July 20th, 2014

Rack of Lamb with Cilantro Mustard Seed Crust

Rack of Lamb with Cilantro Mustard Seed Crust

Adapted from  Eating Well.

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1-pound rack of lamb, trimmed of fat
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon canola oil
New Mexico Chile Sauce, (recipe follows), heated

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Mix the cilantro, mustard, mustard seeds and garlic together in a small bowl. Season your meat with salt and pepper before searing the meat. You can use a small cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet for that, but I went straight to my grill. Cook on the grill, meat-side down, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Don’t let it spend too much time on the grill  — you’re simply searing here, so you don’t want to overcook it.  You can break out the meat thermometer, but I was strict about following the time indicated on this recipe and it came out perfect.  Take it off the heat and spread the mustard mixture over the browned side. Transfer lamb to a pan or skillet and then into the oven.  Roast it for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a thermometer registers 140°F (rare) or until the lamb reaches your desired doneness. Transfer lamb to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes (don’t skip this step!) before carving the rack between the ribs with a sharp knife. Spoon some New Mexico Chile Sauce onto 2 plates and top with lamb, or spoon the sauce over the ribs (or both!). Serve immediately.

New Mexico Chile Sauce

Adapted from Eating Well.

2 plum tomatoes
2 dried New Mexico chiles, stemmed and seeded (see Tip)
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 to 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch of sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Roast the tomatoes in a heavy dry skillet (cast-iron works well) over medium heat, turning them until their skins are blistered and blackened in spots (about 5 minutes). Transfer to a cutting board and steam them by covering with a kitchen towel. Once they cool, peel and coarsely chop them.

While the tomatoes are cooling, toast the chiles in the same pan over medium heat until they’re fragrant (about 20 to 30 seconds on each side). Once they’re cool, tear them into several pieces.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add onion and mushroom.  Stirring frequently, cook until the veggies are tender (2 to 3 minutes). Throw in the garlic and oregano and cook for another 30 seconds. Add broth and the cooled tomatoes and chiles and bring it all to a boil. Cover, reduce to low and let it all simmer, for a half hour.

Pour the sauce into a blender or food processor and puree it. If you want it really smooth, pass the blended sauce through a fine-meshed sieve back into the saucepan. Heat while stirring, and season to taste with lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper.

Tip: be sure to remove the chilies’ seeds or the sauce’s flavors will be overwhelmed by their heat.
To make ahead: You can cover and refrigerate the sauce for up to 2 days. It can also be frozen for up to 6 months.

Originally published in “‘Racking’ My Brain To Impress A Foodie”

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