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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Grilled Lamb & Pear Compote

Lamb is not an everyday meal in my book. It is reserved for special occasions, fancy dinner parties and when Mom comes to town. However, you must understand that when one lives in Minnesota, a special occasion is also widely known as simply 'a very nice day'. 

This day, this special-occasion-make-a-rack-of-lamb-day, was simply one of the few- but ultimately glorious, beautiful days in Minneapolis. A celebration in its own right. So celebrate we did. 
A quick trip to Whole Foods, a couple bottles of Crispin's Organic 'Bare Naked' Cider, and a few friends later, we had ourselves an outright feast. 

Now you might be thinking that lamb is a bit daunting; too easily overcooked and so on. But trust me, you can do this. We'll go step-by-step and I promise you delicious results! 

Make your list and check it twice!

2-3 lb Rack(s) of lamb
2 Tbs Fresh Rosemary
1 Tbs Fresh Thyme
3-4 Cloves garlic
Zest from 1/2 a lemon
Olive Oil
1 Tbs Sea Salt (Coarse)
2 tsp Freshly cracked black pepper

2 Bartlett Pears, just ripe and peeled
1 c. Crispin Bare Naked Organic Cider
1/2 Yellow Onion
1 Clove garlic
1 Tbs Olive Oil
1/4 c Dried Apricots
1 Tbs Chicken Base (low sodium)
1/2 tsp Ground Coriander
Pinch Nutmeg
1/2 lb Ricotta
1/2 cup-ish Heavy Cream
Zest of 1/2 a Lemon
1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper
Salt to taste 

  • 1) Ready your lamb. Mince rosemary, garlic and thyme, combine with salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Rub the lamb with olive oil and then the herb mixture. Let sit at a cool room temperature for up to an hour (at least 20 min) or wrap with cling wrap and refrigerate for up to overnight. 

  • 2) Prepare you compote. Begin by reducing your cider by half over medium heat, set aside. Dice pears, onions and apricots into 1/4 inch pieces and mince garlic. In a medium pan over medium-high heat, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Add in onions and cook until soft and slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add in the apricots and cook a couple minutes more before adding in the cider, chicken base, diced pears and spices. Allow to simmer about 5 minutes or until the pears are quite soft and the sauce has reduced. You may want to add a little more cider if you'd like it saucier.

    3) Combine the ricotta with heavy cream, pepper and lemon zest. Add salt to taste and set aside.

    4) Preheat your grill to 400 degrees with half of the grill on low and the other half on medium high. If using a charcoal grill, make sure to pile the coals toward one side so you have a hot side and warm side.

    5) Sear the lamb for about 2-3 minutes per side on the hot side of the grill. Move over to the low side and allow to cook about 5 minutes more per side or until they register 125-130 for medium rare chops and have browned nicely. Set aside and allow to rest 10 minutes before carving. *Cooking time will vary greatly depending on the size of your rack, just make sure it gets a good sear on the hot side and reaches the proper temperature using a thermometer.

    6) Serve each plate or chop with a dollop of the ricotta cream and a bit of the pear compote. Enjoy!

    [Serves 4]

I can't with this one. It was really something else. Simply delicious and uncomplicated flavors; bright and fresh herbs, creamy ricotta, juicy lamb. It paired so well with the cider and really lent the dish an even more mouth-watering quality. It was the perfect meal for a perfect day and it came out wonderfully. The next time a beautiful day is upon you, I trust you'll know what to do.