Kitchen at the End of the Universe: Lamb Rack (with Mensa Wines)

So this meal was inspired by our visit to Overhex Winery in Worcester (read more here: Overhex Winery… and Meeting Mensa/). We bought the Mensa Chardonnay/Pinot Noir, and the Cabernet Sauvignon, and really appreciated the wines’ straightforward nature.

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As such, we decided on some straightforward food to go with it.

I was never really a fan of veggies. Literally any veggies. And if my food would touch a piece of veggie somewhere, I would throw a proper big boy tantrum. Recently things have changed, though. I’ve started to try some veggies: I will still steer waaaaaaay clear of anything remotely related to a pumpkin. One of the veggies I’ve really warmed to is asparagus. I like the crunch and the earthy taste, and knew it would go really well with the Chard/Pinot Noir.

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This is the easiest thing to make. You’ll need fresh asparagus spears, and a piece of bacon for each. Wrap the spear, and then roast in a 180C oven until the bacon goes crispy. Easy as that!

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The Mensa Cab is a bit more full bodied, so needs something a bit more substantial. I’ve never tried a rack of lamb, so when I found one at Boma butchery in Garsfontein, I jumped at the chance. The rack was already Frenched (which is the stripping of the bones and covering in foil), which helped, because I don’t think I have the patience to do it myself.

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With lamb, I prefer to keep it very simple. All you need is salt, pepper, rosemary, and olive oil (garlic is also a good call). Rub the rack with oil, and cover with the salt, pepper, and a few sprigs of fresh rosemary. I popped it on an oven rack into the gas braai on indirect heat. Timing here is everything; 15 minutes should do it for medium-rare. The best tip here is to get a thermometer, and check your rack around the 12 minute mark – you want around 62C for medium-rare. Very important: once it’s done, cover with foil, and let it rest for 10 minutes.

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The Mensa Cab just loved the rosemary on the rack.

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This is not a subtle, delicate dish, and the wine definitely thanked it for that. It’s such a complementary pairing, perfect for a lazy Sunday lunch. I’ll admit I was a bit intimidated by trying a rack of lamb myself, but it really isn’t difficult. The key is to not overcook it, and sip some lovely wine with it once it’s done.   

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