pistachio crusted rack of lamb with goat cheese mashed potatoes

Posted on March 23, 2011. Filed under: Dinner | Tags: , , , , , , , |

If this lamb dish was in a presidential election, a recount would not have been needed.  With a dominant 54% of the vote, pistachio crusted rack of lamb crushed the competition in a land slide victory.  The ultimate victory however, was mine.  What most of you did not know is that the lamb was the one dish I had already made in the past and it is one of my absolute favorites.  It is quick and surprisingly easy, yet impressive and worthy of a dinner party.  My one complaint with this dish is that I find the mashed potatoes to be a bit too heavy.  Granted this could probably be remedied by using a hand mixer or a ricer instead of a hand-held potato masher (as the recipe calls for).  If you prefer a more whipped potato, I would recommend making that adjustment as I will most likely do in the future.  Also – I didn’t sear my racks as long as I probably should have so my lamb was probably on the slightly underdone side but since I am a ridiculous carnivore, I enjoy my meat like that (thankfully my dinner guest did as well).  By searing and/or roasting a few minutes longer, you can take your dish from rare to medium rare and beyond if you are into that sort of thing.

I’d like to provide a shout out to Costco before we really get into things.  I keep my membership mainly because they offer me toilet paper, paper towels and meat in large quantities at a good price.  My newest delightful discovery was 1 pound logs of goat cheese for the exact same price as 4oz of the same exact brand at Safeway.  Since nary a day goes by that I’m not eating goat cheese in some form, it seemed like a good decision.  And even if I throw half of it away, I’m still #WINNING.  And now…onto the good stuff…

This recipe has been adapted from a Food Network recipe from Emeril (BAM!) but I don’t do the sauce that he includes.  The first time I made this, I didn’t think the sauce sounded great and why would you want to mask the flavor of delicious lamb crusted in pistachios.  In my humble opinion, I think this dish is more than flavorful enough without.

1 rack of lamb, frenched
Cajun seasoning
1/2 cup Dijon mustard (give or take)
1/2 cup ground pistachios
1/2 cup fine dried bread crumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 medium Yukon gold, peeled and quartered
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 pound soft goat cheese
1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream

Dish serves 3 (if you portion the lamb like I do) with some leftover potatoes possible.  Could be portioned to feed 4, especially if you add some veggies.  You can easily expand this recipe as well.

Start by preheating the oven to 400F.

Racks of lamb generally have 8 bones (at least I have found) so I will normally cut each rack into 3 servings and it’s a good portion.  Since not all 8 bones have the same amount of meat on them, I split it up as 3 bones – 3 bones – 2 bones.  The “meatier” end is the one I take 2 bones off of and then I split the last 6 bones in half.  I feel like I’m making it more complicated than I need to…really just split them up however you want.  Once you have them cut, sprinkle each rack with some cajun seasoning mix – nothing too heavy, same as you would do with salt and pepper.

Sear each rack on the grill or in a pan (I use a pan) on each side for a minute or two.  Make sure you also do with the bones pointing up so the meatier part gets seared.  Take the racks off the heat and let them cool for a few minutes (This would be a good time to start the potatoes…put them in a pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until fork tender, about 12 to 15 minutes).  Next you need to smear each rack with the dijon mustard.  Don’t be shy with this, you want a good layer on all of the meat and fat because this is what the breadcrumb mixture will stick to.

Mix the pistachios, breadcrumbs, 1/2 tbsp or so of cajun seasoning (optional) and olive oil well in a medium bowl and then coat each rack completely with the breadcrumb mixture.  Place each rack on a baking sheet with parchment and place in the oven.  Roast the racks for about 12-15 minutes for medium rare.  (depending on how long you sear the meat and how on target your oven temp is, this can vary slightly)

Once the potatoes are tender, drain the water and put the potatoes back in the pot and return to the heat.  Stir the potatoes continuously for about 2 minutes on the heat so they dehydrate a bit.  Remove the pot from the heat and add the butter and goat cheese.  Using a hand masher, mash potatoes to your desired consistency (if you want to whip or rice the potatoes, this is a good time for that).  Gradually add cream until you reach your desired consistency/flavor and season with salt and pepper.

Remove the racks from the oven and let them rest for about 2 minutes.   Serve over the mashed potatoes and enjoy!

Tip: to eat, I recommend slicing each bone individually and gnawing on it like some sort of animal.  It’s fun, messy and delicious.


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3 Responses to “pistachio crusted rack of lamb with goat cheese mashed potatoes”

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This was awesome! I ate the whole thing!

MMM…Lindsey, this looks amazing. And, actually, not too difficult! I’ve always been intimidated by rack of lamb/lambchops but you’ve inspired me 🙂

[…] you to try to make some of these dishes yourself.  Tonight, I offer you osso buco.  Much like the pistachio crusted rack of lamb I made, it sounds fancy and it looks fancy but the secret is that it is actually a relatively easy […]

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