Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lamb rack with Pumpkin and Cinnamon puree, Honey roasted Shallots, Beetroot stack and Minted peas.

In honor of the latest lot of lamb recipes in the Masterchef kitchen it's thyme to rack up some sweet ideas for a shallot of recipes that even a beetroot would be minted at, before we all turn into pumpkins.

Hopefully this dish I decided to create won't be as confused as that sentence.

I love Sunday dinner.  Generally by Sunday you've had your fun, done your chores, pretended to do something manly, and have a few hours spare to put some real effort into the kitchen.

During the week it had dawned on me that I had never, ever, cooked a lamb rack.  I'd eaten lamb rack.  I'd enjoyed lamb rack.  I possibly even dreamed about lamb rack.  But I'd never cooked lamb rack.  Such an anomaly could not be allowed to fester so it was with great delight that I decided this Sunday I would break that duck.....or lamb as it may be.

The lamb rack comes from the mid section of the lamb called the loin, and it has some of the tenderest meat you can find, across all the animals.  Most butchers will sell it already french trimmed, which means the fat that covers the top 2-3 inches of the bones has been removed.  If you want to be a perfectionist you'll need to tidy it up a bit more.  Just use a small knife running it along the bones to remove any little bits of sinew or meat, exposing the bone.  This will result in the cooked rack looking tidy and ready for a Michelin star kitchen!

Don't be put off by the many components here.  It really is a very simple dish to put together, and can be ready in just over an hour.


300g Lamb Rack, French Trimmed.
4 sprigs of thyme
2 garlic cloves

400g Pumpkin
1 small Potato
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
30g Butter
100ml cream

12 Shallots
1Tbsp Honey

Handful of Mint
2 tsp White Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp caster Sugar
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Large Beetroot

1/2 cup frozen peas


  • Preheat oven to 180 Celsius
  • The first step is to get the beetroot ready.  Cut any excess stalk from the beetroot, but make sure you leave at least an inch on as you don't want to puncture the flesh, or it will bleed out all it's flavor when cooking.  Place in enough tin foil to cover and then drizzle on some olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Wrap tightly in the tin foil and place into a hot oven, cooking for just over an hour.
  • Next we will make the Mint oil.  Finely chop all the mint and place in a mortar and pestle with the sugar and balsamic vinegar.  Mash the mixture up with the pestle and slowly drizzle in the olive oil.  Leave the mixture to infuse while you make the rest of the dish.
  • To make the Pumpkin Puree we are going to Roast the pumpkin, as if we boiled it it might become a bit wet for the puree.  Cut the pumpkin into large chunks and place in a roasting tray.  Drizzle over some olive oil and season, then put in the oven for 45 minutes or until tender.
  • When the Pumpkin has been cooking for about 30 minutes put the potato into some boiling salted water and cook until tender, between 15-20 minutes.
  • Peel the shallots and place them in a small oven proof dish.  Coat in Olive Oil and season.  Place in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the shallots.  Remove from the oven and then drizzle over the honey, coating the shallots liberally.  Place back in the oven for 5 minutes so that the shallots get a nice sticky sweet glaze from the honey.
  • Take your lamb rack and cut it so that each piece has three ribs.  We're going to cover the exposed bones individually, with tin foil.  This will prevent the bones from getting burnt while the meat is cooking.  Cut a garlic clove in half and crush it gently with the side of a knife to get the oils going.  Rub the garlic clove, cut side down, all over the lamb rack.  Season the meat liberally with salt and pepper.
  • Heat 1Tbsp Olive oil in an oven proof frying pan on medium-high heat.  Place two cloves of crushed garlic and the bruised thyme sprigs (bruise them by crushing with your knife handle) into the pan to flavor the oil.  Sear the Lamb rack on all sides.  The idea is to give the meat color, but not cook it through.  It should take only a minute on each side if the pan is hot enough.
  • Place the seared meat into the oven and continue cooking for a further 10-15 minutes, depending on how rare you like your meat.  10 for rare 15 for medium.  Well done?  You shouldn't be ordering such succulent meat if you're going to cook it so much.  Go for the chicken.  Well done chicken is good.  Once the lamb is cooked, remove from the oven, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 8 minutes.
  • Take the Pumpkin out of the oven, remove any skin.  Combine with the drained Potatoes, Cinnamon, Butter and Cream then mash until it is as smooth as you can get it.  To ensure we get a super silky finish we want to then push the mixture through a sieve with the back of a spoon, back into the saucepan.  Heat the mixture through and add more cream if necessary to get a puree that is slightly wetter than mash, but not so wet that it dribbles on the plate.  Season with salt and pepper.  A little hint, mash and purees usually need a lot more salt than you would expect.  Just season and taste, season and taste, until you are happy.  You can always add more salt, but you can never take it away!
  • Cook the peas in the microwave or stove top according to the packet instructions.
  • When the Beetroot is cooked remove from the oven unwrap from the tinfoil and leave to cool for a few minutes.  Peel the skin of the beetroot with a knife.  Note, this will stain your hands so wear gloves if you can, or use paper towels as I do.  Cut the beetroot into small cubes, about 2x2 cm.


Take a good dollop of the pumpkin and place it on the plate.  Place the Lamb rack on top.   Stack the beetroot cubes into a perfect pyramid and then dot around the plate the honey glazed shallots.  Finish by drizzling the mint oil here and there and throwing a few peas at it.


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