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For the Experienced Chef: Peppercorn-Crusted Rack of Lamb

Rack of Lamb

This is the ultimate meal. It gives you the soft lamb with a kick from the different peppercorns, a side of brussels sprouts as your vegetables, and some potato-apple gratin for something softer. Chef Marcus Samuelsson recommends pairing this dish with Penfolds Bin 8 Cabernet Shiraz. 


For the lamb

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 3 Tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
  • 1 Teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 Teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 Tablespoons white peppercorns
  • 1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 Tablespoon pink peppercorns
  • 4 Pounds racks of lamb
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce

  • 1 Cup Bin 8
  • 1 Cup chicken stock
  • 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the potato-apple gratin

  • 12 Tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 Pounds onions, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, packed
  • 4 Teaspoons sea salt, divided
  • 4 Cups cream
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 1/2 Pounds Yukon Gold, yellow Finn, or German Butterball potatoes, peeled, and sliced as thinly as possible
  • 2 Pounds tart apples (such as Granny Smith, Pippin, or Pink Lady), peeled, halved, cored, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 2 Cups cheddar, freshly grated

For the roasted brussels sprouts with sour dried cherries and pecans

  • 8 brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon sour dried cherries
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon pecans lightly crushed
  • 2 Teaspoons honey
  • 3 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1 Teaspoon soy
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 Teaspoon mild chili powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon tumeric


For the lamb

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Put the peppercorns in a small saucepan, add water to cover, and bring to a boil; drain. Add cold water to cover, bring to a boil, and drain again; repeat 2 more times. Spread the peppercorns on paper towels and let dry thoroughly.

Put the peppercorns in a mini processor or blender and process until coarsely crushed. Combine in a small bowl with the egg yolk, mustard, 1 tsp of the olive oil, the Parmesan, bread crumbs, thyme, and rosemary and blend to a coarse paste.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking hot. Add the racks of lamb and sear for about 3 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned. Transfer to a platter and let cool.

Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Spread the herb mixture over the meaty part of the lamb. Place the lamb, fat side up, on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature registers 125 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, for medium-rare. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.

For the sauce

Combine the wine, stock, vinegar, thyme, and lemon zest in a medium saucepan, bring to a simmer, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until reduced to 1 cup. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.

Just before serving, reheat the sauce if necessary, and whisk in the lemon juice and butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, cut the racks into individual chops and arrange 3 or 4 chops on each plate. Pass the sauce at the table.

For the potato-apple gratin

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter 13x9x2 inch glass or ceramic baking dish.

Heat the cream and bring to a boil. Add the rosemary to the cream, and steep for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt 6 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onions, thyme, and 2 tsp salt; sauté until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high; sauté until onions are tender and begin to color, about 8 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Add remaining 6 tablespoons butter and cream skillet; stir and swirl skillet to combine. Bring to boil. Cool onion mixture to lukewarm.

Combine potatoes, apples, remaining 2 tsp salt, and onion mixture in large bowl; toss gently to blend. Transfer to prepared baking dish, spreading evenly. Sprinkle cheese on top.

Cover dish with parchment paper, then cover with foil, shiny side down. Bake gratin for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let gratin stand 15 minutes before serving.

For the roasted brussels sprouts with sour dried cherries and pecans

In a medium pan heat, render the bacon, then remove from the pan. Cook the Brussels sprouts in the reserved bacon fat, sautéing until browned, about 5 minutes. Add in spices, honey, and soy.

Toss, and add the cherries, pecans, and bacon.