My wife likes lamb. I got a rack of lamb from New Zealand. I asked how she would like it cooked. She suggested I separate the rack into individual lamb chops rather than cooking it as a rack. That way each chop would be individually cooked to the same doneness. For a side, since we had just gotten some shiitake mushrooms (which are getting increasingly difficult to find) we decided to make "shiitake risotto". So we just made "shiitake risotto" or what is actually a cross between shiitake "Okayu" おかゆ porridge and risotto.
I cleaned up some of the excess fat and separated the rack into lamb chops. I simply seasoned with salt and pepper. We also served skinned Campari tomato (seasoned with Kosher salt and Spanish olive oil) and blanched green beans sautéed in butter.
The lamb chops were first seared in the frying pan and fished in a 350F oven for 3-4 minutes for medium.
We came up with this risotto recipe on the fly.
1 cup of cooked rice (we used rice we cooked and then frozen in small portions. We thawed it by microwaving for about 30 seconds)(My mom introduced us to this method of left over rice control. It keeps well, cooked rice is always available and it comes out perfectly when lightly microwaved).
3-4 Fresh shiitake mushroom (caps sliced into strips, the stems with bottom removed, torn length-wise in thin strips and then cross cut into small pieces)
2-3 tbs sake
3 cup Japanese dashi (#2) (I made this using a dashi pack with bonito and kelp)
2 tbs butter (unsalted)
1 tsp light colored soy sauce
salt, additional pats of butter
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Sautee shiitake mushroom (Chopped up stem first and then caps) in melted butter (#1)
Meanwhile prepare the dashi and keep it warm (#2)
Add thawed rice and sautee (#3)
Add the sake and stir until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Add warm dashi in increments and stir until desired consistency is attained.
Season with light colored soy sauce and salt (#4)
Add a few pats of butter to finish (#5)
Meanwhile sear the both sides of the lamb chops (#6) and finish in a 350F oven for 3 minutes.
We decided to add grated Parmigiano cheese to the risotto.
The risotto was very good. Nice strong shiitake flavor was the major flavor with a background of Japanese dashi and soy sauce. The butter and cheese went amazingly well. The lamb chops were a bit gamy (lamb-ey) but my wife liked the flavor. (She claims that is what lamb is all about). It was done medium with some pink left. This was satisfying ending dish for the evening.
For this, we opened really good Virginia red called RdV Rendezvous 2013 (by the best Virginia red wines we ever tasted). Rendezvous is sort of right bank equivalent and another red called "Lost mountain" is the left bank equivalent. These reds are in the same league as top Napa and Bordeaux red wines. We heard about this in Washington Post article. We visited the Vineyard and we are impressed. I think this requires a separate post.