Rack of Lamb with Sun-Dried Cherry Sauce

Serves 4

“The Best of Vine and Valley” is a popular class I developed to showcase the great crops produced in our region. From the vine was easy, we featured VQA wines; valley sounds lyrical but actually it’s Langley Valley organic greens, Pemberton Valley potatoes, Fraser Valley lamb and the Okanagan valley’s sun-dried cherries. Pinot Noir was in the sauce and paired with the meal. It matches well with berries as long as the acidity is balanced, hence the butter or demi-glace in the sauce. Pungent herbs, roasted garlic and caramelized onions are naturals as well, so my Caramelized Onion and Potato Gratin from our first book was on the menu.

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup Dijon mustard 60 ml
1/4 cup fresh minced parsley 60 ml
2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced 30 ml
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves, minced 15 ml
2 Tbsp. olive oil 30 ml
Freshly milled black pepper to taste
2 racks lamb, trimmed and frenched, about 1 lb. (454 g) each
1 cup sun-dried cherries, preferably a combination of sweet and sour varieties (or a mixture of sun-dried berries and Mission figs) 240 ml
2 cups red wine 475 ml
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar 120 ml
1/4 cup brown sugar or maple syrup 60 ml
2 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter or veal demi-glace 30 ml

Preheat the oven to 450° (230°C).

Make a paste by combining the garlic, Dijon mustard, herbs and olive oil. Apply the coating to the round outside of the rack. The entire “loin” of meat attached to the ribs should be nicely coated. Add freshly ground pepper to the outside.

Begin the sauce by combining the sun-dried berries, wine, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a non-reactive saucepan. Bring to boiling, then reduce the heat and simmer. Watch the liquid does not evaporate away. When nicely thickened, remove from heat until the lamb is finished.

Choose a small pan for roasting that matches the size of the racks—a skillet works well. Face the two racks with ribs pointing together, then insert the ribs between each other as if praying fingers. Place in the preheated oven and roast for 10 minutes; reduce the heat to 350°F (175°C) test after 15 minutes. Ideally testing with an instant -read thermometer will give perfect results. Remove the lamb when the thermometer reads 125-130°F (52-55°C) Let the finished lamb rest wrapped in foil for 10 minutes while finishing the sauce. This sets the juices.

If there’s any nice brown bits in the lamb pan, whisk in some of the berry sauce and deglaze the pan. By now the sauce should be syrupy and the cherries plumped. Taste for sugar; it should be nicely sweet and sour. Add any juices that accumulated in the foil with the lamb and reheat the sauce. Whisk in the butter or demi-glace to enrich the sauce and balance the acidity.

Slice in between each rib, separating the tiny chops. Serve with berries as a condiment and the rich dark sauce drizzled on lamb and plate.

Source of recipe: The Girls Who Dish! Seconds Anyone? Glenys Morgan