We had an incredible lunch this Sunday, the first day of the NEW YEAR! It was very simple but just perfect! Local grass Fed Organic Rack of Lamb, Braised Kale and Arancini (Italian Rice Balls).
Rack of Lamb
I pulled from the freezer the day before, 2 rack of lamb, from 2 lambs we purchased from a local farmer this past year. Cooking a rack of lamb is very simple. I used a cast iron pan, placed the racks in partialy standing up with both sets of ribs resting onto each other to hold them upright. Place the fat side of the lamb facing down towards the pan. (see the pictures) Generously salt the meat with kosher salt, add herbs de provence and I cut up a lemon and placed the wedges in the pan. Add a little water and a some wine to the pan. Cook in oven at a very high temp, 400 or 500 degrees, until about 140 degrees using a meat thermometer. Remove from oven, place on stove top and let rest for 10 – 15 minutes. The meat will continue cooking to perfection. When you cut the ribs, the lamb should be pink in color, or medium to medium rare.
We found a beautiful large head of local Kale, such a deep color green. After washing, cut thick stalks into small ½ inch pieces while extending the size of the pieces as you get leafier. The stalks are tough, but if you cut them small, they soften up easier and they don’t go to waste. I also added a few red peppers, thinly sliced. Vegetables went into a pot, add kosher salt and a small amount of water, but not much, especially if the kale is still wet from being washed. The water adds steam which helps cook or braise them. Separately in a bowl whisk together a fresh squeezed lemon and olive oil into an aioli. Once thick add 4 – 6 minced cloves of garlic. Whisk again and once kale is cooked to the tenderness of your liking, add the kale to this mixture and toss. The mixture does not get cooked. Ready to serve, it is delicious!
I had quite a bit of left over rice from the day before and arancini are a perfect use. Basically they are fried rice balls. You can use any rice you have, but in Italy they are typically Arborio rice. The rice I used was basmati. I mixed 3 eggs in a bowl then added about 2 cups of cooked rice. Using my hands I mixed all together. In a separate bowl I had flour and bread crumbs mixed, also pre heat a skillet, preferably cast iron with a ½ inch of olive oil. Roll the rice into balls the size of small meatballs then roll them in the bread crumb mixture and place them one at a time in the hot oil. Leave some space between each in the pan. You will need to keep rolling them in the pan every few minutes so all sides cook and get golden crunchy brown. When all sides are brown, remove and continue the process until all rice balls are cooked. Sprinkle with kosher salt and you have arancini ! Enjoy
We had a wine not so typical with this type of a meal, but I wanted to open this bottle and try it. It was a 2011 Joel Gott Cabernet. I typically prefer old world wines but this wine actually aged quite nicely, had some tannins and was smooth. It had started to lose its fruit, which made it pair nicely with the lamb. I had this wine stored for a few years. I don’t think this is a wine most would consider aging, but I did and it was a very good choice.