Flicks & Food with The Domestic Diva: AVATAR Grass-Fed Lamb with Honey Balsamic Reduction

IMG_5204 I'm happy to report that James Cameron once again rules the world.

In case you've had your head buried under a large rock, AVATAR is Cameron's 3-D masterpiece that just scooped up the Golden Globes for Best Picture and Director, oh yeah, and it's made about a gazillion bucks at the box office (and still going).  I'll confess my inner geek here and admit that I love this flick, hippie save the earth message, giant blue humanoids and all.  

So this week, James Cameron is going to rule my GeekWeek column, too!  Beethoven had his Ode to Joy; I have my Ode to Avatar.  I'm going with the whole one with nature, kumbaya, save the earth theme here.  There's a poignant scene in the movie where Jake Sully brings down a deer-like alien monster with a bow and arrow, and then quickly rushes over to it and says a prayer before cleanly killing it. The Navi believe in respecting the source of all their food, and so do I.  After all, my blog Domestic Divas is focused on local, organic food, and I only cook humanely raised meat.

So channeling this AVATAR inspiration, I'm writing up a recipe using grass-fed, humanely raised rack of lamb that I procured from Healthy Family Farms, CSA, a local collective of small family farms.  Their lamb is raised without the use of antibiotics or hormones, and it's entirely grass-fed. It's also the best lamb I have EVER tasted, mild, tender as butter, toothsome, in a word, superb

To prepare the lamb, I encrusted it with rosemary and made a quick reduction sauce in the pan where I seared the lamb with local raw honey, balsamic vinegar, red wine and organic beef stock.  I know, reduction, sounds kind of scary, but this was super freaking simple and worth every ounce of effort.  The lamb holds up beautifully to the rich, sweet, savory sauce, soaking up the flavors.

As I write this, I realize that this recipe is not only an Ode to Avatar, but an Ode to Earth, showing what's possible when you cook with the highest quality, local ingredients, from raw honey, to grass fed lamb, to organic beef stock.  The proof is in the pudding, so to speak, and if you give this recipe a shot, you'll understand what I'm talking about.  So before you tear into a rib bone, say a little Navi prayer and give thanks for the source of your food.  I promise it'll taste that much better!

AVATAR Grass-Fed Lamb with Honey Balsamic Reduction
Serves 2 people
Cooking time: 30 minutes

4 grass-fed rack of lamb pieces (2 bones each) or 1 rack of lamb
2 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon grapeseed oil or canola oil

balsamic-honey sauce:
1 tablespoon honey (preferably, a good quality raw honey)
1 tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar (such as, Villa Manodori)
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup organic beef stock

To prepare the lamb, rub it with the rosemary, garlic and olive oil and sprinkle it with salt and pepper on all sides.

In a saute pan, heat the grapeseed oil or canola oil over high heat until almost smoking.  Add the lamb pieces and reduce heat to medium-high. Cook the lamb on all sides, until golden brown and cooked medium rare.  Remove from heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Note: if working with a whole rack of lamb (not just pieces), I recommend searing the lamb stove top and then finishing it in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the rack.

While the lamb is resting, prepare the sauce by draining all but 1 teaspoon of the fat from the saute pan where the lamb was cooked.  Over medium heat, add the honey and balsamic to the pan and whisk together.  Cook for 1 minute, then add the red wine.  Stir to combine and simmer until reduced in half.  Next, add the beef stock and simmer until reduced to a syrupy sauce.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

To plate, place two pieces of lamb on a plate and drizzle with the sauce.  Enjoy!

Wine Pairing

I’m a big time Rhone girl, and this dish just scrams for a big, meaty red wine.  I'd suggest Tablas Creek 2007 Cote de Tablas, which was rated a whopping 93 points by Robert Parker and retails for a mere $25/bottle ($20/bottle if you're a member of their wine club).  It's a big wine, and I'd suggest decanting it at this young age.

While Tablas Creek is a Central Coast California winery, they make primarily Rhone blends, both red and white.  One of the best wineries around if you ask me, and also one of the best deals for this quality of wine.

DD profile pic About the Author
JENNIFER DAWN ROGERS … A graduate of Harvard University and a former film development executive, Jennifer cooks and writes in Los Angeles.  In 2009, she launched her blog Domestic Divas (www.domesticdivasblog.com), which focuses on local, organic cooking and wine reviews.  She is currently writing her first novel.

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