Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Dijon Crusted Roast Rack of Lamb with Cognac Glace Viande and Parsnip Chive Crème Potato

     A Classic Entrée For Special Occasions!
     Rack of Lamb is perfect for special occasions, holidays or when sheer decadence suits the mood!  I actually prepared today's Rack of Lamb recipe example for the Christmas Holidays while working in Chicago a few years ago.  At that time, the original goal was to cook a traditional goose entrée for Christmas, but goose was way overpriced.  As it turns out, goose is nearly always overpriced, because it only sells during the holiday season, so price gouging is part of the marketing scheme.  As an alternative, I found a rack of New Zealand Lamb that sold for a very modest price.
     As a chef or sous chef, I have always prepared Rack of Lamb for a special holiday menus in restaurants and private clubs.  Rack of Lamb is nearly required to be offered on Christmas, New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day and Easter menus.  In fine dining restaurants, Rack of Lamb is always a customer favorite, especially on weekends.
     Classic table service styles dictate how a Rack of Lamb is served.  Classic Russian table service requires a prepared Rack of Lamb to be sliced and displayed on a platter, then offered to guests at the table along with accompaniments on platters carried by the other members of the wait staff.  Classic French table service requires the Rack Of Lamb and accompaniment to be presented on a cart and the rack of lamb is carved at the table side.  Classic English table service requires the host (lead guest) to carve plate and present the Rack of Lamb and all accompaniments.  Classic American table service requires the Rack of Lamb to be plated in the kitchen, then presented to guests.
     Today's Rack of Lamb entrée is a French entrée that is plated American table service style.  This means that the presentation is composed in the kitchen.  When plated this way, the Rack of Lamb should be presented in a way that tastefully maximizes eye appeal.  This means absolutely no excess garnishes can be used that are not integral to the recipe.  No carved vegetables, no frills, no micro sprouts and no flowers can be used, unless they are called for in the classic recipe.  Therefore, all of the focus should be placed upon making the required components of the recipe look as good as possible, then tastefully arranging them on a plate with the focal point, height, flow, color and symmetry in mind.  To accomplish this, a plating diagram is drawn ahead of time.      
     Dijon Crusted Rack of Lamb is a classic French preparation.  Many chefs gob a ton of Dijon Mustard, herbs and breadcrumbs on the Lamb Rack when making this recipe.  In fact, putting a thick layer of the Dijon topping on a Rack of Lamb is how I was originally trained to make this entrée early in my career.  It was not till I worked as a sous chef in a fine dining restaurant that was owned by a great French chef from Provence, that I found out that the Dijon topping should not be overbearing.  The senior French Chef said that the Dijon topping should be paper thin, so it only delicately flavors the lamb noisette meat.  When prepared this way, the Dijon topping is visually barely noticeable, yet the delicate flavor is present.

     Glace Viande:
     Follow the link to the recipe in this website.
     • Glace Viande

