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Charlie Trotter's Peppered Lamb Loin
with Polenta, Ratatouille, and Bell
Pepper-Infused Lamb Stock Reduction



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"You have a finite number of mouthfuls in your life.
I want to make every one count."

~ Chef Charlie Trotter

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La Belle Cuisine


Peppered Lamb Loin with Polenta,
Ratatouille, and Bell Pepper-Infused
Lamb Stock Reduction

Charlie Trotter's

by Charlie Trotter, 1994, Ten Speed Press

“Off and on, I have served this dish in one form or another since the
restaurant first opened, and it has always been hugely successful.
In this version, the Ratatouille and crispy polenta make the perfect
backdrop for the succulent, peppery lamb. Though it is not absolutelyy
necessary, I like to serve it with a little Rouille for an added tang.”

Serves 4

One 12- to 16-ounce trimmed lamb loin
6 or 7 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons cracked black pepper
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 bunch thyme sprigs
1 1/2 cups hot cooked polenta
5 to 6 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon chopped herbs (e.g.,
osemary, thyme, basil, etc.)
2 tablespoons diced Roasted Red Bell Pepper *
4 shallots, peeled and chopped
1 bunch spinach (about 8 cups),
stemmed and cleaned
Salt and pepper
Ratatouille (recipe follows)
Bell Pepper-Infused Lamb Stock Reduction
(recipe follows)
Rouille (recipe follows)
3 tablespoons julienned Roasted Red Bell Pepper *
Thyme for garnish

* Roasted Bell Peppers: Coat 4 bell peppers with 3 tablespoons olive oil.
Place on an open grill [or broil in the oven] and roast until they turn black
on one side, about 2 minutes; turn, and repeat. Place the roasted peppers
in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand for 5 minutes. The skin
should then peel off quite easily. Seed the peppers and cut to the
desired size.


Toss the lamb loin with 4 tablespoons of olive oil, cracked pepper, garlic, cumin, and thyme, and marinate overnight.
Mix soft, just-cooked polenta with a tablespoon of butter, herbs, and diced
bell pepper. Smooth the mixture out on a flat surface about 1/3 inch thick, cover with plastic wrap, and cool for several hours.
Sauté the shallots in 1 tablespoon of butter until soft; add the spinach and continue cooking for a couple of minutes until the spinach is just wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat, sear the lamb on
all sides for 2 to 3 minutes, then finish in a 450-degree [F] oven for 8 to
10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 3 to 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut out four 3 1/2-inch circles of polenta (or desired shape),
and sauté them in butter or olive oil until crispy.


Place a small mound of Ratatouille in the center of each plate. Place a little sautéed spinach on each mound and top with a crispy disk of polenta. Top
the polenta with about 2 tablespoons of Ratatouille. Slice the lamb loin and
fan out the slices on top of the polenta. Place a small amount of Rouille in
the center of the lamb. Drizzle a small amount of sauce on each plate, and garnish with the julienned red pepper and fresh thyme leaves. For a precise presentation, layer the Ratatouille, spinach and polenta inside a 3 1/2-inch cutter.


4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup diced onion
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium tomatoes, concassée *
1 medium red bell pepper
1 small fennel bulb
1/2 medium eggplant
2 small zucchini
Salt and pepper

[* peeled, seeded and diced tomato]

Method:  Sweat the garlic and onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Purée and strain, discarding the solids.
Cut the pepper, fennel, eggplant and zucchini into a very fine julienne and sauté them one by one in a little olive oil until they are just cooked.
Combine all the cooked vegetables with the tomato sauce, season with
salt and pepper, and set aside. Reheat just before serving.

Bell Pepper-Infused Lamb Stock Reduction

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cups Lamb Stock (recipe follows)

Method:  Place the bell pepper in a saucepan with the stock. Slowly
reduce down to 1/3 cup and strain. Reheat before serving.

Lamb Stock

15 pounds lamb bones
2 onions, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 stalks celery, peeled and chopped
1 head garlic, cut in half
1 celery root [celeriac], peeled and chopped
1 fennel bulb, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped

Method:  Roast the lamb bones [450°F] until browned. Place the bones
and vegetables in a large pot. Cover with cold water (about 5 quarts) and
bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 4 hours, skimming away
any impurities that rise to the top. Strain and reduce [cook rapidly,
uncovered] to about 1/2 quarts.


Tiny pinch of saffron threads
1 egg yolk
2 cloves Roasted Garlic *
2 to 3 tablespoons Roasted Red Bell Pepper,
chopped [see above]
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 to 2/3 cup grapeseed oil
Salt and white pepper

* Place 2 heads garlic, unpeeled, in a small saucepan. Add 1 1/2 cups milk (or
enough to cover), bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes. Put the garlic in
a small ovenproof container, add 1 1.2 cups olive oil (or enough to cover), and
top with foil. Bake at 250 degreed [F] for 3 hours or until very soft.

Method:  Steep the saffron in 2 teaspoons warm water for 2 or 3 minutes.
In a food processor, blend the yolk, garlic, bell pepper, mustard, and saffron for 30 seconds or so. With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil, then the grapeseed oil, until you achieve a desired consistency (like mayonnaise). Season with salt and white pepper. Refrigerate until used.

Egg Safety Information

Wine Notes: The warm Provençal flavors of the Ratatouille and the soft, sweet element of the polenta seem perfect for a ripe, red Mediterranean wine. Rich
lamb loin with pepper begs for one from southern France. A hearty southern
Rhône can work well, but the ideal flavors come from a Mourvèdre-based
wine. Bandol, with its dense, meaty earthiness, can shine; and in particular,
the unique wines of Domaine Tempier will make this dish sing.

Featured Archive Recipe:
Charlie Trotter's Mediterranean-Inspired Beef Tenderloin
with Quinoa and Red Wine-Black Olive Vinaigrette

Ratatouille Riot!

More Lagniappe Recipes!
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