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Menu: Roast Lamb/ Crispy Potatoes/ Chocolate Soup
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Menu: Roast Lamb/ Crispy Potatoes/ Chocolate Soup


From the TV Show, Take Home Chef

Roasted Rack of Lamb with Parsley, Dijon and Chives Accompanied by Provencal Ratatouille

Serves 4


For the ratatouille:

3 tablespoons/45 ml olive oil
2 large shallots, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
½ eggplant, finely diced
2 zucchini, finely diced
½ small red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
½ small yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
¼ cup/55 ml dry red wine
1 pound/450 g ripe plum tomatoes (about 6), finely diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup/8 g thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

For the lamb:

Two 1 1/4- to 1 1/2-pound/575- to 700-g well-trimmed racks of lamb (each with 8 bones)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons/15 ml extra virgin olive oil
½ cup/10 g finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
½ cup/10 g finely chopped fresh chives
3 tablespoons/45 g Dijon mustard


To prepare the ratatouille:

Place a medium sized saucepan over a medium heat, then drizzle with the olive oil. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes or until tender. Add the eggplant, zucchini and bell peppers and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the eggplant is tender.

Add the red wine then the tomatoes and cook for a further 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the tomatoes are soft and broken down. Season the ratatouille generously to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in the basil and remove from the heat. Cover and keep warm.

Meanwhile, to prepare the lamb:

Preheat the oven to 450°F/230°C. Place a large heavy based frying pan over a high heat. Sprinkle the lamb with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle 1 tablespoon/15 ml of extra virgin olive oil into the hot pan and place 1 lamb rack, meat side down in the pan. Sear until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the lamb rack to a heavy baking sheet, meat side up. Repeat with the remaining lamb rack.

Roast the lamb racks for 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the lamb registers 130°F for medium to rare. Transfer the lamb to a platter and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle the parsley and chives evenly over a plate. Spread the Dijon mustard over the meat side of the lamb racks then press the mustard-coated side of the lamb firmly into the herbs, creating a green herb crust.

To serve:

Divide the ratatouille among 4 serving plates. Carve the lamb between the bones into individual chops. Place 3 to 4 chops of lamb on each serving plate and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon/15 ml of extra virgin olive oil and any accumulated juices from the lamb and the pan, and serve.

Spiced Crispy Potatoes

Serves 4


½ teaspoon/.5 g ground coriander seeds
½ teaspoon/.5 g ground cumin seeds
½ teaspoon/.5 g ground fennel seeds
½ teaspoon/.5 g dried red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon/.5 g ground paprika
½ teaspoon/.5 g ground turmeric
2 pounds/900 g fingerling potatoes (about 16)
6 tablespoons/90 ml olive oil


Place a medium sized sauté pan over medium to high heat. Add the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds and stir for about 2 minutes or until the seeds are toasted and fragrant.

Transfer the seeds to a spice grinder and cool slightly. Add the red pepper flakes and pulse until the spices are finely ground. Pulse in the paprika and turmeric. Set the spice mixture aside.

Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a rapid boil. Add the potatoes and cook for about 15 minutes or until just tender when pierced with a skewer. Remove the potatoes from the water and place them on a work surface to cool for 10 minutes.

Using a small saucepan or flat-bottomed cup and working with one potato at a time, smash each a potato on the work surface. Place two large nonstick sauté pans over medium-high heat then drizzle the olive oil over the hot pans.

Add the potatoes to the hot pans, dividing equally, and sprinkle the spice mixture over the potatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes per side or until the potatoes are crisp and golden brown. Season the potatoes generously with salt. Transfer to plates or a platter and serve immediately.

Chocolate and Mint Soup with Melting Chocolate Croutons

Serves 6


For the Melting Chocolate Croutons:

Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray
1/2 stick (1/4 cup)/55 g unsalted butter
2 ounces/55 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped
1 large free-range egg
1 large free-range egg yolk
1/4 cup/55 g sugar
2 tablespoons/20 g all purpose flour, sifted
Pinch of salt

For the Chocolate and Mint Soup:

2 cups/465 ml whole milk
1 1/4 cups/295 ml heavy whipping cream
1/2 bunch fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
10 ounces/275 g semisweet chocolate, chopped
Additional heavy whipping cream, for garnish
Whole small mint leaves, for garnish


To make the melting chocolate croutons:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Stir the chocolate and butter in a heavy small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg, egg yolk and sugar in a large bowl until pale and doubled in volume. This will take about 3 to 5 minutes.

Fold in the melted chocolate mixture. Add the flour and salt and stir with a whisk until smooth. Spoon into the prepared muffin cups, dividing equally.

At this point, the chocolate croutons can be made 8 hours ahead and refrigerated, then baked just before serving. Bake for 5 minutes, or until slightly puffed and just set around the sides (a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes should come out with batter attached). Let the croutons rest for 3 to 4 minutes then unmold.

Meanwhile, to prepare the chocolate and mint soup:

Combine the milk, 1 1/4 cups/295 ml of cream, and the coarsely chopped mint in a medium saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat then cover and let steep for 5 minutes.

Strain the cream mixture into a large bowl. Add the chocolate and stir with a whisk until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Pour the hot soup into 6 bowls. Place 3 warm chocolate croutons into each bowl. Reserve the remaining croutons for nibbling. Drizzle with the additional cream then garnish with the whole mint leaves and serve.

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Chocolate SOUP?