     Rack Of Lamb Preparation (Frenched Lamb):
     This recipe yields 1 Rack of New Zealand Lamb.
     There are several things to consider when selecting a Rack of Lamb.  Price is a chief concern, because in a fine dining restaurant, the profit margin on a Rack of Lamb is very small.  The best value is to purchase whole rib sections that are joined at the spine.  A whole lamb rib section requires a bone saw, heavy scimitar or heavy large cleaver to prepare.
     For home cooks and most restaurants, purchasing individual Racks of Lamb is the best choice.  Be sure to select a Rib Rack and not a "Loin Rack Section."  A Rib Rack has long rib bones.  
     Size is a prime consideration.  A New Zealand Rack of Lamb is the smallest and a full rack is considered to be one portion.  Today's recipe photo example was made with a New Zealand Lamb Rack.  Australian Lamb Racks are a little bit larger.  An Australian Lamb Rack yields enough for two fair portions, which is perfect for a multi course meal.  Colorado Lamb Racks are huge and meaty.  A half of a Colorado Lamb Rack is one full portion.
     A good butcher shop will prepare a Rack of Lamb any way that a customer requests.  How much the Lamb Rack is trimmed does affect the price.  An untrimmed Lamb Rack requires a cook to have some basic meat fabrication skills.  A partially trimmed or Frenched Lamb Rack has a thick fat cap over the loin meat and the bones are trimmed bare, so less trimming is required.  A fully trimmed Lamb Rack is usually ready to cook as is, but it may require a little bit of trimming to make it perfect.       
     Step 1:  Select a razor sharp boning knife.
     Remove the thick fat cap and the shoulder cartilage flap that covers the loin meat and rib bones, but leave a thin coating of fat on the loin meat.
     Step 2:  Cut against the sides of each rib bone.  The thin strips of meat and fat between the bones will now dangle loose.  Cut the scrap rib meat strips off as close to the loin section as possible.
     Step 3:  Use the back of a knife to scrape the bones clean.  (Frenching)
     Trim the thin fat coating off of the loin meat.
     Trim off all of the silver floss sinew, so the loin meat is clean and bare.
     Step 4:  Check the back if the loin section for small spine bone pieces that were not removed.  If any, then trim them off.

     Lamb Rack Marinade:
     This recipe yields 1 New Zealand Rack of Lamb (1 portion) 
     Step 1:  Place 1 prepared New Zealand Lamb Rack in a container.
     Brush the loin meat on the rack with a thin coating of blended olive oil.
     Rub the lamb loin meat with these ingredients:
     - 2 cloves of minced garlic
     - 1/2 tablespoon of rosemary,
     - 2 pinches of sea salt and black pepper
     Step 3:  Chill and marinate for 2 hours in a refrigerator.
     Brush all of the garlic and rosemary off of the rack of lamb.
     Keep the lamb rack chilled till it is needed.

     Parsnip Chive Crème Potato:
     This recipe yields 2 portions.  (About 2 cups)
     Step 1:  *The parsnip can be cooked while the potato boils.
     Heat a small sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoons of Unsalted Plugra Butter.
     Add 1/3 cup of thin sliced peeled parsnip.  (About 3/16" thick)
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Gently sauté till golden highlights appear and the parsnip is tender.
     Step 2:  Add 1 cup of water.
     Gently simmer and reduce till the water completely evaporates and the parsnip is very soft.
     *The butter will sizzle when the water is evaporated.  Repeat this step if the parsnip is not soft enough to mash.
     Step 3:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Keep the pan of soft braised parsnip warm on a stove top.
     Step 4:  Place 1 large 10 ounce peeled russet potato in a sauce pot.
     Cover the potato with 2" of extra water.
     Place the pot over medium high heat.
     Boil till the potato is tender enough to mash.
     Step 5:  Drain off the water and leave the potato in the warm pot.
     Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of cream.
     Add 1 tablespoon of Unsalted Plugra Butter.
     Add 1 tablespoon of thin sliced chives.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Whisk and mash the potato and parsnip mixture till it is smooth and creamy.
     Step 6:  Load the Parsnip Chive Crème Potato into a star tipped pastry bag.
     Keep the pastry bag warm on a stove top or in a 135ºF bain marie.

