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Rack of Lamb with Herb Crust and Roasted Garlic Sauce

For the Rosemary Mashed Potatoes: 1/2 tsp. dried hot red pepper flakes
3 1/2 lb. Yukon gold or russet potatoes 2 garlic cloves, minced
1 C Milk (1% or 2%) 2 tsp. dried thyme
1 Tbl. chopped fresh rosemary 1/2 C fresh bread crumbs
6 Tbl. extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 C minced fresh parsley
For the Roasted Asparagus: For the Sauce:
2 lb. medium fresh asparagus, trimmed 2 Tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbl. extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 C chopped shallots
For the Lamb: 3/4 C Cabernet Sauvignon
1 head garlic, top cut off to expose individual cloves 1 C beef broth
1 Tbl. mayonnaise 1 C chicken broth
2 trimmed and frenched single racks of lamb (7-8 ribs), all fat removed, into 1/2” pieces 1 Tbl. unsalted butter
For the Crumbs: salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil Fresh rosemary sprigs for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Roast garlic for 35-45 minutes or until quite soft. Remove and cool. Squeeze softened garlic from the skins and reserve. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the mustard and mayonnaise and reserve. Raise oven temperature to 425 F.

2. Meanwhile, start the potatoes: Peel and halve the potatoes. In a large saucepan, combine potatoes with enough salted water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork, about 15-20 min. Meanwhile, heat milk and rosemary in a small saucepan. Simmer covered for 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Allow to steep, covered, for 5 min. Strain through a fine sieve and discard the rosemary. Drain potatoes and force through a ricer or food mill. Stir in olive oil, milk, salt and pepper. Mix well and refrigerate in saucepan.

3. In a shallow baking pan, toss the asparagus with oil and salt and pepper to taste until coated well. Roast in 425 F. oven until tender and lightly browned, about 10 min. Reserve. Raise oven temperature to 475 F.

4. Make the crumbs: In a small skillet over moderately high heat, heat the oil until hot, but not smoking. Add pepper flakes and stir 10 seconds. Add garlic and stir 30 seconds. Add thyme and stir 10 seconds. Stir in bread crumbs and salt and pepper to taste. Remove skillet from heat and stir in the parsley.

5. Heat a large skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Season lamb pieces with salt and pepper and brown in skillet 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a sheet pan, ribs together with meat side up. Spread with a thin layer of mustard mixture and pat evenly with crumbs. Bake in middle of 475 F. oven for 15 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 135 F. for medium-rare meat. Transfer to a platter and let stand, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, make the sauce: While the lamb is roasting, add oil and shallots to the skillet used to brown the lamb and sauté until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add wine and simmer until reduced by half. Add both broths and simmer until reduced to about 3/4 to 1 cup. Remove from heat and purée with reserved roasted garlic in a blender. Return potatoes to low heat and heat through. Return sauce to skillet and heat to simmering. Remove from heat, whisk in butter and salt and pepper to taste.

7. To serve: Place two lamb ribs on each plate. Place potatoes and asparagus along side. Spread sauce over lamb and put a sprig of rosemary over the potatoes. Serves 4. Serve with a quality flavorful red such a better Spanish wine, a fine Bordeaux or Cabernet, or a top red Burgundy or Pinot Noir.
Don't spend all that money on the meat and pair it with a wimpy, inexpensive wine.

 Roast Lamb with Potato, Onion and Tomato Gratin

6 garlic cloves, 1 split, the rest chopped 5 medium tomatoes (about 1 lb.), cored and thinly sliced
2 lb. baking potatoes, such as Russets, peeled and very thinly sliced 2/3 C dry white wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper 1/3 cup extra virgin-olive oil
1 Tbl. fresh thyme 1 leg of lamb, bone in (6-7 lbs.)
2 large onions, very thinly sliced  

Preheat oven to 400 F. Rub the bottom of a large oval gratin dish (about 16x10x2”) with the split garlic clove. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer. Season generously with salt, pepper and some of the thyme and chopped garlic. Layer the sliced onions on top: Season as with the potatoes. Layer the tomatoes on top of the onions. Season with salt, pepper and remaining thyme and garlic. Pour on the white wine and then the oil.

Trim the thicker portions of fat from the leg of lamb. Season with salt and pepper. Place a sturdy cake rack or oven rack directly above the gratin dish. Set the lamb on the rack so the juices will drip into the gratin. Roast uncovered for about 75 minutes (rare), an extra 30 minutes for well done. Carefully turn the lamb every 15 minutes, basting it with liquid from the dish underneath. Remove from oven and let the lamb sit for 20 minutes. Carve into thin slices and arrange on warmed dinner plates or on a serving platter with the vegetable gratin alongside. Serves 8.
Serve with a full flavored red such as Cabernet, a big red Burgundy or Pinot Noir or a good Bordeaux such as Chateau La Croix Moulinet.

Shish Kabob I

2 lb. tender lamb 1 Tbl. fresh coriander, chopped or 1 tsp. dried
juice of 2 lemons 1 tsp. powdered ginger
1/4 C olive oil 1 garlic clove, mashed
2 Tbl. grated onion 6 plum tomatoes
1-2 Tbl. ground chili peppers, to taste 1 large onion
3 tsp. salt 2 green peppers
2 tsp. turmeric or curry powder 12 large mushroom caps

Trim as much fat as possible from the lamb. Cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes. Combine lemon juice thru garlic. Marinate meat in mixture for two hours or more, refrigerated. Meanwhile, slice tomatoes in half the long way. Peel onion layers and cut into 2" squares. Microwave onion pieces in a bowl for 1 minute. Seed green peppers and slice into 2" squares. Clean mushroom caps.

Thread marinated meat onto skewers, alternating meat with vegetables. Barbecue or lay the skewers on a rack over a dripping pan and broil 3-4 minutes per side for rare. Baste with additional oil. Serve over rice, kasha or buckwheat groats. Serves 4 hungry people. Serve with a pretty big red such as a Cabernet, a Bordeaux or the best Burgundy you can afford.

Lamb Hash with Apples and Onions
(This unpretentious recipe from James Beard is a hidden treasure!)

1 large onion, sliced into rings 1 Tbl. tomato sauce or catsup
3 large cooking apples, peeled and diced 2 C leftover lamb, cut into small cubes
1/2 C lamb gravy or brown sauce salt and pepper to taste

Using a large skillet or dutch oven, sauté the onions in a little oil until limp. Add the apples and cook, stirring gently, 5 minutes. Add the gravy and tomato sauce. Stir and cook 3 minutes. Add the lamb. Stir, cover and cook 5 minutes. Serve over rice. Serves 4. This would be wonderful with a Grand Cru Beaujolais such as Moulin-a-Vent, a flavorful red Burgundy or a top notch Pinot Noir.

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