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Schmidt’s Rack of Lamb with Caramelized Pears and Chestnuts

  • 2 racks of lamb, about 8–9 bones each, trimmed of the fat covering and the bones “Frenched” or timed to the meat loin
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 cups light vegetable, poultry or lamb stock
  • 4 cups dry red wine
  • 4 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 red Anjou pears, quartered lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 pound cleaned chestnuts
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary for garnish

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Take a large can about 5 to 6 inches in diameter, placing it in the center of your roasting pan rack. Arch the two trimmed racks of lamb, meat side out, around the can until the ends of the two racks touch each other. Wrap butchers twine neatly around the racks just about the meat line to secure the meat in the “crown” circular shape. Remove the can carefully so that the lamb stays securely in place. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle a couple of drops of olive oil on the lamb meat and rub evenly across the surface to adhere the spices. Sprinkle half of the chopped rosemary over the lamb.

Place the roasting pan on a rack on the middle of the oven. Cook at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes to sear. Continue cooking at this temperature for rare and medium rare meat or turn down the temperature to 350 degrees F if you prefer your meats medium or more done. Test the roast with a small instant style meat thermometer to detect your preferred degree of doneness after about 25 to 35 minutes depending on the size of your lamb. Remove and allow to rest in a warm spot.

In a large skillet combine the stock and the wine. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until reduced to coat the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile bring a medium pot of water to a simmer over medium high heat. Add the chestnuts cooking until tender about 15 minutes. Transfer to a colander and drain. Break or cut the chestnuts into halves.

In a large non-stick skillet heat 2 tablespoons of butter over high heat. Add the pears without crowding, cooking to sear and brown their edges about 4 minutes. Sprinkle the pears with sugar and turn the slices over. Add the chestnuts to lightly brown with the pears the remaining side. Add the cream and rosemary cooking until reduced to coat the pears and chestnuts, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

To serve: Return the red wine sauce to the heat and bring to a simmer over salt and pepper to your taste. Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving boat.

Meanwhile, return the lamb to the oven until hot, probably about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven. With a couple of metal spatulas, carefully transfer the crown roast to the center of your serving platter. Position a small bowl elevated in the center of the lamb crown. Spoon the caramelized pears and chestnuts into the bowl. Stick the sprigs of rosemary into the center of the crown for garnish. Serve with the sauce on the side.

Chef Jimmy Schmidt
Rattlesnake Club
300 River Place Drive
Detroit, MI 48207–0423