Gordon Hamersley's Seared Rack of Lamb
The paste may be made in advance and refrigerated with cling film pressed to the surface to avoid drying out.
For 27 years, Gordon Hamersley and his wife Fiona welcomed guests to their Boston institution, Hamersley’s Bistro. Their roast chicken (who orders chicken when fine dining?) has a cult following, but it is this lamb dish plate that was the darling of the menu. Gordon Hamersley retired and this South End gem closed its doors forever in October 2014. Although this recipe is from his out of print cookbook, Bistro Cooking at Home, you may be able to find a copy on the Internet. When Gordon Hamersley announced he was closing his beloved South End restaurant, the book immediately sold for about $200 online. Today, you can find a used copy at a much more reasonable price. This elegant and exotic preparation has a reputation for changing the minds of lamb eating skeptics.
1 ancho chile, stem and seeds removed
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons curry powder
12 dates, pitted and chopped
4 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
Two 7 or 8 bone lamb racks, frenched
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted & chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Whole mint leaves for garnish
1. Soak the chile in hot water until softened, about 15 minutes. Chop the chile coarsely. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a SAUTÉ PAN over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the curry powder. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is browned, about 20 minutes.
2. Put the onion, ancho chile, dates, and sherry vinegar in the bowl of a food processor and process until a paste forms. Transfer the paste to a bowl, mix in the almonds and the chopped mint, and season with salt and pepper.
3. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Season the lamb all over with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Brown the lamb, one rack at a time, meat side down first. Turn and brown the other side. Remove the lamb from the pan, but do not clean the pan.
4. Allow the lamb to cool for a few minutes. Set aside ¼ cup of the chile-date mixture. Spread a thin layer of the chile-date on the meat side of each rack of lamb.
5. Arrange the lamb in a ROASTING PAN, preferably one with a rack, with the chile-date mixture facing up. Roast the lamb until a meat thermometer registers 130 degrees for medium rare (15 to 20 minutes). Remove the lamb to a cutting board, cover loosely with foil, and allow the meat to rest for 5 minutes.
6. Pour off any excess fat from the sauté pan. Add the chicken broth to the pan and cook over high heat, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, until the broth is reduced by half. Add the reserved 1/4 cup chili-date mixture to the sauce and whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Slice the lamb rack into one or two bone chops, and serve 3 to 4 chops per person. If you cut the chops apart, be careful not to let too much of the date crust fall off the meat. Spoon some of the sauce around the chops and garnish with whole mint leaves.