This post for Gordon Ramsay Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb first appeared on our previous blog: OurCulinaryAdventures.net in April, 2013.
In Season 1, Episode 1 of Gordon Ramsay’s UK show, “The F Word”, he shows us all how easy it is to make Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb. Of course he makes it look easy. He makes everything look easy! See for yourself:
See what I mean? Gordon Ramsay makes cooking look so effortless.
I don’t have an oven safe skillet like he uses, so I will have to modify slightly. I will spray one of my baking pans with olive oil and put it in the oven at 400 F degrees and after they are seared (I’m cooking four servings) I’ll transfer them into the pan in the oven for their allotted time. I hope that will work. I can’t think of a better solution without buying a new pan – something we really don’t have the money for.
I do have a blender, thankfully. I don’t have a food processor, though – and wonder how long it will take before that becomes a problem. I’ll have to start pricing them.
I have the items on my grocery list I need for this:
stale bread for crumbs
fresh Parmesan cheese
I have olive oil already. I have most of those seasonings dry, not fresh. Thinking that I need to start learning about herb gardening soon.
I grew up in New Mexico, near the Navajo Reservation. I grew up eating wonderfully delicious mutton (sheep) – usually in the form of mutton stew – and Indian Fry Bread. If I ever had lamb, I don’t really remember it. After moving away from New Mexico, lamb went firmly in my “do not eat” folder – right alongside veal. For some reason, I believed that lambs were kept locked away in the dark too, like veal, and I find that very cruel and refuse to fund the industry of it. It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve learned that the vast majority of lamb lives free and happy in the sun, eating grass like they are supposed to. The meat is also very healthy for you. Since then, I’ve wanted to try some lamb, but the right opportunity has not really presented itself – until now. How very exciting!
When we decided to launch this blog, it started with a conversation. My husband, Jeff, and I were watching Hell’s Kitchen and talking about how it really is like a high pressure cooking school – and how lucky the contestants are to be on there, whether or not they win. How it’s one of those one-of-a-kind of experiences few get, and how much we’d love the chance to learn from Gordon Ramsay.
It didn’t take long before we were on the Internet, looking for Gordon Ramsay cookbooks and wondering what kind of book we’d want to start with. It was then that we happened upon “Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course” and even though the book was not available directly through Amazon, we were able to get it easily through a third-party vendor. This book is fantastic, in my opinion, and we’ve barely scratched the surface of it. We feel truly excited at the prospect of working our way through the recipes and tasting all that fantastic food.
For our first project/meal, we chose to make Gordon Ramsay Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb, his recipe of Potatoes Boulangere, my own recipe of oven-roasted zucchini and yellow squash, and…for dessert…Gordon’s Bread and Butter Pudding. The Bread and Butter Pudding is the only recipe coming from the Ultimate Cookery Course this time around. I’ve been aching to make his Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb ever since I caught Season 1, Episode 1 of Gordon Ramsay’s UK show, “The F Word” on Hulu and watched him make it. That’s when I learned about the potatoes Boulangere too.
Yesterday, Jeff and I went shopping for the ingredients after he got off work. Well, for everything but the lamb, which we found a few days ago for an outrageously awesome price at Sam’s Club. We ran into a few challenges – having to settle for ground and powdery coriander rather than fresh, for instance, but for the most part, we found everything we needed. In total, we spent about $145. Here’s what $145 worth of ingredients for a rack of lamb dinner in Missouri looks like:
Not bad, really – especially when you take into consideration a few other facts not yet in evidence at the beginning of the day.
We got started with our preparations around 1 pm today, with stars in our eyes and palpitations in our hearts. Our game plan was to basically do the cutting up we needed to do – and then go from there. I got started on the yellow squash…
…followed by the zucchini…
…and once they were all chopped up I tossed them together in a 9 x 13 pan that I sprayed with olive oil first. I then sprayed the veggies with olive oil. I use a Misto sprayer for olive oil, by the way. This thing is awesome. You pump the top of it and it sprays using compressed air. I used to buy spray oil until I found out about this. It’s nice to get your oil without the propellants, you know?
After spraying the veggies down with olive oil (not drenching them – light spray), I seasoned them with Adobo Seasoning. (Seriously, I love Adobo. Try sprinkling it on almost anything savory – yum!) Then we set the veggies aside, covered, and moved on to the potatoes.
My honey took care of the garlic and onions. He taught me a neat trick when it comes to peeling garlic too. Of course, many of you may know it…and cool if you do. I admit I have not worked with whole garlic much, and when I did, well…peeling was sometimes a rather painstaking chore. Anyway, my clever hubby showed me the error of my ways. You just take your common little unsuspecting clove of garlic…
…and…see how it just sits there looking so innocent. It has no idea what is in store for it. Then he takes a large knife and lays it flat across the garlic and just kind of gives it a WHACK! and the clove is crushed right out of it’s peel. Such violence. I’m sorry I didn’t get a picture of said crushing. It was really very violent and…well…disturbingly tasty.
(Jeff: This was not as horrifying as it sounds. I have never found garlic to be all that innocent, so whacking it a good shot felt pretty good….almost cathartic! I am not ashamed to admit that I did weep for the onions. (sniff) )
I can, however, share how delicious the onions and garlic looked after he got them all cut up for the taters…
…and here are the taters I was busily cutting up.
After that, my honey sauteed the onions and chopped garlic while I continued to cut potatoes. You can see those potatoes aren’t very big. Klondike Gourmet is what we ended up with – not Desiree – but they had red skin and yellow flesh and were available in our store so we called it good. I left the skins on for the color and nutrition. And…I simply didn’t feel like peeling 150 little tiny potatoes. Okay…more like 110. Or…maybe 20. But more nutritious and colorful….YAY!
