Monday, October 22, 2012

Cordero Asado con Patatas

According to José Andrés, this dish -- Cordero Asado con Patatas  or Roast Rack of Lamb with Potatoes --is a classic dish from Aragón, which is served in many of the region's restaurants.  José says he began making this dish for his Jewish friends in the United States as their passover meal, "not least because lamb plays a symbolic role during their holiday feast."  José adds, "[i]n any religion, on either side of the Atlantic, this is a simple and satisfying meal the whole family can enjoy!"

This simple meal is reflective of the cuisine in Aragon.  Many describe that cuisine as simple, straightforward meat dishes of  lamb, boar or venison, served with vegetables.  Lamb is especially common, with various dishes of roast lamb or lamb stew gracing the tables of restaurants and households.  This dish is a little fancier than the average lamb dish, relying upon a cut -- the rack -- that costs more than others, such as the shank or shoulder.  

While this recipe is fairly simple, I did have some trouble with the potatoes.  If you look at the picture in the Made in Spain cookbook, the potatoes are nicely browned.  Although I followed the recipe, including cooking times, the potatoes did not brown and some were still a little raw.  This may have been due to my cutting the slices a little too thick or it may have been that I needed to cook them a little longer.  However, the lamb cooked perfectly, as you can see from the pictures.  I can live with some undercooked potatoes when the lamb is perfect.

Recipe from José Andrés, Made in Spain at 200
Serves 4

4 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 
     1/4 inch think rounds
8 garlic cloves, peeled
16 pearl onions, peeled
4 fresh rosemary sprigs
4 fresh thyme sprigs
3 tablespoons of Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
2 French cut racks of lamb, about 10 ounces each
1/2 cup of dry white wine

1.  Bake the potatoes.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.  Toss the potato slices, garlic, onions, rosemary, thyme and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil together in a mixing bowl.  Spread the mixture in a large roasting pan, season to taste with salt, and bank in the oven for 10 minutes.

2.  Brown the lamb.  While the potatoes roast, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a  a large saute pan over medium high heat.  When the pan begins to smoke, add the lamb racks and brown for about 2 minutes per side.

3.  Roast the lamb.  Remove the potatoes from the oven and pour the wine over them.  Arrange the lamb racks on top of the potatoes, leaning them against each other to form a triangle.  Return the pan to the oven and cook for another 20 minutes or until the lamb measures 130 degrees Fahrenheit on a meat thermometer.  Transfer the lamb to a cutting board to let it rest for 5 minutes.

4.  Plate the dish.  Slice the racks into chops and divide them among 4 plates.  Spoon the potatoes, onion, garlic and herbs onto the plates.  Drizzle the lamb with the pan juices and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Season to taste with salt.


Given this recipe draws its inspiration from Aragón, Spain, one would think a wine from that region would pair well.  It may be a little difficult finding wines from that region. However, wines from a nearby Rioja region could work just as well.  Obviously, a red wine -- such as a wine made with the Tempranillo or Garnacha grapes -- would pair well.  When I made this dish, I used a Rioja Blanco -- the Muga Rioja Blanco (2011) -- for the 1/2 cup of the dry white wine; and, to my surprise, the wine also paired reasonably well with the dish.  If yo udo not have a Spainish wine handy, then consider a Pinot Noir from France or Oregon.


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