Last night I prepared a mediterranean style rack of lamb. The Dejorias love lamb, and so do I. In cooking the lentils, I incorporated fresh turmeric which is good for your health. However, be careful in handling turmeric because it tends to stain. I used yellow lentils and turmeric because they combine flavorfully with lamb. I added had some papadum chips (lentil flatbread) that make a nice crunch to the dish. From canned garbanzo beans, I made a quick falafel. With a spice mix for the lamb and a yogurt sauce, you have the makings of a great meal.
2 Racks of lamb cleaned and trimmed.
1/4 cup of Za'atar spice ( roasted thyme, sesame seeds, and sumac blend)
2 tbsp of dried oregano
2 tbsp of dried dill
3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Falafel (my quick version)
2 cans of garbanzo beans washed and drained
1 jalapeno chopped with seeds
4 cloves of garlic chopped
2 tbsp of ground cumin
1/4 cup of cilantro leaves
1/2 lemon juiced
salt and pepper
2 cups of garbanzo flour
1 1/2 cup of vegetable oil for pan frying
1 cup yellow lentils
3 pieces of fresh turmeric peeled and grated
1/8 tsp of cayenne pepper
2 garlic cloves minced
2 shallots minced
2 1/2 cups of water
1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp of salt
1 cup of greek yogurt
1 tbsp of dried dill
1 tbsp of fresh mint chopped
1/2 lemon juiced
Preheat oven at 400 degrees.
For the lentils, add oil, garlic, and shallots to a small medium hot soup pot. Saute the garlic and shallots for 2 minutes and add turmeric, lentils, cayenne, water and salt. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook the lentils for about 20 to 25 minutes until tender. Adjust the seasoning and set aside until ready to use.
For my quick version of falafel, combine garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, garbanzo beans, and cumin into a food processor. Pulse until all is combined but still with a little texture and not a smooth paste. Add the lemon juice and season with salt. Take 2 oz portions of the mix and form into balls or discs. Lightly dredge them in the garbanzo bean flour and set aside until you are ready to fry.
For the sauce mix the yogurt, dill, mint and lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside.
For the lamb, combine all the spices into a mixing bowl. Drizzle the lamb with 2 tbsp of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Then heavily season the lamb, front and back, with the combined spices. In a medium hot oven-proof saute pan add the rest of the olive oil and place the lamb rack face down in the pan. Cook in the oven for 2 minutes to allow the spices to make a crust on the lamb. Remove the pan from the oven and flip the lamb rack over. Slide the pan back into the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the lamb to rest for at least 5 minutes. This will finish the cooking. I flip the lamb back over on the meatier side while it is resting.
While the lamb is in the oven, fry the falafel discs in vegetable oil in a fry pan heated to medium high. Once the oil is hot, place the falafel discs into the oil a few at a time. Be careful not to over crowd the pan and lower the temperature of the oil. The falafel discs would be greasy rather than crisp. Cook on the first side for about 2 minutes and then flip and cook for another minute or so. Drain the falafel on a paper towel.
To serve, add a streak of yogurt to the plate, then a spoonful of lentils, followed by a cut of lamb from the rack. In the photo, you see the lamb rests near the lentils, balanced by the falafel, and accented with papadum and a cilantro sprig. Enjoy.