Roast Baby Lamb with Ragout of Artichokes, Oven-dried Tomatoes, and Basil ►
Chef Craig Shelton has created a fine inn in a 200-year-old farmhouse in the very shadow of New York City, a culinary destination which openly claims “the art of fine dining begins in our garden.” At this Relais et Chateaux inn, Chef Shelton prepares this tour de force with lamb, preparing half a baby lamb — all the sections — with an accompaniment of sauteed and braised vegetables. While he does his own butchering, you will want to ask your butcher to divide the lamb into its component parts before you tackle this recipe. Note that the tomatoes are dried overnight; start a day ahead.
- Olive Oil - for coating
- Tomatoes - 3 ripe
- Thyme - 1 bunch, fresh, chopped
- Coriander Seed - 1 tablespoon, crushed
- Black Peppercorns - 1/4 cup, crushed
- French Sea Salt - 1 tablespoon
- Black Pepper - coarsely ground
- White Pepper - coarsely ground
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil - 1/4 cup
- Thyme - 1 bunch, roughly chopped
- Mirepoix - 1 celery stalk, 1 small onion, and 1 carrot, finely diced
- Unsalted Butter - 4 ounces, sweet
- Pearl Onions - 1 cup
- Olive Oil - 4 tablespoons
- Artichokes - 8, babies
- Lemon Juice - 2 lemons
- Onion - 1 small, sliced thin
- Carrot - 1, diced
- Bacon Rnd - 1 ounce, diced
- Garlic Cloves - 2, crushed
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Dry White Wine - 1 quart
- lamb stock - 1-1/2 cups
- Unsalted Butter - 2 tablespoons
- For the organ meats
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- French Sea Salt - 1 tablespoon
- Extra-Virgin Oive Oil - 1 tablespoon
- Unsalted Butter - 1 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon
- Thyme - 2 fresh, chopped
- Chicken Stock - 2 cups
- Thyme - 1 fresh sprig
- To Finish
- Olive Oil - 5 tablespoons
- Unsalted Butter - 1 teaspoon + 2 tablespoons
- Carrots - 8 baby, tops trimmed to 1/2 inch, blanched
- Vegetable Stock - 1/2 cup (alt. chicken stock)
- Fava Beans - 1 pound, blanched and peeled
- English Peas - 1 cup shelled, blanched
- Haricots Verts - 1/4 pound, halved and blanched (alt. baby green beans)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Sea salt to taste
- Basil Leaves - 2, cut into thin strips (chiffonade)
To prepare the tomatoes: Preheat the oven on its lowest setting. Line a baking sheet with a Teflon liner, silicone liner, or foil. Lightly wipe with olive oil. Slice two tomatoes in 1/8-inch slices, making a total of twelve slices. Cut the remaining tomato into six wedges, then remove a section in the center of each to create a cup-like shape. Spread the prepared baking sheet with thyme, coriander, peppercorns, and salt. Place the tomato slices and cups on the sheet and put in the oven. Turn off the heat and leave the tomatoes in the oven overnight to dry. Remove; set aside.
To prepare the lamb: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Season the lamb shoulder with black pepper and white pepper, rubbing and pressing the pepper into the surface of the meat. Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large ovenproof saute pan or skillet and heat over high heat. Sear the shoulder 30 seconds on its first side, then turn and sear for 10 seconds on the other side. Remove from the pan.
Put the leg into the pan and sear 1 minute on each side. Remove from the pan.
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan if necessary. Add the thyme and mirepoix. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until the mirepoix is browned. Add 2 ounces of the butter and the remaining extra-virgin olive oil to the pan. Return the shoulder and leg to the pan, place in the oven, and roast for 1 hour, basting every 10 minutes with pan juices. Remove the leg and set aside, tented with foil. Return the shoulder to the oven and roast for an additional 30 minutes, basting every 10 minutes. Remove and set aside; keep warm. Reserve the juices in the cooking pan for the sauce.
To prepare the vegetables: Line a pan with foil, put the pearl onions in the pan, and drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over the onions. Roast in the 350 F oven with the lamb for 20 to 30 minutes, until softened and browned. Remove; set aside and keep warm.
Break off the stems and outer leaves of the artichokes, trimming the artichokes down to the light green part. Rub with lemon juice. Cut off the top third of each artichoke, then cut the artichokes in half vertically. Rub again with lemon juice. Heat the remaining olive oil a large saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the artichokes, sliced onions, carrot, bacon, and garlic. Saute for 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium, season with salt and pepper, add the bouquet garni, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the artichoke ragout to a bowl.
To prepare the sauce: Put the lamb roasting pan over medium-high heat and add the white wine. Cook, stirring until the glaze in the bottom dissolves. Add the lamb stock and simmer for 20 minutes to reduce. Take off the heat and let rest for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve, pressing down on the solids to extract all the liquid. Set aside.
To prepare the organ meats: Season the organ meats and chop the sweetbreads with sea salt. In a hot saute pan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and add the sweetbreads. Add 1 teaspoon of the butter and the chopped thyme, cover, and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, turning once.
Place the brain in the top of a steamer. Fill the bottom with chicken stock, add the thyme sprig, and steam for 10 to 15 minutes, until firm throughout with no transparency in the center. Set aside in the steamer to stay warm and moist.
Cut the kidney in half horizontally. Place the kidney halves in a small saute pan with 1 tablespoon of butter and saute over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes, until just done through. Set aside in the pan.
To finish: Just before serving, rewarm all the parts of the dish. Put the roasted onions, artichokes, and baby carrots in a saute pan over medium heat to warm. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the dried tomato “cups.” In a small saute pan, melt 1 teaspoon of the butter. Add the vegetable stock, fava beans, peas, and green beans. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over high heat and sear the lamb chops for 3 to 3-1/2 minutes per side for rare. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the butter and saute briefly on each side. Set aside off the heat. Melt 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the remaining tablespoon of butter in the saute pan over high heat. Sear the medallions for 30 seconds, then turn and sear for another 30 seconds. Reduce the heat to medium-high and saute for another 2 to 3 minutes per side, depending on thickness, for rare, or to taste. Remove from heat.
To serve: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Thinly slice the leg meat. Slice the shoulder meat.
Combine the leg meat with the vegetables and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Place in the oven for 2 to 3 minutes to warm. Warm the green vegetables in the saute pan over medium-high heat and add to the lamb and vegetables when they come out of the oven. Warm the sauce, then gently whisk in the butter to finish.
Place three circles of oven-dried tomato on each warmed serving plate. Arrange a selection of each type of lamb meat and each type of vegetable over the tomato slices. Arrange a selection of organ meat slices on each plate. Top the mound of meat and vegetables with a lamb chop. Spoon sauce over each dish.