Monday, May 24, 2010

Double Rib Lamb Chops with Cassoulet of Summer Beans and Rosemary

With the coming of the summer, I decided that it would be a great opportunity to prepare a late spring/early summer dish: Double Rib Lamb Chops with Cassoulet of Summer Beans and Rosemary. I had already made the "Quick" lamb sauce from a previous day's cooking, so this recipe would be a cinch.

I found fresh green beans and yellow wax beans and dried cannellini beans (in place of white marrow beans), cranberry beans, fava beans, and soybeans. I soaked the dried beans in water overnight at room temperature. The next day, I took them out, and they had sprouted! I trimmed the sprouts and peeled the fava beans. Here they are:

I also prepared a fresh batch of Brunoise. Aren't the colors pretty?

I blanched the green beans and yellow wax beans until they were tender and soaked them in an ice bath to stop the cooking. I trimmed the edges and cut them into one-inch pieces.

I then took all the beans and cooked them in water and chicken stock in two pots for one hour. I added a mirepoix of aromatics to each pot (quartered onion, leek, and carrot) as well.

Here they are cooking in two pots:

FYI, do not leave your spoon on top of your pot like that, even if it's a wooden spoon. I looked at it an hour later, and it was charred from the heat of the sauce pan.

To finish, I drained the beans, discarded the aromatics, removed any beans that floated to the surface, and removed all skins that came off in the cooking. This was an extremely laborious process.

I returned the beans to heat and added half the "Quick" lamb sauce as well as some tomato diamonds, Brunoise, butter, salt, and pepper and heated it through.

The cassoulet was indeed aromatic and the colors were astounding. I'm a little disappointed with my point-and-shoot's quality that dulls the colors.

Next, the lamb. I got these lamb chops from the butcher at Whole Foods. I was indecisive about which type of lamb to get, so I got three American lamb chops and three New Zealand lamb chops. You can tell them apart in the image below because the NZ lamb has two ribs while the American ones only have one.

I tied them with string until they were uniform and tightly wrapped.

Then, I wrapped the bones in foil so they wouldn't burn. I also salted and peppered the chops liberally.
I heated some canola oil in a skillet and browned each side, three minutes on one side, two on the other.

Next, I removed the lamb chops from the skillet, removed most of the oil, and added butter and the lamb chops back to the pan. I also added garlic and thyme sprigs to the lamb.

I put the skillet in the oven at 375 degrees for four minutes, until the meat was medium-rare. Then I took it out and let it sit for a few minutes.

In the meantime, I heated up the "Quick" lamb sauce and reduced it until it was about 1/4 cup.

Okay, time for plating. First, the "Quick" lamb sauce and the cassoulet of beans:

Then the lamb chop with some rosemary leaves...

I plated three NZ chops and three American chops. I personally devoured one NZ chop and one American chop. I liked the NZ chop better because it had less fat on it and the meat was more tender. The American chop had much more fat on it and it was a little tougher.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this dish. I also think it's one of those dishes you can prepare at home for a regular dinner. It didn't take all that long to make, especially if you prepare the cassoulet of beans ahead of time. Every one of my guests agreed and wanted more.

Lamb from Whole Foods
Produce from Whole Foods