     Cognac Glace Viande (with Pearl Onion Garnish):
     This recipe yields 2 portions.  (A little less than 1/2 cup)
     Step 1:  Place a small sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 teaspoons of minced shallot.
     Add 1/2 of a minced garlic clove.
     Sauté till the shallots turn clear, but not browned.
     Step 2:  Add 1/4 cup of brandy or cognac.
     Add 1/2 cup of thin glace viande.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Add 1 pinch of rosemary.
     Add 1 pinch of thyme.
     Gently simmer and reduce till the sauce is a very thin consistency that can barely glaze the back of a spoon.
     Step 3:  Pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a second small sauce pot.
     Add 10 small peeled fresh pearl onions.
     Add 1/4 cup of brandy or cognac.  (for second reduction)
     Place the pot over medium low heat.
     Simmer and reduce till the sauce is a thin consistency that can glaze a spoon and the pearl onions become soft.
     Step 4:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Reheat the sauce to order over very low heat or keep the sauce warm in a container placed in a 135ºF bain marie.  (Add a small splash of beef stock if the glace sauce becomes too thick.)
     Step 5:  *Do this step later after the lamb rack finishes roasting.
     Add 1 teaspoon of Unsalted Plugra Butter to the warm sauce while stirring just before the sauce is served.
     Vegetable Garnish:
     This recipe yields 1 petite portion.
     Step 1:  Cut 2 to 3 strips of yellow squash, zucchini and carrot that are 1/4" wide and about 3" long.
     Step 2:  Blanch the vegetables in boiling salted water till they are al dente.
     Cool the vegetables in ice water.
     Set the vegetables aside.
     Step 3:  *Do this step shortly before the rack of lamb is served.
     Heat a small sauté pan over low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of Unsalted Plugra Butter.
     Add the blanched vegetables.
     Add 2 to 3 feather cut snow peas.
     Gently warm the vegetables, till the snow peas are al dente.
     Keep the vegetables warm on a stove top.
     Dijon Crusted Roast Rack of Lamb:
     This recipe yields 1 New Zealand Rack of Lamb.  (1 portion)
     Step 1:  Heat a wide sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of blended olive oil.
     Place the lamb rack in the sauté pan.
     Pan sear the lamb rack till the loin meat section is lightly browned in all sides and still very rare inside.  Briefly sear the exposed rib bones, so they gain a little bit of color.
     Step 2:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Set the seared lamb rack aside and let it cool to room temperature.
     Completely cover the lamb rack bones with aluminum foil, so the bones do not burn in the oven.
     Step 3:  Place 1/4 cup of plain fine French bread crumbs in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of finely minced parsley.
     Add 1 pinch of finely minced tarragon.
     Add 1 pinch of finely minced rosemary.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Step 4:  Spread a thin layer of Dijon Mustard on the lamb rack loin meat.
     Sprinkle a thin layer of the bread crumb mixture on the Dijon mustard.  (Any extra bread crumb mixture can be saved for another recipe.)
     Sprinkle a few drops of olive oil on the bread crumb coating.  (about 1/4 teaspoon)
     Step 5:  Place the prepared rack of lamb on a wire screen roasting rack on a roasting pan.
     Place the pan in a 350ºF oven.
     Roast the rack lamb till it is about a little more than halfway cooked to the preferred finish temperature.
     Step 6:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Remove the aluminum foil from the bones.
     Step 7:  Return the pan to the 350ºF oven.
     Continue to roast the lamb rack till it is cooked to the desired finish temperature.  (The lamb rack in the photos was cooked rare/medium rare.)
     Step 8:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Let the lamb rack rest on the wire screen roasting rack for 1 minute.

     Dijon Crusted Roast Rack of Lamb with Cognac Glace Viande and Parsnip Chive Crème Potato:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Step 1:  Use the pastry bag to pipe a tall conical shape portion of the Parsnip Chive Crème Potato on the center of the back half of a plate.
     Place and press the prepared vegetable strips and snow peas vertically onto the crème potato.
     Step 2:  Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the Cognac Glace Viande on the plate around the potatoes as a bed for the lamb rack chops.
     Step 3:  Hold each sliced Dijon Crusted Roast Rack of Lamb Chop by the bone.
     Set the loin meat end on the plate near the potatoes and lean the bone vertically against the tall mound of crème potato and vegetables.  Try to arrange each chop so it looks nice and so the meat end of each lamb chop lines up around the potatoes on the front half of the plate.
     Step 4:  Pour about 1 1/2 more tablespoons of the Cognac Glace Viande with 5 of the pearl onions around the lamb on the front half of the plate.
    No extra garnishing is necessary!

     Viola!  A very nice New Zealand Rack Of Lamb entrée for a special occasion!

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