Early in 2020 my Nana said she would like to try lamb sometime and then covid hit and we were in lockdown and our dinner night never happened. We both had a free weekend and decided it was time for our long awaited dinner party in early 2021!
Appetizer: French bread with a toasted garlic and herb dipping oil
Entrée: Herb-crusted rack of lamb with gremolata pesto | mushroom risotto | fresh cut asparagus
Dessert: Candied blood orange slices with dark chocolate
Wine Pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon
For this I just used store bought French bread. The dipping oil was where the flavor was. This was super simple and tasty. It was a good way to keep everyone from getting too hungry while I finished dinner.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, toasted garlic, sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, crushed basil and thyme.
This is where the real work started, I researched all week to find the right recipe. I looked up cuts of lamb and videos and went through a lot of different recipes searching for the right one. I finally settled on this one from Food & Wine.
I worked most of the day on this recipe. I started with the gremolata pesto.
- It was an easy element on the meal to get out of the way.
- Pesto tastes better if it has time to sit and allow the flavors to meld.
From there I moved onto the lamb sauce, the is a sauced flavored with vegetables, garlic, herbs, broth, and lamb fat that has been reduced and is poured over the lamb once cooked. The one thing I would have done differently with the sauce was to let it reduce down a bit more. The flavor was fantastic.
The lamb itself was the last thing that I did, it only took about half and hour. The recipe has you sear the rack of lamb on the grill before finishing it in the oven. I typically eat lamb medium rare. To me, overcooked lamb has a gamey flavor akin to wet wool. Tip: Make sure to wrap the exposed bone in foil before searing and roasting. I forgot that bit and my beautiful dish was served with blackened bone. Again, get the recipe here.
The risotto recipe is my own and one that I have been working on perfecting for several years. Here is my original recipe without mushrooms. Below is the version I used for this dinner.
- 1 C. Arborio Rice
- 2-3 tsp Minced Garlic
- 1 Chopped Shallot, Divided
- 1 tbs Olive Oil
- 1 C. White Wine (I typically use a Sauvignon Blanc or a Cardonay)
- 2 ½ C. Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
- 2 tbs Unsalted Butter
- 1-1 1/2 C. Sliced Portobello Mushrooms
- In a large pot heat 1 tbs of olive oil on medium-high heat. Once hot add minced garlic and the half the chopped shallot. Sauté until the garlic begins to brown (30-45 seconds). Once the garlic is starting to turn golden and the shallot is soft add the arborio rice and toast until slightly golden.
- Turn temperature down to a low-medium heat. Add the white wine. Cook until wine is reduced and starting to absorb into rice – about 5 minutes.
- Add chicken broth 1 c. at a time until risotto is desired tenderness. Stirring occasionally. This should take approximately 45 minutes.
- While the risotto is cooking, sauté the other half of the shallot along with the mushrooms. Salt and pepper to taste.
- When the risotto is almost done stir in the mushrooms and butter. Salt and pepper to taste.
Tip: Taste test as you go, this recipe is all about the subtle flavors.
The asparagus was a simple sauté in olive oil on high heat until desired softness. Once they were done I sprinkled sea salt on them and added a hint of lemon juice. Asparagus is an easy way to add a bit of green to every meal.
Yes, the meal was time consuming but it was also delicious and a good meal like this is worth it, even just to see if I can do it on my own. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten dessert but those bits of deliciousness deserve the spotlight and I will post them next week. Let me know your favorite recipe. Have a wonderful Friday!