Valentines Day at Home

Hubby and I tend to celebrate Valentine’s day early to skip the crowds, and have a quiet evening at home when Feb 14 rolls around.  This year he requested rack of lamb, which is a favorite of mine as well.  I am particularly proud of this recipe which features a delicious chocolate balsamic vinegar from Sigona’s market–a fitting way to celebrate my favorite holiday.  

Mike & Sophie’s Rack of Lamb

1T Instant Coffee
1T Water
2T pure Maple Syrup
1 dried chili, cut into small pieces
2T Sigona’s Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar
1t coarse sea salt
1 Frenched Rack of Lamb, ~1.5 lb
1 butternut squash, washed and cut into quarter inch slices, seeds removed
1 package mushrooms, washed and quartered
1/4 cup chicken stock

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Combine Instant coffee with water in a small bowl and mix until coffee is dissolved.  Add Maple syrup, cut chilis, balsamic vinegar and salt.  Microwave for 15 seconds.  Cut the rack of lamb into pieces, with 2 ribs per piece.  Put into quart size ziploc bag, add microwaved mixture and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.  Put a single layer of butternut squash slices in the bottom of a baking dish.

In a medium skillet, heat a bit of oil on medium high heat and sear/brown the lamb pieces on all sides (reserve marinade).  Place on top of butternut squash in the baking dish, and bake in oven until internal temp ~ 160 degrees F for medium rare.  Meanwhile, add the mushrooms to the skillet containing pan drippings and toss quickly.  Add marinade & stock, scrape bottom of pan, cover and cook ~ 3minutes. Remove the cover, reduce liquid in pan until about a quarter remains and sauce becomes slightly thicker.  Remove lamb, & squash, let sit a few minutes, serve with mushrooms & sauce.  I paired this with a “bacony” buttermilk cornbread (recipe from joy of cooking), which worked well!