Thursday, 14 February 2013

French-Week 6: MMM, lamb!

First of all, Happy Valentine's Day to you all! It's not that I have anything against Valentine's day, I like things that are pink, red, cute, adorable and heart-shaped. But honestly, I am just too practical to find getting an overpriced dinner in a overly crowded restaurant on February 14th every year "romantic". Why designate only one day a year to celebrate the love of your life? With the right person, every day is Valentine's day! 
So if you are like me, who chose to cook at home today, here's a yummy lamb rack recipe for you! 

Cari d'Agneau Florentine
- roasted lamb rack with spinach stuffing. (Anything with Florentine in its name involves spinach)

I guess lamb is not as common as beef or pork or chicken in our daily diet. I have never been a lamb person in my entire life because of the lamb-y smell, which is too distinct and strong for me to tolerate. (By the way, what's the proper English word to describe the lamby smell?) When my mom used to make her lamb stew/soup, our entire place would be filled with the smell and I had to lock myself in my room for hours. So I was pretty reluctant to try the roasted lamb rack made by Chef Klaus during class. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the absence of the smell in the meat! For once, I could finally focus on how tender the meat was, instead of being distracted by the smell! My guess is,  the smell would be less dominant if you prepare the meat by dry heat (i.e. roasting). If you never tried lamb or didn't like it before, give this easy, tasty recipe a try! 

2 lamb racks
half package of spinach
half onion
4 cloves of garlic
white wine
olive oil

1. Clean the lamb.  To make it presentable, you need to French it. 
2. Add olive oil in pan, sweat onion, garlic and spinach, let it cool down
3. make a pocket in the meat, stuff it with sweated spinach/onion
4. season the lamb with salt and pepper
5. add olive oil in pan, sear the racks until the meat turns light brown
6. roast the racks at 425F for 20min for medium rare, or 30min for medium 

*Let the meat sit for a bit before you cut it, to prevent losing the juice in the meat

*You can use some red wine to deglaze the pan that you used to sear the meat, thicken it and make it into a wine sauce. Or make a vinegar/mint sauce, or Worcestershire sauce. I got lazy, so I just drizzled some aged, 6-year old balsamic on top, which turned out to be great! 

The lamb was served on a bed of Port-Braised Du Puy Lentils, here's the recipe for the side dish:
8 oz Du Puy lentils (black)
3 cloves of garlic
1 shallots
1 piece of double-smoked bacon (about 3 oz)
Fresh thyme, parsley, 2 dried bay leaves
olive oil

1. sweat the bacon, shallots, garlic in the pan
2. put in dry lentils
3. add cold water that covers the lentils
4. add thyme, bay leaves, a splash of balsamic, Port, salt/pepper to taste. Cover the pan with a lid, and let the liquid simmer for 20min with the lid on. 
5. when the lentils are about 80% cooked, continue cooking with the lid off to evaporate off the remaining liquid. 

*The other side dish in the picture, Duchesse Potato, will be covered in another blog post. 

Andddddd, of course, no Valentine's day would be complete without chocolate and strawberries! Amaretto sour goes down really well with the chocolate fondue! Who would have known?! 

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