Monday, October 12, 2015

Rack of Lamb with Pecan-Mint Dipping Sauce

This year had the longest break from cooking I experienced since I started this blog. First, cooking suffered from April through June as we prepared for our move. I culled my cookbooks and spent more time traveling for work. Then we had a full cooking hiatus as we traveled around North America. In mid-August, we arrived in our new home city in Melbourne, Australia and I was finally ready to cook again, but I wasn't in my own kitchen which made everything more difficult. When we moved into our house, I had a new challenge ... very little cooking equipment! The point was certainly driven home that bowls can be a critical part of prep and life is easier when you own more than two plates.

It was a happy day though when I remembered that I had a few Kindle versions of cookbooks that I hadn't really had a chance to dig into yet. While some were quickly ruled out because they were too complicated for the equipment situation, one rose to the top as my go-to book during the more than one month that we waited for our kitchen supplies and cookbooks to arrive. Lighten Up Y'all was an impulse buy for me while I was recovering from surgery and reminiscing about the delicious Southern food we had had over the holidays, yet that I seldom eat at home. Southern food is delicious, but has a reputation for being a bit heavy, so this book by Virginia Willis (better known for Bon Appetit, Y'all) seemed like a good compromise. But then the book just sat, unused, on my hard drive. Apparently all I needed was a push though, because it's quickly become a favourite.

This lamb dish is fancy enough for company, but quick enough for a weeknight meal. The yogurt dipping sauce is a great pairing for the meat and I wouldn't have minded eating it on its own. The only disappointment the night that I made this was realizing that the broiler on our oven was not a broiler at all, but a narrow grill. I had so been looking forward to finally having an oven with a working broiler after more than two years without one!

One year ago: Lavender-rubbed Duck Breast
Two years ago: Spicy Lamb with Yogurt, Cream, and Fenugreek
Three years ago: Roasted Red and Golden Beets
Four years ago: Paneer
Five years ago: Linguine with Roasted Tomato and Almond Pesto
Six years ago: Easy Buttermilk Cake

Rack of Lamb with Pecan-Mint Dipping Sauce (from Lighten Up, Y'all)

1 rack of lamb (~1.5 lbs)
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp olive oil
Pecan-mint Dipping Sauce
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp chopped pecans
2 tbsp chopped mint
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
coarse salt and ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Remove lamb from the refrigerator 15 minutes before roasting. Season with salt and pepper.
3. In small bowl, combine mustard, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
4. Heat olive oil in heavy ovenproof skillet over high heat. Brown lamb, 3 - 5 minutes per side.
5. Flip the rack so the meat is right side up and brush with mustard paste.
6. Roast until meat registers 135F, 12 to 15 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, combine dipping sauce ingredients in small bowl.
8. Turn oven to broil and cook until golden brown, ~2 minutes.
9. Let lamb rest covered 5 minutes before slicing into single or double chops.
10. Serve with dipping sauce on the side.

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