Sunday, March 22, 2015

Roasted Lamb Chops, Fontina Cheese Polenta with Asparagus and Mushrooms for a Spring Fling #SundaySupper

Roasted Lamb Chops, Fontina Cheese Polenta with Asparagus and Mushrooms for a Spring Fling #SundaySupper




This week, the team at #SundaySupper has decided to celebrate the change of seasons with a theme of Spring Fling. For some strange reason, I associate lamb with spring. Maybe because it's a popular entrée on Easter Sunday? Lamb isn't the only thing that comes to mind when I think of spring, however. Possibilities are almost endless with things like artichokes, ramps, carrots, strawberries and fennel at their peak. I only wish this theme was a little later in the season because many items don't come into season until April or May.

It's no secret that I rely on my copy of The Flavor Bible and this is no different. When I looked at lamb, it suggested it paired well with asparagus, polenta and morel mushrooms, which are all in season at this time of year. The only place I found locally that had morels was Whole Foods but they wanted $50 per pound, so I used a cheaper alternative.

The Challenge

Create a composed dish using seasonal ingredients.

The Source

I paired a rack of lamb recipe from Simply Recipes with an adaptation of a polenta and mushroom dish from Fine Cooking influenced by a side dish from Taste of Home.

Ingredients

2 racks of lamb, 1 to 2 pounds each, Frenched
1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
4 to 5 cloves minced garlic, divided
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 cups whole milk
1 cup corn meal
1 pound fresh asparagus, tough ends trimmed, then cut into 1 to 2 inch lengths
1 8-ounce package sliced cremini mushrooms
1 1/2 cups Fontina cheese

Method

1. Marinate the lamb. Combine half of the rosemary, thyme, garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil and the racks of lamb in a resealable plastic bag. Season with salt and pepper. Ensure the marinade covers all sides of the lamb and refrigerate overnight. Let the lamb come to room temperature before roasting.

2. Prepare the polenta: In a large saucepan, bring the milk and chicken stock to a boil, then season with salt. Whisk in the corn meal slowly so it doesn't clump. Once it has been added, reduce the heat to medium low and stir occasionally until all the liquid has been absorbed, approximately 30 minutes.


3. Roast the lamb. While the polenta cooks, preheat the oven to 450° Fahrenheit. Remove the lamb from the marinade and discard the marinade. Reseason the lamb with salt and pepper, then place on a foil-lined sheet pan with the fat side up. Roast the lamb, first by searing it at 450 for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 300° Fahrenheit for 10 to 20 minutes until the desired doneness has reached. Cook to 135° Fahrenheit for medium rare. Tent with foil and set aside for 15 minutes to allow for carryover cooking while you finish the dish.


4. Sauté the vegetables and finish the dish. While the lamb roasts, add the remaining olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil starts to smoke, add the asparagus and cook until it softens, approximately. Add the mushrooms, then the other half of the rosemary, thyme and garlic and season with salt and pepper and cook until the vegetables are cooked through. Stir the Fontina into the polenta and adjust the seasoning if necessary, then cut the lamb into individual chops. To plate, spoon some polenta on a plate, top with the asparagus and mushrooms and then three to four chops. Serve immediately.


Successful?

There are a couple of execution items to discuss but first I want to thank Valerie of Lifestyle Food Artistry for co-hosting this week's event with me. It has been a pleasure to work with her.

For the polenta, I substituted chicken stock and milk for water that the original recipe uses because I felt there was an opportunity to layer flavor that wouldn't otherwise be there with water. In addition, I felt the sear on the lamb was insufficient and recommend to pan sear the rack of lamb first before finishing it in the oven similar to the dish I prepared 2 years ago. Despite these flaws, it still was a well balanced dish from a flavor profile standpoint.

Other #SundaySupper dishes this week:

Beverages
Appetizers
Sides
Entreés
Desserts

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25 comments:

  1. While I'm not a fan of lamb (sorry) I am a big fan of polenta and yours sounds really good with the polenta and asparagus.

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  2. Your lamb chops are cooked to absolute perfection, D.B.! Pink and juicy! I never think to make polenta and now I don't know why because we love it. Thanks for the reminder and thanks so much for hosting this great theme.

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  3. Oh my! These lamb chops on top of fontina polenta sounds amazing! I love chops and I love polenta but I've never paired them together!

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  4. Thanks for the reminder to check my Flavor Bible! I never would have dreamed up this combination, but it looks fantastic. Thanks so much for hosting us this week!

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  5. Great spring flavors! I need to make lamb chops again soon.

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  6. What an absolutely gorgeous spring meal, just perfect!

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  7. Have never tried lamb with cheese, now you made me curious! ;)

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  8. I would definitely try this even thought I am not much of a lamb eater. I thought it sounded like something I would order from a restaurant!

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  9. What a beautiful dish, perfect for spring. Thanks for hosting this week!

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  10. Thanks for hosting this week. Lamb is certainly a perfect choice to represent Spring.

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  11. I'm so in love with this dish! I've never done lamb chops! I now have your recipe on my list!!! YUM!!!

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  12. There is nothing more mouthwatering then a delicious lamb chop recipe! You rocked this one!

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  13. Confession time! I've never made polenta or lamb! Ah, now I have to try this whole recipe!

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  14. Though I'm not a fan of lamb, your dish looks wonderful. The lamb looks perfectly cooked and I adore the side choices you made. Thanks for hosting this week.

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  15. I must say...I love looking at your recipe files. Though I'm not a fan of lamb, this dish looks mouthwatering! You totally rocked this one out!

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  16. Ok, so I may not eat lamb, but the rest of this looks abso-freaking-lutely amazing!!!

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  17. My mouth is watering. I have to say I mostly have stuck to minced lamb and lamb roasting joints so now feel inspired to try lamb chops.

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  18. Diana @DandelionGreensBlogMarch 24, 2015 at 4:02 AM

    There's nothing like a good lamb chop. Yours look amazing! Thanks for hosting... what a fun week!

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  19. I love lamb! It's such a special occasion meal!

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  20. Good lord that looks so amazing! And thanks so much for co-hosting, y'all did such a great job!

    -Julie @ Texan New Yorker

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  21. I really need to buy the Flavor Bible! I'm an ok cook but I'm sure that I could be so much better by utilizing its suggestions! I don't eat lamb (I'm the pickiest eater in the world and I find it's too gamey for me) but the sides look phenomenal!

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  22. You know, I've never cooked lamb at home (husband's not a big fan), but this looks like it's worth trying! :)

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  23. Spring on a plate! Thanks for hosting!

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  24. $50/lb?! No thank you! I would've used a substitute, too. Beautiful entree.

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Feedback is always welcomed. If you're going to be critical, be constructive. In other words, be nice.