Thursday, February 11, 2010

Honey Mint Lamb Chops

I recently bought myself a meat thermometer, and now I am a nonstop meat cooking machine! Before I bought a meat thermometer, I would butcher my meat by over cooking them ALWAYS. Well, not anymore! Okay, to be really honest, I've only used my meat thermometer once, and I'm not really a fan of poking my meat, BUT I have learned how to cook meat properly, so come along and follow me.

This, my friend, is a rack of lamb at $12/lb. According to the label, it's a French rack imported from New Zealand, whatever that means. This cost me almost $14, so you do the math on how much that weighs. First, you must get your meat to room temperature, which can take up to two hours!!! Okay, why do I have to get it to room temperature? Because if you don't then when you cook it, the middle will still be cold when the outside of the meat is already done, and you'll char your meat trying to get the middle warm. See, you're already learning!

To speed up the process, I put my meat on the stove top, which is warm because I have a gas stove. I put an herb rub on it consisting of dried thyme, rosemary, and parsley. Do not put salt on it at this time! Why? Because the salt draws out moisture, and if you put salt on it now, your meat will be dry. That's why. Meanwhile the meat is getting ready, I'll prepare my sides.

Roughly cube up some small red potatoes and put them in a pot to boil. Also, cut up a cup of eggplant as well (not pictured). While you're still a food-prep slave, mince some mint leaves. Now... cut up some fresh parsley too. Um.. maybe smash a clove of garlic while you're still at the cutting board. Are we done with food prep yet? Maybe.

Bring your potatoes to a boil and check to see when they get soft. While you are boiling your potatoes, you should be cooking your meat, which I will show you a little further down the post.

Drain your potatoes and put them back on the heat, making sure not to burn your potatoes! Add in your milk, salt, and butter! Now MASH MASH MASH! I liked my potatoes with a little lump to it, but if I didn't, image the work out I'd be getting. (A little side story here: I don't have an electric mixer, and the other night, I whipped egg whites TO A PEAK! BY HAND! SHIT WAS CRAZY!)

Add some fresh parsley to your mashed potatoes, and now they're done!

Now as I was saying, while your potatoes were boiling, you should have been cooking your meat! So you want to get your pan REALLY REALLY hot (and melt some butter to oil it up too). But why, sensai? Because I said so. Also because you want to sear your meat so the thin layer of cooked meat acts like a barrier and keep your meat juicy. (You may also want to cut your rack in half, which is about four ribs so it can cook thoroughly). Oh, now you can add salt. Don't touch the meat once it hits the sizzling hot pan and make sure you close the lid! Don't worry, it won't burn. You want to put your lid on so that the heat can surround the meat more and cook it more evenly. You don't have to poke or turn or fuss with your meat. Just let it cook. The worst thing to do is to poke holes in your meat because that lets the juices out. So cook your racks of lamb for 4 minutes on one side. Then turn it (and put salt and pepper on this side too) and recover. Cook the meat, unharrassed, for another 4 minutes. Now take the meat off of the sizzling hot pan and onto a dish.

You want to allow about 8-10 minutes for your meat to just sit. WHY?! I'm so tired of your questions! It's because if you cut into your meat now, all the juices are going to run out. If you allow it to sit, the juice gets redistributed throughout your meat. It's like injecting it with juice! So, I don't want my meat to get cold while it's sitting, so I place my plate on top of the pot I was cooking it on. Now, I was really sneaky and poured some chicken broth into the pot to get all my lamb juice/flavor, and this will become my sauce. Make a little foil tent on top of your meat to help keep the heat in too.

So at the beginning of your meat resting period was when you were mashing the potatoes. That is, if you had perfect timing like me. So right before you mash your potatoes, you would have had another little pot on the stove heating up the clove of garlic you smashed earlier. When it gets soft, add in your cup of eggplants and some chicken broth. When the eggplants get soft, throw in 1/4 of a large banana. Now cook everything until it gets soft.

After everything has been cooked, throw this stuff into a blender and pulse it until it's pasty. I transfered the stuff back into the little pot to make sure it keeps warm.

Okay, we're almost done! It's finally time for the sauce! In the same pot that you cooked your lamb in, you have the chicken broth that you sneakily poured in. Now throw in your minced mint and some honey. Since the pot is warm, your honey should thin out/melt, and you should be able to get a pretty nice mix going. That's it! That's the sauce!

Now, place your eggplant mixture onto the plate and top with your lamb chops. Then pour the sauce, and add the mashed potatoes. Everything should be piping hot because you timed everything perfectly!

So, I didn't follow any recipes, and I made all this up myself. As a disclaimer, my eggplant mixture didn't jive too well. I wish I had plantains! I think they would have worked much better. I also loved my honey mint sauce. It was delicious. And all this could be yours for roughly... $18, and it serves two! So it'll be great to make if you're a little short on cash (say for Valentine's Day) but you still want to look classy to your date. According to the Chopping Block, it's like a 5-star restaurant up in my apartment, but I guess she must have missed my dirty dirty stove.

(I'll post up my ingredients when I get a chance... I guess)

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