MARRAKESH SITAR REVERSED SEARED RACK OF LAMB

By Trent Blodgett

During my visit to Morocco I found myself consumed with finding the perfect recipe for the spice known as Ras el Hanout, a popular blend translating to “top shelf” in Arabic — top shelf referring to the highest quality spices in a merchant’s larder. It gives tagine, b’stilla and marinades that quintessentially “Moroccan” flavor we’ve all come to crave. I racked my brain and asked many home cooks and professional chefs for their secret, and they always smiled and diverted their gaze. I finally came up with a delicious version, with a little help from an unsuspecting local who shared his lamb stew and some of his special ingredients while playing us his sitar. I serve this Marrakesh Sitar lamb with chermoula — a herb-centric sauce centered around parsley, cilantro and mint — and glazed carrots.

Prep time: ~ 12 hours (overnight marinade)

Cook time: 45–60 minutes

EQUIPMENT

Sheet pan or roasting pan fitted with wire rack

Large heavy bottomed cast iron pan

Tongs

TIPS/THINGS TO REMEMBER

  • Seasoning the meat the day before and leaving uncovered over a wire rack dries out the exterior of the meat which aids in browning, helps retain moisture and seasons the meat throughout with salt but even a few hours is better than nothing
  • Variations in size and thickness of the rack of lamb accounts for the variation in cook time — use a reliable meat thermometer to be sure
  • Letting the meat rest ensures all the juices will be retained and the meat will not overcook during the final reverse sear
  • Basting helps coat your final result with all those beautiful juices and fats
  • Roasting over a wire rack helps the heat circulate around the meat, aiding in even cooking and browning but you can also use a oven pan.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2–3 lb rack of lamb
  • 1–2 Tbsp Marrakesh Sitar
  • Kosher salt
  • Oil to coat pan
  • 3 Tbsp butter

STEPS

  1. Season lamb with salt and Marrakesh Sitar. Place on a wire rack over a sheet pan in the refrigerator overnight. Leaving it uncovered dries out the exterior for searing.
  2. Heat oven to 200°F (convection preferred) and roast, fat side up, until thickest part reads 115°F, 35–55 minutes. Roast over wire rack for best results.
  3. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Heat a cast iron skillet to very high heat and add a splash of oil to coat the bottom.
  5. Sear lamb on all sides, flipping frequently to brown all edges, but being careful not to burn the spices, about 5 minutes.
  6. Turn off heat and add butter. Baste for about 2 min or until internal temperature reads 125–130°F for medium rare.
  7. Remove from pan and rest for about one minute. Slice between chops or double chops.
  8. Serve with glazed carrots and chermoula.

GLAZED CARROTS

This recipe is hands down the best for carrots. The carrot juice adds that extra punch that makes the honey glaze so delectable. You can juice and strain your own carrots, or buy freshly prepared juice from your local produce market or grocery.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

EQUIPMENT

Large sauté pan with lid

Wooden spoon or tongs

TIPS/THINGS TO REMEMBER

  • To reduce the glaze after the carrots have almost finished cooking, it is important to keep the heat up to boil off extra liquid
  • It’s important to monitor the sauce as you are reducing, because over-reducing may cause the honey to begin to burn

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bunch small/ medium sized carrots, peeled and tops trimmed
  • ⅓ cup carrot juice
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice

STEPS

  1. In a large sauté pan, Add everything but the lemon juice and heat to medium until the liquid begins to simmer.
  2. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until carrots are tender but still crisp — 8–10 minutes.
  3. Remove cover, add lemon juice and increase heat to reduce liquid to a thick glaze that coats carrots- 2–3 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately.

CHERMOULA YOGURT SAUCE

Chermoula is the North African counterpart to Italian Salsa Verde or Argentine Chimichurri. The addition of mint and the Marrakesh Sitar blend gives it that characteristic Moroccan flair to set it apart and pair with the lamb. Chermoula is a delicious accompaniment to all types of meats, fish and vegetables. The addition of yogurt gives it the chermoula a creamy consistency but can certainly be left out with just as successful results.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: N/A

EQUIPMENT

Food processor

Spatula

Lemon juicer

TIPS/THINGS TO REMEMBER

  • A coarse chop of the herbs before they get pulsed will assure they aren’t over bruised or end up with a puréed consistency
  • Zest the whole lemon first, then cut in half and juice the rest. Depending on the season, the lemon will most likely produce more juice than this recipe calls for
  • Take care to strain your lemon juice before adding to remove seed particles which can impart a bitter flavor
  • This recipe only takes a few pulses in the food processor to adequately blend
  • Remove the chermoula into a bowl before folding in the yogurt to retain the rustic texture of the sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup chopped mint
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp of Marrakesh Sitar
  • Zest and juice of 1–2 lemon (about 2–4 tsp of zest and 2–3 tbsp of juice)
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • ¼ cup of Greek yogurt (optional)

STEPS

  1. Add herbs, garlic, Marrakesh Sitar, lemon juice and zest to the food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
  2. Add olive oil and pulse a couple more times.
  3. Add salt to taste.
  4. Remove sauce from food processor into a mixing bowl and fold in the yogurt (optional).
  5. Serve immediately, or cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 7 days.

MARRAKESH SITAR REVERSED SEARED RACK OF LAMB was originally published in Spice Tribe on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.