Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Guest Blogger Tuesday

Today's guest blogger is my very own one in a million mother! Along with many other great traits, she raised me with unreasonable expectations when it comes to food thanks to her amazing skills in the kitchen.   For this post, she is going to detail an Easter favorite - grilled rack of lamb!  Read more to find out how to make this elegant meal in your own home - no expensive trip to a restaurant necessary!

Summer Grilling

Some of my favorite recipes are so simple, yet elegant enough to serve to guests.  I had the good fortune to introduce my son-in-law Colin to his first taste of grilled rack of lamb a la Kathleen.  I know he was squirming and wishing he could go out for pizza when he heard what we were having for dinner, but with a simple marinade and perfect grilling we ate some of the most succulent lamb.  After that I do believe Colin understood why Kristin looks forward to her mama’s rack of lamb.

We’ve had the first taste of beautiful warm weather here in Portland, Oregon and it’s time for a get together with good friends!  Michelle has become one of my dearest friends, favorite grilling partner, Sous Chef and hostess extraordinaire.  Not to mention that fact that I’m in love with and godmother to her English Bulldog “Swayze” and so enjoy the company of her partner Rodney. I love them all and this will be the first of many joint-grilling experiences documented this summer for the blog.

Michelle and I decided on a menu of Marinated Grilled Rack of Lamb with Garlic Shrimp and Whipped Potatoes. Of course, you need a veggie to balance out the protein and the starch, so I suggest grilled asparagus drizzled with olive oil, salt & pepper.

You can safely assume that 1 rack of lamb will feed 2 people, however on this night we decided that with the addition of  1 ½ lbs of (12-15 count) shrimp, 2 chops per person and sides, would feed 4 hungry adults.  Double the marinade recipe if making 2 to 3 racks.


1 cup red wine (I use either a pinot or a cab)
1/3 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary + 2 sprigs
3 cloves chopped (or crushed) garlic
¼ teaspoon garlic pepper
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt

Combine all ingredients (except 2 sprigs of rosemary & 2 crushed garlic cloves) in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake well. 

1 Rack of Lamb (trimmed leaving a small cap of fat and frenched*)

1 large plastic ziplock bag

Rub the rack with the 2 remaining cloves of garlic and a sprinkling of salt & pepper.  Shred the remaining 2 sprigs of rosemary into small clumps and place on the top of the seasoned rack.  Add to plastic bag and pour in the well-shaken marinade.  The meat can be refrigerated from 2 hours to overnight.
All dressed up and ready for the marinade!
Make sure to remove the lamb from the fridge at least 1 hour before grilling. The meat should be at room temperature to assure even cooking. Preheat your grill to 400 degrees (high) for a quick sear.  When ready, place the rack meat side down on a lightly oiled grate to sear for 2 minutes, flip and sear the backside for 2 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and grill for approximately 6-8 minutes per side until done.

Using an instant read thermometer  to gauge interior temperature of the meat assures proper cooking of your lamb.  Here are some in varying price ranges via Amazon.com:

Internal temperatures for lamb
Rare - 120°F
Medium Rare - 125°F
Medium - 130°F
Testing the internal temperature
Let rest for 10 minutes and cut into individual chops for serving.

The finished product!
* Frenching a rack of lamb is removing the meat, fat and membranes that connect the individual rib bones that gives the rack a clean look for an elegant meal and is a butchering technique you can do at home with a little practice. With a sharp knife trim the meat and fat from around the exposed rib bones starting from the point closet to the meat and working downward to the tip. You should be left with clean exposed rib bones.  For a more thorough and easy explanation click here.

And that's it folks! One scrumptious rack of lamb dinner!  So fancy, yet easily made in your own home.  For the sake of space, click in to read mom's recipe for the barbecued shrimp!

Garlic & Lemon Grilled Shrimp

1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoons dried crushed basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
25-30 large uncooked shrimp, shelled and deveined (about 1-1/2 pounds)
10 (8-inch) wooden skewers or use sturdy fresh rosemary twigs for extra flavor

Combine oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, basil, parsley and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Place shrimp in a resealable food storage bag or glass bowl. Pour marinade over shrimp; seal bag, or cover bowl. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours to marinate. Soak skewers in water for 30 minutes before grilling.

Remove shrimp from marinade; reserve marinade. Thread 3 shrimp on each skewer, leaving some space between each shrimp. Place skewers on grill over medium heat 4 to 6-inches from heat source. Cook 8 to 10 minutes or until shrimp turn pink, turning twice during cook time and brushing with reserved marinade. Discard any remaining marinade.

Garnish with fresh lemon slices

TIP: To help prevent wooden skewers from charring, wrap ends in foil before grilling. Alternately, shrimp may be placed on metal skewers or sturdy fresh rosemary twigs.

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