Recipe: Roast rack of lamb with creamy rice with parsnips

A recipe and wine match from Daring pairings by Evan Goldstein

January 25th, 2011


Just as the tempranillo grape absorbs the rich fruity notes of its terroir, a grass-fed lamb takes on the flavor and ecology of the pasture. Together, the combination is earthy and fragrant – and perfect with the creaminess of the parsnips.

The sweet richness of the rice (in this dish) brings out the fruit in the wine and tames those young version of tempranillo with sharper acid. If you like your lamb rare, this is a great dish to show off an aged reserva or gran reserva; if you prefer longer-cooked chops, younger wines that display ripe fruit (joven, crianza, or New World examples) may be better partners.


Roast Rack of Lamb with Creamy Rice with Parsnips

Dan Barber – Blue Hill, New York City, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, New York

Makes 4 to 6 main-course servings


1 cup basmati rice

2 cups water

1 and a half teaspoons canola oil

Half a pound parsnips (2 small), peeled and cut into half inch chunks (about 1 cup)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 and three-quarter cups vegetable stock, or as needed

Chopped fresh chives for garnish


Canola oil for searing

2 (8-bone) lamb racks

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 425°F for the lamb, then begin cooking the rice. In a saucepan, combine the rice and water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the water has been fully absorbed and the rice is tender, 17 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. You should have about 3 cups cooked rice.

In another saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the parsnips, season with salt and pepper, and sauté gently until beginning to soften, about 10 minutes. Do not allow the parsnips to color. Add 1 and a half cups of the stock and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, until the parsnips are tender and the stock has reduced by about half, 5 to 10 minutes.

Transfer the parsnips and their cooking liquid to a blender and process until smooth. If the purée is too thick to flow freely, add a little more stock. You should have about 1 cup purée. Set aside.

Begin roasting the lamb while the rice is cooking. Film the bottom of a large skillet with the canola oil and place over medium-high heat until hot. Season both sides of the lamb racks liberally with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, place the racks, fat side down, in the pan and sear until golden brown on the first side, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and sear on the second side until browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, place in the oven, and roast for 20 minutes for medium-rare, or until done to your liking.

Remove the racks from the oven, transfer to a cutting board, tent lightly with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

To finish the rice, in a saucepan, combine the 3 cups cooked rice and the remaining 1 and a quarter cups stock over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add the 1 cup parsnip puree, stir well, and heat until piping hot. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Transfer to a warmed serving dish.

Cut the racks into individual chops, divide among warmed plates, and serve at once. Sprinkle the chives over the rice and pass at the table.


Reproduced with permission of University of California Press © Evan Goldstein 2010

Read our full review of Daring Pairings here »

Daring Pairings by Evan Goldstein is published by University of California Press (Berkeley and LA; 2010; hb 353 pp) and retails for RRP US$34.95  or RRP A$55.95 in Australia.

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