These lamb steaks have a snappy coating of cracked peppercorns and a buttery sauce flavored with red wine, blueberries, rosemary, and red currant jelly. Serve these steaks with a simple and colorful assortment of roasted root vegetables. Choose a wine featuring a berry or plum flavor such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz. If you prefer a malt beverage, try an American style brown ale to go with the lamb and sauce.
4 Tbsp butter (60 g)
2 Tbsp shallots, chopped fine (30 g)
1 cup red wine (240 mL)
1 cup blueberries (150 g)
4 Tbsp red currant jelly (40 mL)
1 tsp very finely chopped fresh rosemary (5 mL)
Salt to taste
Lamb, 4 servings
4 lamb steaks, 8-10 oz each, cut from the leg (230-300 g)
Salt for seasoning
8 tsp black peppercorns, cracked (40 mL)
1 Tbsp butter (15 g)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil (15 mL)
2 lb assorted root vegetables (900 g)
2 carrots, peeled, cut into pieces ½ inch thick (13 mm)
1 medium beet, peeled, cut into ½ inch pieces (13 mm)
4 Red Bliss Potatoes, cut in quarters
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into quarters
8 cloves garlic, peeled
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
Salt to taste
Melt 2 tablespoons (30 g) butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add the shallots and rosemary, cook until shallots have softened. Pour in the wine, add the blueberries, increase the heat, and reduce by 2/3. Lower heat to medium, add the currant jelly, stir until it is melted; reduce the sauce by half. Remove from the heat, reserve. Just before serving, reheat and swirl in the remaining butter until smooth, season to taste. The deep color and sheen of this sauce is striking.
Use a mallet, the bottom of an iron skillet, or mortar and pestle, to crack the peppercorns. For my money, a mallet is the best tool for the job. The result should be fairly coarse. Spread the cracked peppercorns across your cutting board and press the steaks into them. Turn the steaks over and repeat. Figure on 1 tsp (5 mL) cracked peppercorns per side. Press down the peppercorns with your fingers to make sure they adhere.
Heat the butter and vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the fat is hot, add the steaks and cook until pearls of juice appear on the surface, about 5 minutes. Turn the steaks over and cook until they resist your touch slightly. Beads of juice will appear on the surface of the meat again, indicating that the steaks are rare. Cook for another minute if you prefer medium-rare. Total cooking time is about 8 minutes. At any point during the cooking, if the steaks seem to be burning, reduce the heat. Place the steaks on individual plates, and arrange the root vegetables around the steaks. Reheat the sauce, swirl in the butter, and spoon over the lamb. Serve at once.
Preheat oven to 400° F (205° C)
Start with 2 pounds of assorted root vegetables. Included here is a basic selection of carrots, beets, potatoes, onions and garlic. You might include celery root, parsnips, turnips, rutabaga, sweet potatoes and any of the colorful varieties of these vegetables. After peeling and trimming 2 pounds will become about 1½ pounds (680 g).
Toss the vegetables (except the garlic) with the oil and arrange in a single layer on a sheet pan. If you are using purple beets, keep them aside. After putting the other vegetables on the baking sheet, toss the beets in the oil clinging to the sides of the bowl, and place separately on the sheet pan. This is to prevent the beets from coloring all of the vegetables purple. The beets will stain whatever they touch. I generally peel and cut purple beets on a paper plate.
Roast vegetables for 20 minutes, toss the garlic with the remaining oil clinging to the bowl, and add to the sheet pan. Garlic requires only half the time to cook as the other vegetables. Cook for another 20 minutes, remove from the oven, and sprinkle evenly with salt. It is best to salt the vegetables after cooking. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve.