Grilled Sonoma Lamb Chops with Wild Rice Soufflé and Pomegranate Nectar
Although exotic to us, the sweet-tart pomegranate with its myriad seeds is an everyday food in the Middle East and Mediterranean. Here Chef McSweeney combines it with a familiar middle-eastern meat, lamb. The pomegranate molasses used in the sauce is widely available at Middle Eastern markets. And the veal demi-glace the recipe calls for may be purchased frozen and reconstituted. Herb-infused olive oil is available at gourmet markets. Pomegranates are in season in fall and early winter. To peel and release the seeds, cut the blossom end off the fruit. Score the skin lightly in quarters from stem to blossom end, being careful not to cut into the fruit, and break it in half. Then break in quarters. Peel the skin off carefully and separate out the seeds, cleaning off the bitter white pith. The real star of this entrée, however, may be the Wild Rice Soufflé, which starts with wild rice that has been cooked in chicken stock for extra flavor.
- Wild Rice Soufflé (recipe follows)
- Pomegranate Nectar (recipe follows)
- Mixed seasonal vegetables - 4 cups (carrots, asparagus, baby Patti pan squash, French green beans, quartered new potatoes)
- Unsalted butter - as needed
- Frenched loin lamb chops - 24 bone-in, 3-3-1/2 ounces each
- Herb-infused olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Wild Rice Soufflé
- Unsalted Butter - 3 tablespoons
- Diced onion - 1/4 cup
- Fresh Thyme Leaves - 1 teaspoon
- Fresh chopped rosemary - 1 teaspoon
- Flour - 3 tablespoons
- Salt - 1 teaspoon
- Freshly ground pepper - 1/2 teaspoon
- Wild Rice - 2 cups, cooked
- Heavy Cream - 2 cups
- Egg Whites - 8
- Pomegranate Nectar
- Pomegranates - 2 whole
- Pomegranate Molasses - 1 tablespoon
- Veal Demi-Glace - 1 cup
First, make Wild Rice Soufflé and Pomegranate Nectar (recipes below).
Trim and cut seasonal vegetables into uniform-size pieces. Cook in boiling salted water until just tender. Drain and rinse under cold running water to set color and stop cooking. Drain and reserve. At serving time, reheat vegetables in a skillet in butter.
Brush lamb chops with herb-infused oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Grill over hot coals or saute in a hot pan on both sides, turning once, for two minutes on each side. Transfer to a roasting pan and finish cooking in a hot, 450 degree F oven, for 1 to 2 minutes.
To serve: Using a spatula, place a square of Wild Rice Soufflé in the middle of each of 8 dinner plates. Top with three grilled lamb chops. Spoon sauteed mixed vegetables around. Drizzle chops with Pomegranate Nectar. Garnish plate with a few pomegranate seeds.
Wild Rice Soufflé
In a large, 12-inch, skillet, heat butter over medium high heat. Add onion, thyme, rosemary and sauté until onions are tender but not browned. Sprinkle in flour, stirring to blend. Add wild rice and stir to blend. Add cream and stir, continuing to cook until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and scrape with a rubber spatula into a large bowl. Stir to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, butter a hotel pan or roasting pan with deep sides and set aside. Whip egg whites until they hold a peak but are not dry. Fold egg whites gently into the wild rice-cream mixture. Scrape gently into the hotel pan and bake at 250 degrees F until soufflé is set in the center, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
Seed pomegranates, being careful to separate out and discard all the bitter white pith. Reserve enough of the seeds to garnish plates . Combine remaining seeds, pomegranate molasses and demi-glace in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain sauce through a fine-meshed sieve, pushing down on seeds with a spoon to extract juice. Return strained sauce to saucepan and heat briefly. Reserve, keep warm.