Monday, February 15, 2016

Lamb Chops with Cherry Port Sauce and Celery Root Leek Purée (and Scotch Vanilla Ice Cream)

couldn't think of anything romantic to cook this Valentine's Day! I had stumbled across a recipe for vanilla ice cream, and since that's Dave's favorite I decided to unearth the old electric ice cream maker from 1985. But for the main course? Dave picked lamb, and I came up with the cherry-port sauce to give it some sweet V-day flavor ;) Kinda risky to do two, never-before-tried recipes for a special dinner, but luckily everything turned out even better than I hoped for! Enjoy!

1 tbs olive oil
1 frenched rack of lamb
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 cup port or sweet red wine
2 cups frozen cherries, defrosted
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbs chopped mint

2 celery roots, peeled and chopped
1 leek, chopped
2 cups milk (1% ok)
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth, as needed
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste

In a pot, bring the milk to a simmer. Peel and chop the celery root and add to the pot. Chop the leek and submerge the pieces in water to remove all grit. Add leeks to the pot and if needed add broth to cover. Bring to a low boil and then simmer until vegetables are very soft, about 15 minutes. Drain the vegetables over a bowl (reserving the cooking liquid) and add the vegetables to a blender or food processor with the heavy cream. Blend until smooth, adding the reserved cooking liquid if needed until desired texture is reached. Taste for seasoning and when satisfied return to the hot pot to keep warm.

While vegetables are cooking, cut the rack of lamb into pan chops. Slice from top to bottom alongside the bone. Salt and pepper both side of the chops generously and set aside until ready to cook. Defrost the cherries in a bowl (a couple minutes in the microwave if needed) and chop the shallots finely.

Heat a large pan with olive oil. Add the pan chops and sear 4-5 minutes on each side. When browned, remove to a plate and keep warm. To the hot pan add the shallots, port, cherries and their juice. Cook five minutes, then add chops and any juices back to the pan. Coat chops in the sauce and continue cooking until meat is cooked through and sauce is thick.

To serve, place a serving of celery root purée on each plate, followed by two or three lamb chops. Finish with sauce and chopped mint.

Scotch Vanilla Ice Cream
(Recipe adapted from here)

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 sugar (I use raw turbinado sugar, finely ground in my Nutribullet)
1 tbs vanilla (vanilla bean also would be great)
4 tbs Glenlivet 12, or your favorite scotch

Whisk together ingredients, then put in the refrigerator to chill for several hours.

Add to ice cream maker following manufacturer's instructions. When ice cream is ready, freeze until ready to serve.