Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day (in case you forgot). It is an occasion for me to tell Mrs. BA how much I love her and don't know how I would live without her. (incidentally, for years my father used to get a pass for not always remembering Valentine's Day because [he said] it was not celebrated in France. However, it should be pointed out that he came to America when he was 7, so that lame excuse pretty much didn't work so good)

Now I am not sure what Mrs. BA and I will do tomorrow night. I jokingly referred to White Castle's promotion a few weeks ago, but I don't think that's quite what we have in mind. We did score a nice gift certificate from her sister for watching her kids a few weeks ago, so we could do that.

But as it is a Tuesday night, it might just be brinner as usual. I did however take the Epicurious challenge to design a Valentine's Day meal just for me and Mrs. BA. This is what I got:
Roast Lamb with Lamb Sausage Crust and Fresh Grape Pan Sauce
Bon Appétit | December 2007
Selma Brown Morrow

A savory crust and simple sauce lift this roast into the special-occasion realm.
Yield: Makes 8 servings

  • 2 cups halved seedless red grapes
  • 2 cups tawny Port
  • 2 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
Sausage Crust and Lamb:
  • 1/2 cup halved seedless red grapes
  • 1/4 cup halved pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 8 ounces ground lamb
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 2- to 2 1/2-pound well-trimmed racks of lamb (each with 8 bones)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French bread
For sauce:
Boil all ingredients in large saucepan until reduced to 2 1/3 cups, about 20 minutes. Cool. Puree in blender. DO AHEAD: Can be made 5 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

For lamb:
Pulse grapes, olives, chopped rosemary, vinegar, and garlic clove in mini processor until olives are chopped. Transfer to bowl. Mix in ground lamb,1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Sprinkle racks of lamb with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 rack, meat side down, and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Set on rimmed baking sheet, meat side up. Repeat with 1 tablespoon oil and remaining rack; reserve skillet. Cool lamb completely.

Add 1/2 cup broth to skillet. Boil until reduced to glaze, scraping up browned bits. Add to sauce. Cover and chill.

Spread each rack with 1 tablespoon mustard. Press half of lamb sausage over top of each rack (layer will be thin). DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons oil, and 2 tablespoons mustard in medium skillet. Toss over medium heat until beginning to color, about 5 minutes. Press crumbs over sausage on each rack. Cut through crumb crust (not lamb) between bones to score. Roast until thermometer inserted into center registers 135°F, about 30 minutes for medium-rare.

Transfer lamb to platter; let rest 10 minutes. Pour juices from baking sheet into sauce. Simmer in small saucepan until reduced to about 1 1/3 cups, about 9 minutes (sauce will thicken slightly). Season with salt and pepper.

Cut lamb between bones into chops. Set two on each plate. Spoon sauce over.

Martín Códax 2005 "Ergo"Tempranillo (Spain, $14), with lively fruit,full body, and supple texture.

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