I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again – it is so much fun to have a family that enjoys preparing good food together. This year’s Christmas dinner was definitely awesome. My dad and I set to thinking of a main dish, and we turned to the cookbook he owns from Boulevard, a fantastic restaurant in San Francisco (I haven’t had the opportunity to eat there yet, but the rest of my family did). We thought that lamb might be good, and so we decided on a Boulevard recipe for porterhouse lamb chops stuffed with broccoli rabe and “melted garlic.” A porterhouse lamb chop is similar to a porterhouse steak in that it includes a loin side and a filet side divided by a t-bone. Whole Foods agreed to cut these for us to the required thickness (2 inches). We decided on a simple veggie of sauteed broccolini, and my mom made au gratin potatoes with spinach as the side dish. She also made delicious arugula and citrus salads for a first course, topped with shrimp for me and scallops for everyone else (the texture of scallops still freaks me out a bit).
All went smoothly with dinner, but dessert was a different story, although things came out great in the end. My mom had decided she wanted to make an entirely-from-scratch coconut cake with fresh coconut, so the night before our dinner, we spent considerable time busting open the coconuts, shredding a LOT of fresh coconut, and simmering the coconut water with sugar. The next morning, I woke up and came out of my room to find my mom in the hallway cursing . It turned out that she had made a reading error and had creamed the egg whites with far too little sugar -and she had been working on the cake for a solid hour when it happened. My dad quickly ran to the grocery store to replace the whole milk we were now out of, and I jumped in to help my mom start over and get back to where she had been faster. We got things back working pretty quickly, and in the end, the coconut cake came out very tasty.
Stuffed Porterhouse Lamb Chops (from Boulevard restaurant)
This is not a detailed recipe, but rather a general idea of what we did, which is hopefully sufficient for you to recreate this dish if you wish.
In terms of the lamb chops, they were actually quite easy to make and the presentation is pretty impressive. To make the filling, you blanch and ice-water-rinse the broccoli rabe stems from one bunch of rabe. Then, you put them in a food processor and blend with the broccoli rabe tops and leaves, 1 tsp. lemon zest, 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, 1/2 cup panko, salt, pepper, a little fresh parsley, and the “melted garlic,” which is made by microwaving 1/3 cup olive oil with halved garlic cloves until the cloves sizzle. The oil is actually the “melted garlic.” I thought this was a fun, restaurant-y trick for making a quick garlic oil.
To stuff the chops, cut down each side of the t-bone, leaving the top of the T intact. Stuff each side of the bone with about 2 Tbsp. stuffing, and tie the chop with kitchen twine.
Sear chops in an ovenproof skillet over high heat until well-browned on all sides and transfer to a 400 degree oven. Remove when internal temperature reaches 140 for medium-rare. Tent with foil and let rest 5 minutes before serving.
Meanwhile, make a meat jus by sauteeing a small onion and 5 cloves crushed garlic in 2 Tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup dry white wine, 1 cup dark chicken stock, 3 thyme sprigs, and salt and pepper and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook until reduced by half, and remove thyme springs before pouring over chops to serve.
My dad made the jus while I cooked the chops, and we had a lot of fun with this recipe! A belated happy holidays to all and I look forward to more blogging in 2009.