Chris' Recipes

Bon Appetite!

Lamb Chops with Mascarpone & Mint dipping sauce

Written By: Chris - May• 05•12

I often see interesting dishes that call for two ingredients that I hadn’t been very familiar with while watching the Food Network; Creme Fraiche and Mascarpone.  Mascarpone seemed to usually been used in sweet dishes, but also sometimes in savory ones, but I always wondered just what it tasted like!  I know I have had it out to eat and believe it’s used in Tiramisu…   But really needed to explore this further.  I understand that you can use sour cream (or Dr. it up to try to make similar if you don’t have creme fraiche, but now that I’ve finally found, bought it and tasted it… there is a world of difference!  I was able to purchase it at Trader Joe’s after looking in numerous local grocery stores to no avail.  I only wish there was a location closer to my home!   The Creme fraiche is smooth, creamy, more golden in color than sour cream and it was very rich and delicious!  The Mascarpone is really sort of similar to me in taste, but much thicker like a cream cheese.  Each are rich like an ice cream to me…

I have been waiting to prepare a rack of lamb that has been in the freezer and Bill has been mentioning that he was ready for me to make it for him…

I referred to a few different recipes on-line before coming up with my own version of utilizing the two new ingredients.  A couple of the recipes included “herbs de Provence”.  This too was an unfamiliar term; so thanks to Wikipedia:

Herbes de Provence is a mixture of dried herbs typical of Provence. Formerly simply a descriptive term referring to herbs typical of Provence, in the 1970s, commercial blends started to be sold under this name.  The standard mixture typically contains savory, fennel, basil, thyme and lavender flowers and other herbs, though lavender was not used in traditional southern French cooking.

I decided to go back to my own method of preparing lamb and used the herbs that were in my notes from my friend Pete, who had originally taught me how to prepare lamb chops while we were visiting him a few years back at their home in Seattle!  He simply used fresh Mint and Oregano, so did I!

Ingredients:

Lamb:
1 rack of Lamb, trimmed, with 1/4-inch of fat left on meat (I find beautiful Australasian ribs at Costco already trimmed for just about $20 a rack!)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Butter
Salt & Pepper
2 Tablespoons Oregano

Sauce:
2 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon ground Cumin
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh Mint leaves
1/2 Cup Mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
Fresh Mint sprigs for garnish
Salt & Pepper

For the lamb:

Preheat the oven to 400, drizzle the olive oil on both sides of the lamb. Season with salt, pepper and herbs.  Brown lamb for two to three minutes each side in a large skillet over high heat.

Place the browned rack in a shallow roasting pan or baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes for medium-rare. Allow the lamb to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

For the sauce:

In a small bowl, combine the creme fraiche, honey, cumin, and mint. Add the mascarpone cheese and stir until just combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Cut the lamb between the bones (I cut them double chops) into individual chops and serve with the sauce over the top allowing it to melt somewhat.   We served mashed potatoes and sautéed fresh spinach and cauliflower with garlic.

Add a tablespoon or so of butter to the bits at the bottom of the skillet that you browned the lamb chops in.  Add smashed garlic and saute for a minute or two.  Add fresh spinach a cauliflower tossing frequently over high heat until you see the cauliflower pick up nice browned edges.  Shut off heat and cover allowing vegetables to steam.  Salt and pepper to taste

We enjoyed a delicious Joseph Phelps Syrah and it was oh, so good!

Enjoy!

Cheers!
~Chris

 

 

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