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Chef John Johnson - Festive Lamb Rack with Holiday Jeweled Spaetzle

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Courtesy of Four Seasons Executive Chef John Johnson
Ingredients

INGREDIENTS FOR SPAETZLE:

  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • ¼ c milk
  • 4 eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg freshly grated using microplane
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 heaping tsp dijon mustard
  • Oil for sauteeing and coating the spaetzle
  • Butter for sautéing

“JEWELED” INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ C chopped dried cranberries
  • ½ c chopped dried apricots
  • ½ c chopped golden raisins
  • ¼ c finely chopped parsley
  • Butter for sautéing

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CANDIED WALNUTS:

  • 2 c walnut halves
  • 2 ½ c port wine
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 tbsp honey

INGREDIENTS FOR THE LAMB RACKS:

  • 2 whole 8 bone racks of Colorado lamb (bones Frenched)
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch rosemary
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • Salt and black pepper mill
  • Olive oil and butter for sautéing

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 1 qt rich lamb stock
  • 5 shallots sliced
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 pint red wine
  • 1 tsp olive oil for sautéing
  • Butter

RAINBOW SWISS CHARD:

  • 4 bunches of rainbow swiss chard (leaves and stems separated trimmed, stems cut into 2 ½ inch long batonettes)

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients

2. Mix in the eggs, milk, and Dijon

3. Combine, then beat by hand (not with a mixer) vigorously for a few minutes.

4. Allow to rest at least 2 hours refrigerated and covered

5. In a large deep stock pot filled to within half an inch from the top with water, bring to boil, add a generous pinch of salt. Load a spoon of the dough into the spaetzle press, and arrange carefully onto the rim of the pot. With a continuous motion, squeeze the dough through the press into boiling water to form long noodles. Allow to come to the top. Once the noodles have come to the top, carefully skim them off using a skimmer, or spider. Drain well using the skimmer, then transfer to a lightly oiled sheet pan to cool flat, in the refrigerator.

6. Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add in a little olive oil, allow to heat, then carefully add in a thin layer of the spaetzle noodles. (resist the urge to shake the pan or move them until they have started to turn golden brown.) Next add in the butter, and toss to combine. Allow to brown a few seconds further, then add in the jeweled ingredients, and the red wine walnuts from below, finishing with chopped parsley.

“JEWELED” DIRECTIONS:

1. Chop all and keep separate for finishing the dish

CANDIED WALNUTS DIRECTIONS:

1. Place the walnuts in a large sauteuse, add in both wines.

2. Bring to simmer then cook the walnuts until wine is reduced and walnuts are deep red and glazed. Add in honey and toss to coat well.

3. Remove from heat and allow to cool and use for dish assembly.

LAMB RACKS DIRECTIONS:

1. First, score the outer cap of fat on the top side of the lamb rack, season all over generously with salt and black pepper, and wrap the bones with aluminum foil. Allow lamb to rest out of the refrigerator, to come to room temp before cooking. Next, add a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat.

2. Carefully sear the lamb rack over high heat to brown evenly on both sides of the loin.

3. Lower heat to medium, add in the garlic cloves, thyme, rosemary, and butter. Baste generously, then transfer the entire pan into a preheated 325 degree oven.

4. Roast until desired doneness, approximately 25 minutes.

5. Continuously baste with the herbs garlic, and fat in the pan every 5 minutes or so. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature in the thickest part of the meat. It should reach 125 – 130.

6. When it does remove and carefully transfer to a resting rack. Allow to rest at least 5-7 minutes before cutting and serving.

FOR THE SAUCE DIRECTIONS:

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, add in the olive oil. Add the shallots, and garlic clove. Brown lightly, then add in the thyme.

2. Next add in the wine and reduce by ¾.

3. Next add in the lamb stock and bring to simmer. Simmer and carefully reduce to sauce consistency. Strain, then finish by swirling in the butter.

4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reserve warm for plating.

RAINBOW SWISS CHARD DIRECTIONS:

1. Blanch leaves and stems separately in boiling salted water, then shock, and reserve for plating.

PLATING:

LAYER THE FOLLOWING:

  • Sauce
  • Rainbow swiss chard; warm it up with a little bit of olive oil. Place leaves on the bottom and use stems as garnish
  • Candied walnuts; slice and toss w/ the spaetzle
  • Slice the lamb; single chop and lean two chops upright

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