May 04, 2003

Cherry Smoked Lamb

The rains have finally tapered off here in California and so I prepared a "Spring Menu" for Carol. And (as so rarely happens) the dish turned out almost exactly as I had imagined it.

The main course was: Cherry Smoked Rack of Lamb with Mixed Vegetables, Morels, and Asparagas over a Red Wine Oxtail Reduction Sauce.

I frenched the rack of lamb down to a no-fat state and gave it a rub of salt, pepper, and marjoram. For the Vegetables I used a small melon baller to make balls from Yukon Gold potatoes and Carrots and I also had some local English Peas from Half Moon Bay. The Morels had also been gathered locally and I used only the top inch of the Asparagas.

The rest of the prep simply involved boiling the potatoes and carrots in salted water until mostly cooked and then shocking them in ice water.

The sauce was made with the scraps from the lamb cooked down with two cups of oxtail stock and about half a cup of red wine. After 30 minutes, I strained the result and continued to reduce until it was a light sauce/broth.

Cooking was easy at that point. I lit the Weber and made a good hot fire to one side. Once very hot, I added four large chunks of cherry wood and placed the lamb off to the side and covered the grill. I smoked the lamb for about 25 minutes (I think I overshot by just a few, actually). Pulled it off and let it rest while I finished the rest of the dish. It came out a great red-ish wood color from the smoke.

The Potatoes and Carrots I sauteed in a very hot pan with clarified butter, and then added the peas at the end. Just salt and pepper to flavor.

The Morels and Asparagas got a similar sautee, but with the addition of some fresh thyme from the garden.

For plating, I used very large white chunky plates. The vegetables went to one side (all globe-shaped), and the Morels and Asparagas (all pointy) to the other. The rack of lamb was cut into two sections (about 4 ribs each) and set to the third side. Into the Benz-logo shaped center area I spooned the sauce.

I served a 1991 Stag's Leap Cabernet with the lamb.

For desert, local strawberries in Chambord and a dollop of whipped heavy cream flavored with vanilla.

Posted by dowdy at May 4, 2003 09:41 AM