So there are definitely times when a recipe comes along and you just gotta try it out! Yesterday was one of those days. In fact it was a perfect day to do some fantastic, intricate and fairly technical bit of cooking. It was a rainy tropical day, the kids were exhausted after pre-Halloween partying and well I was restless and needed to create something special. The challenge? Rack of lamb with a pine nut and roasted grape gremolata.
What a recipe! Now, it’s not for the fainthearted and requires a bit of work but the result is more than worth it. So here’s what you’ll need to do.
Stage 1 – the Sauce:
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups of red wine (I used a Jacob’s Creek Cabernet Sauvignon + 1 cup for me!)
225 g of seedless red grapes
2.5 cups of beef broth (I used all the broth I made from the t-bone steaks we had about 2 weeks ago….)
2.5 cups of chicken broth
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium high heat and once hot, add the onions and the garlic. sauté them until soft (about 4 minutes) then add the wine and grapes. Simmer the mixture for 30 minutes (stirring occasionally) until the mixture has lost most of it’s liquid. Then add the two broths and increase the heat to get it all up to a boil and now let it go for about 40 minutes, or until you’ve got just about 2 cups worth left. Now, strain the liquid through a sieve and extract as much liquid as you can. Give it a good pressing and now season the sauce with a bit of salt and pepper. Go easy on the salt as the broth will already have plenty but give it a good whack of pepper. Cover the sauce and plonk it in the fridge.
Stage 2 – the Gremolata (which you can start at the same time as you do the sauce…it’ll save you some time but if you’re in a pinch you can make the sauce up to three days in advance!)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup white grape juice
1/4 cup white sugar
225 g of red seedless grapes
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1.5 tbsp italian parsley, chopped
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1.5 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Over medium heat, take your apple cider vinegar, white grape juice and sugar and brink it to a boil in a small saucepan. Boil it until it reduces to about 1/4 cup. It’ll become a lovely sticky syrup. This should take you about 6-10 minutes in total. Pour the syrup into a medium sized bowl and let it cool. Now preheat your oven to 250F (121C) with the convection fan on. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminium foil and scatter the grapes on the sheet. Place into the oven and roast until they reduce to about half their original size. This should take you just under 2 hours. Let them cool on the sheet and set them aside. The intensity of flavour is incredible at this point. The grapes become sweeter and so much more flavourful. What a wonderful result!
Once cooled off, stir the grapes into the syrup then add your roasted pine nuts, lemon zest, mint, parsley, olive oil and garlic. Toss it all to blend nicely and not set it aside at room temperature for about an hour.
Stage 3 – The Lamb (finally!)
500-600 g rack of lamb, thawed if frozen
Freshly ground black pepper
Curry powder (for seasoning) and what an addition this was….I’ll do this again for any lamb rub!
Set up your grill for direct heat and stabilise your temperature at about 350-400F (dome temperature.) Make sure the flames have died down a wee bit so as not to burn your lamb when you put it on a well oiled grid. Now make sure you’ve got an internal thermometer inserted into your lamb rack and in about 20 minutes you’ll be done. Flip the rack ever five minutes onto a hot spot on your grid to get a crunchy crust going. Now shoot for an internal temperature of 135F for a perfect medium doneness. (I’ve been grilling a little more on the rare side recently and Heather really enjoyed the lamb at a medium last night!)
Let your lamb rest for about 8 minutes and you’ll see the temperature rise a bit further. No need to tent it with foil as that’ll just ruin that beautiful crusty bark you’ve managed to perfect. Slice the lamb between the ribs and drizzle the sauce you’ve prepped earlier. Add a good helping of the gremolata and then add a watermelon feta salad along with honey roasted sweet potatoes.
Honestly, this was the BEST lamb rack we’ve done in a long while! Worth every second of the 4-5 hours of preparation. Big smiles from the family tonight!!!!
Overall Heather Rating: 10/10
PS – Brett Queen/David Appleton/Paul Cooper & Val Zarda – TRY THIS RECIPE!