On the (Herb-crusted) Lamb with Mushroom and Leek Bread Pudding

lamb1

Herb-crusted lamb with mushroom and leek bread pudding – fast friends that seemed so natural together after just one encounter. The herb-crusted lamb isn’t anything revolutionary (just luscious) but a savory bread pudding?! Totally revolutionary. Inspired by Ina Garten, I actually followed the recipe (!) and it turned out beautifully.

Herb-crusted rack of lamb

adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine

  • 2 racks of lamb, about 1-1/4 lb. each, chine bones removed, rib bones frenched, and meat trimmed of all but a thin layer of fat
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 cup soft fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
 

Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 475°F. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Combine the garlic, parsley, thyme, and breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl. Moisten the mixture with enough olive oil to make the mixture hold together.

Heat a large dry skillet over high heat. Put the lamb, meat side down, in the skillet. With tongs, hold the lamb against the skillet for a minute to give it a nice brown crust. Turn the meat to sear it on all sides for a total of 4 minutes. Remove the meat from the skillet and paint the meaty side of the rack with the mustard. Roll the meat in the herb mixture to coat it. Sear and coat the second rack in the same way.

Transfer the racks to a roasting pan just large enough to hold them. Cover the rib bones with strips of foil so they don’t burn and roast until medium rare, 20 to 25 minutes (120-140°F internal temperature). (I forgot cover the bones and smoked out the whole kitchen). If you want a crispier crust, finish cooking under the broiler for 2 minutes. Let the racks rest for 5 minutes before carving.

Use a carving knife to cut between the rib bones. Arrange the chops on warm serving plates. Serve hot. (The chops will cool quickly, so the best strategy is to carve the racks at the table.)

Ina Garten’s Mushroom and Leek Bread pudding

  • 6 cups (1/2-inch-diced) bread cubes from a rustic country loaf, crusts removed
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces pancetta, small-diced (optional)
  • 4 cups sliced leeks, white and light green parts (4 leeks)
  • 1 1/2 pounds cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed and 1/4-inch-sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1/4 cup medium or dry sherry
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (6 ounces), divided

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the bread cubes on a sheet pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oil and butter in a large (12-inch) saute pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 5 minutes, until starting to brown. Stir in the leeks and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until the leeks are tender. Stir in the mushrooms, tarragon, sherry, 1 tablespoon salt and 11/2 teaspoons pepper and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until most of the liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Off the heat, stir in the parsley.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, chicken stock and 1 cup of the Gruyere. Add the bread cubes and mushroom mixture, stirring well to combine. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow the bread to absorb the liquid. Stir well and pour into a 2 1/2-to-3-quart gratin dish (13 x 9 x 2 inches). Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup Gruyere and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top is browned and the custard is set. Serve hot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *