Fig-Mint of Colorado Lamb

4 Servings

  • 2 scraped Colorado racks of lamb; split, chine bone removed, bones scraped
  • salt and black pepper; freshly ground
  • 1 recipe of Fig-Mint Marinade (recipe follows)
  • 1 recipe of Gnocchi Romana (recipe follows)
  • 8 oz fresh English peas; removed from shell
  • 4 baby leeks; split, washed well, and cut into 1/4 dice
  • 1 recipe of Lamb Sauce (recipe follows)

Note: The lamb is best when marinated for three days. If there isn't time, I suggest cutting the rack of lamb into chops, tossing them with the marinade and grilling them instead.

Ingredients for Fig-Mint Marinade:
  • 1/2 lb dried figs
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 bunch Italian parsley
  • 1/4 bunch mint
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 T black pepper; freshly ground

Note: This recipe yields 3 1/2 cups which may be more than is needed for this recipe. The rest may be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks in an airtight container.

Ingredients for Gnocchi Romana:
  • 9 cups milk
  • 3 cups semolina flour
  • 3 tsp kosher salt
  • 8 oz butter; unsalted
  • 8 oz parmesan cheese; freshly grated
  • 3 ea eggs
  • 4 oz canola-extra virgin olive oil blend

Note: This recipe also makes more than what is needed for this preparation, but it is difficult to do in smaller batches. I suggest refrigerating what is left.

Ingredients for Lamb Sauce:
  • 4 oz canola oil
  • 8 lbs lamb bones
  • 6 qt cold water
  • 8 oz onions; peeled and rough cut
  • 4 oz carrots; peeled and rough cut
  • 8 oz garlic; split
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • small pinch salt
Preparation for the Lamb Sauce:
  1. Preheat oven to 425° F.
  2. Place bones in a large roasting pan and roast for about 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, and cook until a deep brown color.
  3. Transfer the bones to a stock pot and cover with cold water about 6" above the bones.
  4. Bring to a boil, lower to a strong simmer and skim the surface.
  5. Heat a large sauté pan or rondeau over medium high heat and add the canola oil.
  6. When smoking add the onions, carrots and garlic.
  7. Stirring occasionally, cook until the onions and garlic are golden brown.
  8. Add the tomato paste and stir constantly to coat the vegetables. Cook until the paste takes on a rusty brown color and gives off a sweet aroma.
  9. Add a couple ladles of the lamb stock and to release any fond.
  10. Add the thyme, stir, and combine together with the stock. Add a small pinch of salt.
  11. Continue simmering the stock while skimming occasionally for about 12 hours or until the stock has developed a rich flavor and has a "noticeable" body.
  12. Strain through a coarse strainer and then again through a fine chinois.
  13. Return the strained stock to the heat and reduce by about two-thirds while skimming frequently or until has reached the desired consistency. The sauce will be ready when it lightly coats the back of a spoon.
  14. Strain again through a fine chinois and keep warm.
Preparation for the Gnocchi Romana:
  1. Whisk together the milk, semolina, and 1 teaspoon salt in a heavy gauged sauce pan and bring to a boil over moderate heat while continuously whisking.
  2. Once the mixture has thickened, continue stirring with a wooden spoon until very stiff… about 5-8 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and the parmesan cheese.
  4. Once combined, add the eggs one at a time and incorporate completely before adding another.
  5. Adjust the seasoning.
  6. Line a half sheet pan with plastic wrap and pour the mixture over the top.
  7. Spread evenly, top with another piece of plastic wrap and lightly press down with another half sheet tray.
  8. Refrigerate until set, roughly 2-3 hours.
  9. Using a ring mold 2 ¾ inches in diameter cut out discs and coat with the semolina flour.
  10. Heat a non-stick sauté pan with the oil blend over medium high heat and add the gnocchi.
  11. Cook until golden on one side, flip and cook until golden on the other side.
  12. Transfer to a pan fitted with a wire rack and keep warm.
Preparation for the Fig-Mint Marinade and Lamb Racks
  1. Trim the stems of the dried figs and remove the majority of the stems from the mint and the parsley.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients and half of the water in a vita-mix blender and process until formed into a puree. Add the remaining water.
  3. Check the flavor. This marinade should have notes of sweetness, acidity from the vinegar and then a good dose of spice from the black pepper on the finish. Adjust to your liking.
  4. Place the lamb racks in a small and deep container with the bones up and cover with the marinade. Leave the bones clean.
  5. Allow to marinate for 2-3 days.
  6. Ignite a charcoal grill and preheat an oven to 400° F.
  7. Remove the lamb from the marinade and clean off any excess marinade.
  8. Wrap the bones of the lamb with aluminum foil and season liberally with salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
  9. Sear the lamb on all sides over the grill. Transfer to a pan fitted with a wire rack and cook for 15 minutes for medium rare.
  10. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes in a warm place.
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. In a small non-reactive sauté pan or sautoir, add a small amount of butter and add the diced baby leeks and a pinch of salt. Cook gently over a medium low heat.
  3. Add the fresh peas to the boiling water and cook over high heat for about five minutes until tender.
  4. Remove from the water and add to the leeks.
  5. Add a small amount of the lamb sauce to coat the vegetables.
  6. On a heated plate, spoon the peas and the leeks onto the center of the dish.
  7. Remove the aluminum foil from the lamb and remove the meat from the bones using the rib bones as a guide for the knife.
  8. Divide the ribs in half and place atop the peas with the bones facing up.
  9. Top with two pieces of the gnocchi Romana.
  10. Slice the lamb in half and balance atop the gnocchi.
  11. Pour the desired amount of the lamb sauce around the plate and if desired dot with additional fig-mint marinade and serve.
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