This post is all about sauce, a really simple sauce, and a really simple way to make a special dinner for a special guest. I always say cooking is not complicated and this is as uncomplicated as it gets. No fancy recipes just plain off the shelf ingredients. Here I present a simple dish comprised of lamb loin medallions trimmed off a lamb chop and a wine reduction demiglace. If you are organized it should take about 30 minutes. If not, add ten minutes.
I got a package of lamb chops from Costco which are actually lamb T-Bones. These include the same muscle as a rack of lamb but with the little tenderloin bit. They're cheaper than rack of lamb because it doesn't take much butchery to run a saddle through a bandsaw and despite its lower ranking in the food snobbery chain of command they can be made into a very elegant meal.
First you take the loin off the bone. Here's what it looks like at the start with parts together.
Do a few of them. About three per serving. Use the larger cut for the meal, save the smaller for something else. Put the bones in the freezer for... you guessed it, stock! Since the sauce is prepared separately we want it to be ready when the lamb is done. There is not much to it. It is just a simple wine reduction to which demiglace or stock is later added and reduced until it reaches sauce consistency. (consider it my first sauce for some) First get about a cup of wine into a pan. I like using a stainless steel pan for reducing acids.
Then reduce it. Stand back, it might flame up. I've dimmed the lights a bit for effect. Cue background music. (Sibelius Symphony no. 1)
You want to reduce this until it is the consistency of light syrup.
After it has reduced, add beef stock or beef demiglace and allow it to reduce until it's about the same consistency as above. If you don't have demiglace laying around you can get 1.5oz packages of demiglace at Byerly's or Lund's in the spice aisle. Next prepare the lamb in the same manner as described in the Beef Made Easy post. Today's basting aromatics are sage, couple sprigs of thyme, a little rosemary, and garlic.
Turn the heat up to high and allow the pan to get hot. Put some oil in the pan and salt and pepper the lamb medallions. Because they are only about an two ounces each they'll cook quickly so put them as if they're all one big happy uncut steak.
When they are nice and brown on one side, turn them over, add a dollop of butter, turn the heat down to medium and baste it once in awhile. They will be about rare to med-rare when the other side is browned. Continue basting for about a minute or so if you want them medium. That's about as far as I'd go. Remove and allow to rest while you finish your sauce. Look at that, still in formation.
A note about how to finish your sauce. TASTE TASTE TASTE! Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. It will taste a little tangy, astringent, and meaty at first but as you add the salt it will pull together. Add a pat of butter. Taste again. Season again if necessary. You're probably thinking "Wow! This guy cooks with a lot of butter!"
Well yeah, but only when necessary. In this case the butter gives the sauce a nice shine and a silky texture. Don't be afraid of butter.
Once you're satisfied with the seasoning go ahead and plate it. I used a simple salad made with pears and mixed spring greens. Dress it lightly before you put it on the plate. As you can see it makes a nice and elegant but not too fussed over presentation. I see a tasty inkblot. What do you see?