A bit of background to my thinking
So following my foray into the world of ridiculous eats as described in my last post I thought it was time to get back to some classic style food. I’ve been wanting to get a rack of lamb for some time, and still do as I didn’t manage it this time, and instead bought some lamb cutlets from my local supermarket. One day I will buy a rack of lamb, I just need to get to a butcher which is hard for me as I am out cycling every Saturday morning. I liked the look of the cutlets and they would provide the aesthetic effect to the dish I had in mind, plus they taste great. These are such a nice cut of meat and require very little cooking which is brilliant when you want to put some effort into the other aspects of the dish. This was an area that I had not quite decided on however.
On Friday during the weekly shop I had purchased a variety of options including Chantenay carrots, courgettes, baby leeks (who obviously made the cut) and a variety of different salads. Each of these had enjoyed their moment in the forefront of my mind over the weekend and been considered. Then it came to me in a moment of clarity, beans. I remembered that I had bought some butter beans a few weeks back and decided these would make the perfect accompaniment. I was thinking something along the lines of a cassoulet but without the sausage or the crust, so more of a bean stew really. This would be red wine based and I would add in some of the previously excluded carrots, shallots, garlic, thyme and some fennel that I had purchased. Not wanting to leave the baby leeks out as they looked so nice these also got themselves included as a charred side.
Finally I needed a sauce or something to add that finishing touch to the dish. Originally I was going to go along the lines of a Madeira sauce but felt this wouldn’t mix well with the beans. Instead I opted for a much lighter and more summery mint and basil dressing along the lines of a salsa verde. I felt that this would compliment the griddled lamb perfectly and add some zip and zing to the final plate.
How it was done
I will start with the beans as this is exactly what I did. First up slice a couple of banana shallots, carrots, garlic (I did about 4 large cloves) and half a fennel bulb. Soften the shallots and carrots in oil before adding the garlic and fennel. I used a Le Creuset casserole for this on a fairly low heat. I then added some fresh chopped tomato, a few sprigs of thyme and then about a glass of red wine. Let the wine bubble away for a few minutes before adding in a carton of chopped tomatoes. Place this on a fairly low heat with the lid on so that it gentle bubbles away and leave for a good half hour. After half an hour add in your beans. I have used beans that are ready to roll so if you want to go for dried ones then cook before adding to the stew. Once the beans are added give it another half hour and let the liquid reduce down and thicken, remove the lid if necessary. Make sure you taste and season before serving. Easy.
The rest of the dish can be cooked whilst the beans are cooking. For the dressing chop up your basil and mint, use as much as you feel needed. Place the chopped herbs into a bowl and pour over a good amount of olive oil so that it has a good drizzling consistency. Add to this some chopped capers and a few chopped anchovy fillets and the juice of half a lemon. No salt is required in this as the capers and anchovies will take care of that. You can add some crushed garlic to this but I decided against it on this occasion. Taste your dressing, it should be fresh and herby but with a refreshing tartness to it. Job done.
For the lamb I just heated up my griddle pan till smoking. I poured oil over the meat and some sea salt before placing on the griddle. Do not move the lamb once on the griddle otherwise you ruin your nice lines. It will need about 4-5 minutes on each side, probably less but that depends on your preference and how hot your griddle is. I then popped them into a warm oven whilst I charred the leeks on the same griddle, I don’t need to tell you how to do that surely (don’t call me Shirley). Your lamb will need to rest briefly and you want it to be nice and pink on the inside which it should be.
The final plate
Now all the cooking is done it is time to plate up. You should be feeling pretty relaxed right now, this is not a meal that involves lots of rushing about. How you want to plate this is up to you, this is not my forte it has to be said. Beans on one side of the plate, lamb down the middle with the nice bones sticking up and then your leeks. Drizzle your dressing over the lamb only and maybe a little round the plate if you fancy a flourish. I didn’t. No fuss and nice and simple. I hope you agree that it looks pretty decent. The flavours here are good and classic but with the salsa verde just adding that something extra to lift the other elements of the dish. With the beans and the lamb you sort of get a winter meets spring thing going on which works well if you ask me. The charred leeks add some colour to the whole thing and their sweet and mildly peppery taste compliments the lamb well. Best of all I had one extra piece of lamb after plating up which I saved till the end so that I could eat it straight off the bone on its own. Perfect. I had this with a nice bottle of Pinot Noir from the good people at Como Sur. Not solely because it has a bicycle on the bottle, although this did sway me, but because I like their wines and pinot noir is great with lamb.
Hope you like the dish and the post. A nice return to some more traditional style food which is something that I really enjoy making. I have also made another little video below to go with this as well as I enjoyed the last one so much. I made this to go on my Instagram so if you like it please add me, there a link is on the main menu bar at the top or search foodboozeandreviews.
Happy eating all and thanks for reading and following my blog.