So he sauteed the onions and garlic as it went from this…
… to this…
…and filled the house with all kinds of delicious smells in the process. Ahh…but that was only the beginning of the amazing smells awaiting us!
So, then it was time to layer the potatoes and onions in a pan together, which my honey handled. Then we put chicken stock in a pan, along with sprigs of thyme and rosemary (oh…how I adore the smell of fresh rosemary!!) and three crushed garlic cloves (I screamed “Towanda!!” first before each smack down) and when that simmered – all kinds of wonderfulness filled the air.
(Jeff: If you didn’t get the “Towanda” reference, you absolutely have to watch “Fried Green Tomatoes”. Seriously, how have you missed it?)
While that was simmering away, my honey threw bread crumbs, thyme, rosemary, coriander, fresh grated Parmesan cheese, and a little olive oil into the blender. This was to be pretty much the virgin voyage for our blender – a sweet and pretty little thing from Proctor Silex that we bought a few months ago and never really used. And that’s when we found out that our blender flippin’ SUCKS! It didn’t move even one bread crumb. Even the herbs by themselves proved to be too much for it’s puny butt. We ended up slicing up the herbs as finely as we could, considering our dire lack of truly worthwhile cutlery. We chopped them and mixed them and ended up with herb crust that looked like this:
…as opposed to that wonderful GREEN that Gordon Ramsay achieved with his mix in the video. We tried and tried to make it happen, but that was pretty much the best we got it. We finally decided that if that was the worst thing that went wrong, we were doing pretty good. So we got on with things…
(Jeff: As my beautiful bride has mentioned, apparently our blender was not up to the task of handling the spices and bread crumb mixture. Blender, meet the thrift store!)
I cut up the racks into threes. We found out after we opened the first package that what we thought were packages of 8 or so ribs were actually double packages. We bought three and I only cut up two (with two small pieces of two ribs each left over) so I will definitely make at least one more serving of this recipe before cutting up the remaining lamb to use in Lamb and Lentil Stew (a delicious sounding recipe I found online and will share when I make it). My honey will be taking lamb leftovers to work for lunch tomorrow and so will my daughter. (So, the “price per meal” figure is getting better and better all the time!) Here is a bowl of racks of three lamb medallions for you to enjoy:
Look how lean and beautiful that is. Man, it just looks good. But, before we go on with that…I almost forgot…we got the bread pudding together first!
So, like, pretend we haven’t cut up our meat yet. Pretend we just finished layering our potatoes and have that simmering broth smell in our nose. That’s when we put the bread and butter pudding together. We got our lovely, semi-stale Italian bread and cut it into slices that we buttered and stacked in a bowl, like so:
Over that we poured a wonderful mixture of whole milk, cream, eggs, cinnamon, and vanilla beans scraped straight out of two vanilla pods (an experience that was both really cool, and kinda messy. Man, that stuff is sticky!)
We got a 9 x 9 pan and our daughter buttered it for us. Into that we sprinkled cinnamon, some melted down apricot jam, and golden raisins:
We poured a lot of the milk mixture over the bread to let it soak a little, then transferred the bread to the pan and poured the rest of the milk mixture on it, pressing the bread to make it soak up more. One last sprinkle of cinnamon on top and it looked like this:
That’s when things kicked into high gear! Well – okay – not quite. That’s when my honey and I sat our butts down, assessed what we’d accomplished, and acknowledged that the truly butt-kicking part of the day was set to begin. Our time as “prep cooks” was done. It was time to serve our first meal in our own personal “Hell’s Kitchen” to a demanding table of four and…
…okay, perhaps that’s a little melodramatic. But really…we were kind of nervous. At least, my honey was. Me, I was feeling kind of Zen. Okay, not quite Zen, but, you know, not stressed? Perhaps fatalistic? Obtuse? Full of blind faith? I don’t know. I just kinda thought we were awesome, smart, careful, and we’d be okay.
So, my hubby got the pan nice and hot while I scored the fat backs of our little racks and salted and peppered them on a plate, smearing them around in a way to make Chef Ramsay proud, then stacking them so they were within easy reach of my honey, like so:
When the pan was hot, he put in some olive oil and got busy with the searing.
(Jeff: We had only one “Smoke Alarm” moment! While searing the lamb, the oil over-heated and TWEET!!!!!! Smoke Alarm, meet the thrift store! (just kidding) )
We got everything nice and brown and smelling good. We transferred them to a baking pan and into the oven to cook and sat, smelling the wonderful smells of the potatoes, veggies, and meat, all happily in the oven together. (Humankind could take a lesson from them!) When the timer went off, we breaded our lovely lamb racks…
…and threw them back in the oven for a few more minutes. They came out looking like this:
We plated everyone up and here is our best “Presentation” to share with you:
In retrospect, maybe a different vegetable choice would have been better. It seemed like there was a lot of the same color on that plate and I imagine that Chef would tell us to piss off after seeing it. But…
…that lamb was just about the most amazing thing any of us have eaten in a long time, if ever. It was melt in your mouth tender and delicious. Everything was SO GOOD. I was truly blown away. Everyone loved their meal very much and most of us had seconds.
(Jeff: My first bite of lamb and I was in ecstasy. I waited until Mystic took her first bite, and, sure enough, she had the same look on her face that I did.)
While we feasted…dessert cooked. Then…it was done…as desserts are wont to do…
…and, well…it was just about the best bread pudding I’ve ever tasted. “Nuff said…I’m exhausted! And full. I’d like to think that Gordon Ramsay would be proud of us!