Sunday, July 3, 2011

Grilled Lamb Porterhouse with Fig-Cascabel Sauce

I guess I should start by being up front and let you know that my sauce was not a Fig-Cascabel sauce....I never could figure out where to by cascabel chiles and couldn't figure out any real chile substitute, so I added some chile paste that I had on hand and crossed my fingers.

I should also be honest and admit that I have not idea what Lamb Porterhouse is or if that is, indeed what I bought. I figured that lamb chops are lamb chops, but I'm not sure if a porterhouse lamb chop is a"special" kind, but I got the cheapest chop Whole Foods had, and again crossed my fingers.

Luckily it all worked.


Well, almost.

Here's how I made it!

Bobby Flay's Grilled Lamb


  • lamb porterhouse chops, 4 to 5 ounces each (I used 5, which ended up being more than enough - I ate a little over one, Ed had 2, so we had another meal out of this)
  • 2 tablespoons pure olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fig-Cascabel Sauce, recipe follows
  • Flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish (forgot this the first night)
  • Fig-Cascabel Sauce:
  • 1 cup chopped dried figs
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup port wine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup cascabel chile puree
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • Touch of honey
  • The first part of dinner that I wanted to tackle was the sauce for the lamb. The recipe sounded more complex than what I usually do, but it seemed like it would be just fine to make ahead and then reheat before dinner.

However, the sauce took me over an hour!!! The issue with the sauce is the word "reduce."

Now, this word in itself isn't an issue - it's not hard to reduce a sauce and it's a pretty common step. However, the problem lies in the number of times the word is used.

Four times.

That's a lot of reduction.

Thankfully it was delicious and, I would say, worth the effort.

To start, I put 1 1/2 cups of red wine vinegar and a 1/2 cup of port in a saucepan and reduced it by half. While that was going, I took my figs ( 1 cup of dried figs that I rehydrated in boiling water for about 30 minutes) and put them in the food processor. I added a half cup of the liquid that the figs were in and pulsed it until I had a thick fig paste.

After the sauce reduced by half, I added the figs, a cup of sugar, and a cup of orange juice.

Again, I reduced by half. Here is where things got interesting, though. This mixture was thick and as it reduced, giant bubbles of hot sugary liquid kept popping and spewing sauce everywhere! I finally half covered the top with a lid to reduce damage.

During this second reduction, I got 4 cups of chicken stock going, with about a teaspoon of hot chili paste. I was supposed to use cebascal chilies for this, but couldn't find them, so I figured this would work (and it did - it was spicy but good). I got this boiling as well, and also reduced it by half.

Once both of these were reduced, I added the fig mixture to the stock mixture and...wait for it....reduced it by half (were you surprised?).  I also added a bit of honey. 

Once it got reduced, I had to strain the sauce. I got most of it through, but was left behind with a thick seeded paste that was very tasty! Instead of tossing it, we used it as a spread with appetizers and it was delicious.

After it was strained, you were supposed to reduce it again, but I just put it in the fridge to wait for dinner (by this point, it was 6:30, Ed was home, and I supposed to have gotten relaxed, prettied up, and have appetizers ready. Oh well, the best laid plans).

What was left of our sauce the second day. It may not look like much, but it was delicious!

After we enjoyed appetizers and exchanged presents, it was back to the kitchen for part two, the grilling. Luckily, the grilling itself was relatively straight forward. First I brushed the meat with olive oil on both sides, and seasoned with salt and pepper. Then, with my grill pan on high, I grilled it for 3 minutes on each side. I like to error on the rarer side when I cook meat, but for some reason, I always have trouble under cooking lamb. Sure enough, when I cut into it, it was more or less raw inside. So, back on the grill it went, though it did end up staying rare. I figured it was very high quality meat, so we didn't need to worry too much. 

It's amazing how such simple preparations can produce such delicious meat (though it helped that I got Whole Foods' grass fed meat - very high quality and reasonably priced! It was only $12 for all 5 pieces, which ended up producing 2 meals. While I love filet mignon, this was much more cost effective and just as delicious). 

To plate it, I spooned a few tablespoons of sauce on the plate, and then placed the chops on top of the pool of deliciousness, and put a few more spoonfuls of sauce over the meat for good measure. 
Finally, add that parsley (if you can remember!)

While the sauce was a huge endeavor, I more or less forgot how much work it took while we were eating it. Ed even commented that we'd never have to buy fig jam again; we could just make it! This won't ever be a easy week night recipe, but I would be willing to make this again, because it was just that delicious. In the future, I'd make the sauce at least a day in advance, to save myself the pressure on the day of - it kept perfectly and, excepting the sauce, this was a very easy and quick meal!

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