Friday, April 8, 2011

Sweet 'n Spicy Racks of Lamb

I've launched a little food-related project in conjunction with the folks at Fooducopia, a site where small food producers sell their products. My part in this is that I'll be creating recipes specifically for products sold on the Fooducopia site. This is one of those recipes, this time using Sweet Chili Sauce made by Hot Gringas'.

I buy a whole local lamb every year, so I don't save it for special occasions. This dinner, however could have been served for a special occasion. It looked amazingly pretty and it tasted great. The sweet chili sauce added sweet, heat, and a teeny bit of acid - and the color was about as appetizing as it gets.

When you talk about a rack of lamb, it sounds like a fancy upscale dish that should be difficult to prepare, but they're actually very easy to cook. A meat thermometer takes the guesswork out of the temperature, and the oven takes care of even cooking. You cook them like a roast, but they don't take a whole lot of time, so you can plan these for a day when you don't want to fuss a lot. They're that simple.

One rack of lamb with eight bones fed two of us for dinner, but portioning depends on how big your racks are and how big the lamb was. My local lambs tend to be just a bit smaller than the commercial ones, so take that into account. This recipe can be multiplied to feed as many people as you need to.

Most recipes for racks of lamb suggest that you French the racks - you strip out the meat between the bones on the thin part of the roast, leaving the bones bare. I might do that for company, but when it's a family dinner, I'm more likely to leave those little bits of meat attached. Why waste even a bite? There's nothing wrong with the meat, it's about the presentation - and I thought mine looked darned pretty just the way it was.

Sweet 'n Spicy Racks of Lamb

1 eight-bone rack of lamb
Salt, to taste
Oil, for cooking
Hot Gringas' Sweet Chili Sauce

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Sprinkle salt on the lamb. Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a heavy ovenproof skillet - I used a cast iron frying pan. Sear the rack of lamb on all sides. You won't be able to sear under the curve of the ribs, but that's okay.

Turn the rack so the meaty side is facing up (curved ribs down) and spread on a thick glaze of the chili sauce. Insert a remote probe thermometer into the center of the rack, being careful to not touch the bone. Set the thermometer for your desired temperature - 125 for rare and 135 for medium.

Place the pan in the oven and cook to your desired temperature. If you like more spice, take the meat out about 5 minutes before it's done, and spread more chili sauce on, then continue cooking until done. On average, it should take about 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 15 minutes before serving. To serve, slice between the ribs into serving-sized pieces. If the racks are very small, carve into two-rib pieces. If the racks are larger, slice into 1-rib pieces.

To be clear, I'm not reviewing or endorsing the products in this recipe. I've created the recipe for Fooducopia to post its site and I'm re-posting the recipe here for my readers as well. Then again, since I created the recipe, rest assured that I liked it. I don't cook stuff that we're not going to eat.