Some dishes are almost treasured in our house. The ones that are not prepared on a daily basis but once a year, at special occasions. They require specific preparations far in advance, such as ordering the meats from the farmers market or ritualistically making parts of the recipe weeks or days ahead, and they help to define a season or occasion. One of those is this rack of lamb. I make this only during the spring (usually at Easter) so understandably it's also a favorite. However, this is the first time that I have served it with this delicious (emphasis on delicious) fig and red wine sauce. Like most special recipes, this one take a bit of time and effort but is absolutely worth it.
For the rack of lamb
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
For the sauce
1 shallot, minced
1 cup dried mission figs, coarsely chopped
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 sprig of fresh thyme
2 tbsp honey
salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Mix the chopped herbs together; set aside.
3. Rub the rack of lamb with one tablespoon of olive oil and season evenly with salt and pepper.
4. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. Sear the rack of lamb, beginning with the fatty side, on all sides for about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a baking dish and paste with dijon mustard. (Save any leftoever oil and drippings to make the fig sauce). Then, gently coat the top of the rack with the herb mixture. Place in the oven, and roast until it reaches an internal temperature of 125 degrees F.
5. Let the lamb rest for about 5 minutes before cutting it into individual chops. Serve with fig and red wine sauce.
Fig and Red wine sauce:
1. Heat the leftover oil (used to sear the lamb) over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until softened.
2. Add the chopped figs to the pot and cook an additional two minutes. Pour in the red wine, stirring well. Once the wine has stopped sizzling, add the stock, fresh herbs and honey. Cover the pot, lower the heat, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until the figs have softened significantly. Remove from the heat.
3. Discard the sprigs of rosemary and thyme. Pour the sauce into a blender and carefully blend until smooth.