Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Rack of Lamb

Rack of lamb has long been one of our family's favorite special occasion entrees.  We have found a local farm selling lamb in the area, Sattlers in nearby Chilton.  The Sattlers host an annual open barn, offering the opportunity to visit the new born lambs, sample a variety of tasty lamb dishes and purchase some cuts to take home.

Darren Sattler with one of the newborn lambs.

2 racks   lamb (16 chops, trimmed)
12 T.   olive oil
10 T.   fresh minced rosemary
6 cloves garlic, slivered
1 T.   salt
1 t.   freshly ground pepper
2 T.   Dijon mustard
1 c.   fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 c.   minced fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T.   butter, melted

Pat lamb dry.  Mix 8 T. olive oil, 6 T. rosemary and 6 cloves slivered garlic.  Rub into lamb.  Place lamb in plastic bags; seal tightly.  Refrigerate overnight, turning bags occasionally.
Wipe rosemary and garlic off lamb.  Rub with remaining 4 T. olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast at 400 for 15 minutes.  Rub lamb with mustard.  Combine remaining 4 T. rosemary, breadcrumbs, parsley and garlic.  Stir in enough butter to moisten and lightly bind.  Pat over lamb racks.  Continue roasting until coating is crusty and golden brown, about 15-20 minutes, until meat thermometer registers 130 for rare or 145-150 for medium-rare.  Lamb should be pink.  Cut through chops.  Set on plates.  Spoon Madeira Sauce around.


8 c.   veal stock
1/2 c.   butter
2 T.   olive oil
1 med.   onion, chopped
1 med.   carrot, chopped
1 stalk   celery, chopped
1/4 lb.   mushrooms, chopped
1 T.   tomato paste
3 T.   flour
1           tomato, sliced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 T.  Madeira
 freshly ground pepper

Boil stock in large saucepan until reduced to 5 cups.  Set aside.
Melt 1/4 c. butter with olive oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add lamb bones and scraps (from scraping bones when preparing racks) and brown well on all sides.  Remove from pan.  Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook over medium-low heat until softened and browned, stirring frequently, 15-20 minutes.  Stir in mushrooms and tomato paste and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Mix in flour and cook until browned, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.  Add browned bones and scraps, reduced stock, tomato, and rosemary and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until reduced to about 3 1/2 cups, about 50 minutes.  Strain sauce into another saucepan.  (Sauce can be prepared 2 days ahead and refrigerated.  Reheat before continuing.)  Add Madeira and simmer for 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Whisk in 1/4 c. butter, 1 T. at a time.


2-4 t.       olive oil
12 med.  red potatoes (or try Yukon golds), cut into quarters
              Kosher salt
              pepper, coarsely ground
6 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 sprigs  rosemary, stems removed, finely chopped

Pour the olive oil into a 10x15" baking dish.  Add the potatoes, kosher salt, and pepper and toss to coat.  Spread the potatoes in a single layer.  Roast at 400 for 45 minutes or until brown and tender, stirring frequently.  Add minced garlic and rosemary during last 5-10 minutes of roasting to avoid burning.  (Chopped shallots can be substituted for the minced garlic if desired.)  Serves 4-6.

When we moved to Wisconsin, we discovered the local sour Montmorency cherries make a great pie we often serve for Christmas dinner.  We especially like the hints of almond and mace in this recipe from Heartland by Marcia Adams.


pastry for 2-crust 9" pie
4 c. pitted red sour cherries
1 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
3 T. quick-cooking tapioca
1/2 t. almond extract
1/4 t. ground mace
red food coloring (opt.)
3 T. butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 425.  Line a 9" pie pan with pastry and set aside.  In a large bowl, combine the cherries, sugars, tapioca, almond extract, mace, and food coloring.  Allow to stand for 15 minutes.  Pour into the pie shell and dot with the butter.  Top with a lattice crust and bake for 10 minutes at 425.  Lower the temperature to 350 and continue baking for 30-35 minutes longer until the juices are bubbling up in the center or the pie.  Remove to a rack to cool briefly.  This pie is really best served slightly warm with a generous scoop of ice cream.

Marcia Adams explores how the essence of Heartland cooking can be found in how divergent groups in Wisconsin, Ohio, Missouri, Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, and Illinois have "integrated indigenous foods while retaining and nurturing their individual heritages".   Beautiful photos of the people, places, and food enhance the presentation of the unique cuisine of the Heartland.

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