Dining out on Mother’s Day is usually not a good idea if you can cook a decent meal at home. I completely understand the desire to treat mom out to a wonderful meal, and frankly we benefit from this as many guests ended up at our restaurants, but for Mrs. MM and myself, we tend to do the opposite on Mother’s Day and stay in. :) This was our simple but delicious Mother’s Day lunch last Sunday.
Start out with a couple of racks of young lamb ribs, these ones sourced from S&L Fine Foods. These aren’t racks of lamb with the loins attached, just the meaty ribs. Place them in a heavy enameled or stainless steel pot, and cover with water.
Add a chopped onion or two, lots of fresh and dried bay leaves and some whole peppercorns and bring this to a very gentle simmer (not boil) and keep covered for say an hour or so until tender. This step will render a bit of fat from the lamb, and also, fully cook it. This is not one of those recipes where the lamb will be pink, it is fully cooked all the way through.
Meanwhile, peel several potatoes and cut them into bite-sized cubes. Peel several shallots and add them to the poatoes whole. Add several segments of unpeeled garlic. Add just a LITTLE bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and toss with some fresh and dried herbs such as oregano, thyme and rosemary. Place these at the bottom of a roasting pan. Turn your oven on to 350F.
Once your lamb is tender in the simmering broth, take it out and dry it well on some paper towels. Sprinkle all of the surfaces of meat with salt and pepper (generously) as well as dried/fresh oregano, thyme and rosemary and drizzle some olive oil and rub this or brush this all over the surface of the meat. Place the meat on a roasting rack set OVER the potatoes and stick this all into the pre-heated oven.
Let this cook for say half an hour then add one more brushing of olive oil or oils from the pan if the meat looks like it needs it. If the meat isn’t browning enough, turn the heat up to 375F and return to the oven for say another 20 minutes or so. My total cooking time for this was 50 minutes, though frankly it could have stayed in another 10-20 minutes to render out a little more of the gorgeous layers of lamb fat.
A LOT of lamb fat will drip onto the potatoes, onions and garlic below, and this adds to their flavor… Toss the potatoes in this fat, then drain excess fat away and place your pototoes in a serving dish. Let your meat rest for 5-10 minutes before carving it.
Slice the meat into individual ribs and either place on a platter or plate them up, 3 ribs per diner, over some of the potatoes. I have noticed some chefs cut the ribs after the simmering stage, and roast them in hot oven or salamander so that all sides of each rib develop a dried crust. That works nicely if you have a high heat oven/salamander, but you risk losing most of the underlying juiciness of the ribs.
The potatoes with shallots and garlic was HEAVENLY. You could almost have a dish of that for lunch and no meat and it would have been very satisfying. Note the green salad in the background, meant to balance out all of the fat from the lamb. :)
Plated up with a small wedge of lemon. Squeeze the lemon all over the lamb and potatoes for that burst of citrus freshness and to cut some of the grease. I also sprinkled on some Maldon salt when I realized I undersalted the lamb. Remember, lamb needs a LOT of salt.
A relatively easy, delicious, slightly out of the ordinary dish for Mother’s Day lunch… or any lunch or dinner for that matter. :)