FOOD

Rosemary Cacao Nib-Encrusted Rack of Lamb in Syrah Reduction

Rosemary Cacao Nib-Encrusted Rack of Lamb in Syrah Reduction with Pomegranate Bread Pudding and Braised Spinach

By Chad Smith of Elements Tapas Bar & Lounge in Medford

“This is a wonderful dish for the holiday season. Warm up with friends enjoying this rich blend of sweet and spicy flavors. Start with your favorite fall soup and end with hot chocolate.” —Chris Dennett, co-owner of Elements Tapas Bar & Lounge

Lamb
2 lamb racks, Frenched (ask butcher)
1 tablespoon cacao nibs, finely ground
1 tablespoon rosemary, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon thyme, finely chopped
½ tablespoon coarse black pepper

Bread Pudding
1 pomegranate (separate the seeds; reserve the juice)
6 thick slices white bread
5 egg yolks
1 pint half and half
1 vanilla bean
1 cup sugar, divided into ½ cups

Spinach
½ pound spinach
2 tablespoons butter
* salt, to taste

Reduction
1 bottle of Syrah
1 quart veal stock
1 bouquet garni
2 tablespoons butter
* salt and pepper, to taste 

1. Blend the cocoa nibs, rosemary, thyme, sea salt and black pepper. Rub the lamb with this mixture up to an hour ahead of time; set aside. In a saucepan, reduce the veal stock and Syrah to about 1½ cups; set aside. 2. To make the Bread Pudding: Remove the crusts from the bread and cut into large cubes; toast in a hot oven until the bread just starts to brown. Allow to cool. 3. Meanwhile, scald the half and half, and in a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue to whisk vigorously for another minute. Temper the half and half into the egg mixture. Heat over a double boiler until mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. Set aside. 4. Put the toasted bread into a greased 8-inch cake pan with the pomegranate seeds. Pour the custard over the bread and let rest, pressing the bread down, allowing the bread to soak up the custard. In ten minutes, press the bread down again. Place into a 300°F oven for one hour. 5. While the bread pudding is in the oven, reduce the pomegranate juice with the sugar until thick and set aside. Pour this syrup over the bread pudding about ten minutes before it is finished in the oven. Allow to cool to room temperature before cutting into 4 pieces. 6. To finish, increase oven to 375°F. Sear the lamb racks in olive oil on the stove. Then place the racks in the oven to finish cooking for approximately 15 minutes, until medium-rare or desired temperature (110°F: rare; 120°F: medium-rare; 145°F: medium-well). 7. While the lamb is in the oven, reheat the portioned bread pudding. Reheat the reduction sauce, finishing with the butter and seasoning. Quickly braise the spinach in the butter and season; and finally, cut the lamb racks in half (they must rest for at least 15 to 20 minutes before cutting) and plate in your desired arrangement.

Wine Pairing: 2006 RoxyAnn Syrah

Elements Tapas Bar & Lounge

Located on the corner of Front and Main streets in downtown Medford, Elements Tapas Bar & Lounge is the Southern Oregon city’s first tapas bar. Chef/co-owner Chad Smith and proprietor/co-owner Chris Dennett have a philosophy that is really quite simple: Take the best local ingredients, make wonderful food and pair it with a great drink.

Elements offers traditional and non-traditional tapas, and features the region’s most extensive list of Spanish wines, an expansive list of Southern Oregon wines, as well as a full bar, and beers on tap and in the bottle.

For more information about Elements Tapas Bar & Lounge, call 541-779-0135 or visit www.elementsmedford.com .

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