Monday, November 1, 2010

Tuscan Cranberry Rack of Lamb, Roast Potatoes and Grilled Asparagus

My sister and I had her ex-boyfriend over for dinner last night (he's still a good friend - of both of us) and because I had two racks of lamb in the freezer, I figured I'd try a recipe that a friend of mine had for me once. It's a favourite of hers and she cooks it well  better than me I'll admit.

This was my first time cooking rack of lamb, as I've never really bee a lamb chop kind of person.. but having enjoyed it when Robyn made it....well it's a nice meal.

Basically, you slather your racks of lamb in cranberry sauce. Pretty much an entire jars worth. And then you 'sprinkle' half a jars worth of Tuscan Seasoning on top. Yup. Don't do it too far in advance, because there's a fair bit of salt in that seasoning... and we all know what too much salt on meat does when you let it rest.

I precook my potatoes in the microwave - I used to parboil them in a pot, but you loose most of the nutrients in the water - which is fine if you're making gravy and use the potato water - besides, I like my roast potatoes with the skin on, and it's easier and faster to just slap them in the microwave.
Chop 'em up. Pop them in a baking dish with a dash of oil, a sprinkle of salt and a few cloves of garlic. I sometimes add things like rosemary... but they didn't need it with this dish. I roasted mine in a seperate dish in the beginning. I like my roast potatoes all crunchy on the outside and meltingly soft on the inside, and while it does depend on the type of potato what sort of result you'll get, it also depends on how long you leave them in. Last nights were in for over an hour... hour and a half I think. I chucked them in with the rack of lamb when it went it. Mostly because I needed the bottom shelf to roast my cherry tomatoes. But the result was worth it. Some of the potatoes that fell into the lamby cranberry juice went all sticky and yummy.

 Meanwhile, I put together a plate of bread and dips. I put some  sliced up day/2 day old ciabatta rolls under the grill, rubbed a garlic clover lightly over them, and served them with aioli, and a balsamic/olive oil dip (with basil scattered in it). It's not home made bread, nor is it fresh... but it worked damn well toasted.

All my pretty asparagus lined up ready to be cooked. Pretty pretties. Notice the aioli still out. (I've made my own before, and the difference is noticeable... but the time and effort was something I just didn't have time for... plus I used all my eggs the day before on the cupcakes.)That aioli came in handy when I found this adorable aspargus sprout in among the others.....

And damn was it good grilled and dipped in aioli.

Back to the meal. After the potatoes had been in for about an hour, I got my roasting pan all nice and hot on the top element, and browned my racks of lamb and then put them into the oven with the potatoes. I did over cook mine slightly. I took them out perfect, but the resting time left them a vague pink colour, where I would have prefered a much for medium/medium rare yummyness. Never mind.
I grilled the asparagus, took my cherry tomatoes out, and attempted to serve it up in a slightly pretty manner. Normally I'd serve less potatoes... but Tom is a big eater. So there we have it. Tuscan Cranberry Rack of Lamb, Roast Potatoes and Grilled Asparagus.

(I also dashed a quick line of reduced balsamic vinegar across the lamb. Twas yummy.)


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