients then mold it around the rack. Also if you like and you or you guests are really hungry you can cut the rack in half so each portion will be 4 bones, it will also take the breading easier.

5 or 6 pealed cloves or garlic
4 TBS herbs de Provence
3 to 4 bagels, bolillios, or slices of bread. cut into small pieces, 1 inch or so.
1/4c to 1/2c olive oil./
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh basil leaves or 2 TBS dried basil

(now if you put in rosemary and omit the Herbs de Provence it will be another recipe.)

Ist put the garlic into a food processor and pulse until chopped. Next put in the basil, and bread , salt and pepper and herbs, pulse until the bread is the size by half. Continue to pulse while you add the oil, try not to over process. The idea is to make a dry paste kind of mix , something that is moist enough so that when you pinch it, it will hold the form. If it falls apart you need to add more oil to moisten it. If you are using fresh basil , the moisture will help bind the breading also.
Of you add too much oil it will be too runny,ad some more bread to it.

Once you have the breading the right consistency, season the racks with a little salt and pepper, then lay down a pad of the breading the same size as the rack and press the rack into the bread. Then take the rest of the breading and coat the sides and back.
Gently place onto a cooking pan, any breading that has fallen off just press back on to the lamb. The whole idea here is that it needs to have enough moisture to keep it's own form around the rack. I also then spray some cooking oil like PAM etc, to help coat the breading after it is on the lamb to help keep it moist.
Let rest for 10 minutes then put into a hot oven 450 for about 10 minutes then reduce to 400 until the instant read thermometer reads 135. for medium rare, pull , tent with foil and let rest, for at least 8 minutes then serve!


Michael Warshauer said...

That sounds great. I have just a little quibble, though.
A Poblano chile is the chile ancho before it is dried. Around P√°tzcuaro, ancho chiles seem to be known as "chiles negros." I could be confused about that.

Chipotles are unusual here, except as the canned chipotles en adobo.

And IMO, dried chiles don't need soaking as long as overnight. An hour is a lot. (In very hot water, that is.)

A ccokbook is an ambitious undertaking, and I commend your effort.


ken kushnir said...

You are right Michael, I described the chili as a poblano, which is not dried yet. So actually what I wanted to say was the dried Poblano which is the dark wide Ancho chili. Chipotle chilies are the smoked version of the jalapeno chili which only come in a can. If you can stand the heat, I always dump some of the juice into my recipes.
Indeed if the chili is dried you can reconstitute in in about an hour. I find that I sometimes get the real old or dried ones and let them soak overnight, after all we have nothing but time......
thanks for the input, I will attempt to be more decriptive, blame the margaritas........

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