For a while there I was pretty sure I didn’t like lamb. Not for any particular reason really, not that I had realistically tried a lot of lamb. I was just pretty sure it wasn’t for me. And really when you think about you don’t meet a lot of people who openly proclaim their love for lamb. Never once has anyone said that lamb was his or her favorite food. And I actually ask people what their favorite foods are, because I like food, OK. Basically I kind of just skipped over lamb. Until one day my friend and I were looking through a cookbook, looking for dinner inspiration and decided that we were going to give lamb another shot (she, like me, also had an inexplicable aversion to lamb). And it was SO GOOD.
This is not that recipe. Sorry, I will share that at some point I promise. But until then this is what I made. And don’t worry this one is good too. If you are like me and have a mysterious antipathy to lamb, give it another shot. This one will convert you too. And then you too can share the story of your lamb awakening.
I realize that it might seems like kind of a let down after all the build up for this to not be the recipe that originally converted me to a lamb lover. But I promise this one would have been the come to Jesus moment, if only I had had it first. And this recipe with the velvety sauce and the lushly rich mashed potatoes will not disappoint. And with this Syrah, much like gum, would be perfection. There are many different variations of Syrah depending on what wine region they are coming from. The wine that I choose for this dish was a little bit older California Syrah with light oak aging, a little smoke and a hit of pepper. My wine was 100% Syrah but you could also go with a syrah based blend, just try to lean more towards a Rhone style blend rather than say an Australian inspired blend which tends to have some Cabernet Sauvignon and more jammy, berry heavy flavors. For this dish you definitely want that little bit of pepper to help cut through some of the richness of the mashed potatoes and the sauce. And more importantly you definitely want a syrah with a little bit of funk. One of my favorite descriptors for Syrah is hambone. Which might sound weird, but believe me, when you smell that you’ll know there is pretty much nothing else it could be. Lamb too can be a little gamey so it matches perfectly with that little bit of funky, meatiness that some Syrah can have. Because of that Syrah also pairs well with more pungent cheese which is why the goat cheese in the mashed potatoes kind of brings this dish full circle.
Adapted from The New Wine Country Cookbook
- For the Lamb Chops:
- 40 scallions, trimmed of roots and any limp leaves; White and green parts separated
- 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves and tender stems only
- 1 ½ cups medium-dry white wine
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- ⅔ cups whole milk
- 12 lamb rib chops. 1 to 1¼ inches thick, ideally with bones frenched.
- For the Potatoes:
- 4 medium russet potatoes (about 2 pounds)
- ½ to ¾ cup whole milk
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 10 ounces goat cheese, softened and cut into 6 pieces
- For the Potatoes:
- Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the quartered potatoes and cook, uncovered, for about 20 minutes until they are fork tender. Turn the heat to very low and pull the potatoes out of the water and run through a ricer. Place a double boiler or bowl over the water that you used to cook the potatoes, making sure that the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Add the potatoes, ½ cup of milk, butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir together until smooth and then add in the cheese and stir again until incorporated. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed and serve.
- For the Lamb Chops:
- In a pot of rapidly boiling salted water, blanch the scallion greens and parsley for 1 minute. Drain and rise thoroughly with cool water to stop the cooking process. Drain well and spread on paper towels to dry.
- Finely chop the whites of the scallions and combine them with the wine in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until the liquid has reduced by half, about 10 to 15 min. Stir in the cream and decrease the heat to low and continue to simmer until reduced by half again. Add the blanched greens and milk to the pot and blend with an immersion blender until very smooth and bright green. (Note: the original recipe has you blend everything together in a blender. My blender was not up the task at all, plus this way there is one less thing to wash at the end of the meal. However, if you would like to go that way make sure that you cool the cream mixture for about 10 to 15 minutes before you add it to a blender.)
- Transfer the green mixture to a double boiler over hot water. Stir in ½ tsp salt and a good pinch of black pepper. Cover and set aside for no more than 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat a grill pan over superhigh heat. Pat the chops dry and season thoroughly with salt and pepper on both sides. Sear the lamb chops for about 2 minuets on each side. This will result in rare lamb chops so if you want them a little more well done leave them just a little bit longer. Let them rest on a warm platter for 2 minutes before serving.
- To serve divide the sauce among the bowls or plates and place the lamb chops on top. Serve with the goat cheese mashed potatoes and some crusty bread to help soak up the extra sauce.