This past weekend my partner and I (she prefers to be referred to that since we are now business partners) spent the weekend at her parents to cook some dishes for some photos (that's my sexy hand right there). It was interesting because they had no running water and we had to basically boil down snow to wash the dishes afterwards. But enough of that.
I should record all the dishes because all the photos turned pretty well. The first dish was a good one to do because it simply photographed well and it isn't that difficult to make.
Puff pastry is kind of like pie dough. Yet this stuff can rise like a weed even though it has no leavening agent that you would normally add. No yeast. It rises because of steam. It's actually very tasty and a pain to make from scratch. I haven't actually made it since school and I have been using store bought for my purposes.
Enough of that. Rack of lamb is usually expensive and if you ever see it on sale, get some and freeze it for dinner parties. Trust me. Where I live doesn't offer the highest quality of lamb but it suffices. Frozen New Zealand. I don't have a choice. However, if your butcher offers lamb from Washington or southern Ontario, go for it. The meat is more tender and more flavourful. But it's expensive (ironic that meat from the other side of the planet is cheaper than the stuff a few kilometres away).
As for juniper berries, well, I guess you'll have to search around for that one. Hell, you may even have a juniper bush in your backyard and never knew what to do with the berries. Well, here's one way of using it.
Rack Of Lamb in Puff Pastry with a Juniper Reduction
1 Rack of Lamb, bone clean and cut into chops
1 Package of Puff Pastry
Blend of Dried Herbs and Spices:
Garlic, Oregano, Basil, Thyme, Rosemary, Paprika, Cayenne, Pinch of Sugar
Dab of Melted Butter
For the Reduction:
About 6 Juniper Berries
500 ml Lamb or Beef Stock
Drizzle of Maple Syrup
1 Shallot, finely diced
2 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
Splash of Port or Sherry
1 Sprig of Fresh Thyme and Rosemary
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Preheat the oven at 400 degrees.
Season lamb with blend of herbs and spices and sear in a frying pan on high heat. Nice and brown of course. That's it!
Just kidding. Lay out pastry and sprinkle any leftover herbs and spices you have. Lay lamb on pastry and wrap. Brush a little melted butter and bake in oven for 25-35 minutes. If you like it rare, 25 minutes and that's it. If you like it well done, drop the temp by 50 degrees and bake for 40 minutes.
For the sauce, in a small sauce pan, add your melted butter on medium high heat. Add shallots and cook for 1 minute. Add garlic and juniper berries and cook for 1 more minute stirring constantly (don't burn the garlic). Add port or sherry and reduce for 1 minute. Add stock, syrup, herbs and reduce to about 100ml. Strain through a fine mesh colander (or a chinois, if you know what that is) and season with salt to taste.
Drizzle on pastry when serving.
Chef`s tip: Serve this with your favourite green vegetable that is hopefully not overcooked. Mash is good with this but I served a fig risotto with this and it turned out very well (lamb and fig have a affinity). How do you make fig risotto? Well, there are several ways you can infuse the flavour. First, oh fig. That deserves it's own post methinks.