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Category: Main courses

Sichuan spiced lamb

Sichuan spiced lamb

The phone starts buzzing. It’s 6 a.m. Who is texting this early? The message reads: “12-pound bird. What temp? Stuffing in or out?” It is Thanksgiving, I realize. For the next several hours, my phone turns in to the de ... Read more

Total time: 70 to 90 minutes | Serves 12
  • 1/4 cup cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, divided
  • 5 Chinese dried red chiles, divided
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, divided
  • 2 1/2 star anise pods, divided
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • Five 3½ - to 4-pound racks of lamb, or six 1½ - to 2-pound racks, Frenched, excess fat trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil, plus more for brushing
  • Chinese dark soy sauce, for brushing
  • 2 cups veal stock or 1 cup veal demi-glace mixed with 1 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon doubanjiang
  • One 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon black cardamom pods
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cubed
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 small shallots, thinly sliced crosswise into rings
  • Wondra flour, for dusting
  • Vegetable oil
  • Scallions, thinly sliced, for serving
  • 2 Fresno chiles, thinly sliced, for serving

Step 1In a skillet, toast the cumin, black peppercorns, 2 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns, 4 dried chiles, 1 ½ teaspoons fennel seeds and 2 star anise pods over moderate heat, stirring until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Let cool, then finely grind. Transfer to a bowl and mix with the onion and garlic powders and ginger. This can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature overnight.

Step 2Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Set 2 wire racks over each of 2 rimmed baking sheets. Lightly brush the lamb all over with oil and then with the soy sauce. Rub the spice mixture all over the lamb. In a skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. In batches, sear the racks until browned on both sides, about 2 minutes per batch. Transfer to the baking sheets.

Step 3Roast the lamb until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 135 degrees, 25 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the racks. Let rest for 15 minutes.

Step 4In a saucepan, combine the veal stock, ginger, garlic, doubanjiang, cinnamon, sugar, cloves, cardamom, and the remaining Sichuan peppercorns, dried chile, star anise and fennel seeds. Simmer over moderate heat until reduced to 1 cup, 15 to 30 minutes. Whisk in the butter and season with ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste; strain into a bowl and keep warm. The sauce can be made in advance, refrigerated overnight and reheated before serving.

Step 5In a shallow bowl, dust the shallot rings with Wondra flour. In a high sided pan, heat 1½ inches of vegetable oil over medium-high heat to 325 degrees. Fry the shallot rings until golden and crisp, about 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.

Step 6Carve the lamb into chops and drizzle with the sauce. Garnish with scallions, sliced red chiles and crispy shallots and serve.

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