From Field to Fork with Chef Sarah Master

Barbette Executive Chef Sarah Master. Photo: Jamie Schumacher
Barbette Executive Chef Sarah Master. Photo: Jamie Schumacher

This post is sponsored by Shepherd Song Farm / Interviewed by Monica Walch of Dinner on the Farm

Lamb is one of those things you see in the market or at the butcher shop and might be tempted to buy, if only you knew how to cook it, right? Monica Walch sat down with executive chef Sarah Master of Barbette’s to discuss methods of cooking grass fed lamb at home. The discussion started with the “middle” cuts* as Shepherd Song has noticed that these are the most popular products purchased from their online store.

(Note: *Middle cut is restaurant-speak for lamb rib, loin chops, or other cuts from the premium, mid-section of the carcass.)

Cooking the Popular Middle Cuts: Sarah suggests the following, high-temperature, roasting technique for serving perfect lamb chops. In this recipe the meat is browned on all sides on the stove top before being roasted to perfection in the oven.

  1. Allow lamb loin or rib chops to warm to room temperature or to a minimum of 50°F internal temperature. (Tip: If frozen, thaw in water or refrigerator. Please do not thaw by microwave.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  3. Lightly season with salt and pepper. (Tip: When you salt before browning the salt combines within the surface, enhancing the flavor. Salting after cooking results in a separate salt layer with less interesting flavor profiles.)
  4. Optional: add seasoning of your choice or your favorite rub.
  5. Sear the outside of the meat in a hot pan, browning it on all sides. (Tip: This will develop a rich, caramelized surface.)
  6. Roast in the oven for about 6-10 minutes until the inner temperature reaches 130°F.
  7. Remove from the oven and cover lightly with aluminum foil (Tip: The aluminum foil prevents the chops from cooling too fast).
  8. Allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes. (Tip: Resting allows the juices to be reabsorbed from the surface to the interior. The higher surface temperature of the meat also comes to equilibrium with the inside temperature, allowing for the flavors to be at their best.)

Serve and enjoy!

Juicy loin chops. Photo: Jamie Schumacher
Juicy loin chops. Photo: Jamie Schumacher

Lamb Chops on Barbette’s Menu: Smooth celeriac puree is the base for fingerling potatoes confited in duck fat, delicate mache (lamb lettuce), and the star of the show, juicy lamb loin chops. The dish is finished with a truffled lavender vinaigrette. Try this mouthwatering dish while you can. It will probably stay on the menu through February, when Sarah plans to invent a new dish with Shepherd Song Farm’s offerings.

Plated lamb loin chops with fingerling potatoes. Photo: Jamie Schumacher
Plated lamb loin chops with fingerling potatoes. Photo: Jamie Schumacher

Buying local: It is clear from previous Heavy Table interviews with Sarah that local sources for her ingredients are really important. Sarah speaks of the farmers that she works with and about Shepherd Song’s grass fed lambs with great reverence. She honors the connection she has with the farmers and the wide variety of local products.

We’re in the middle of farm country. I just can’t fathom that people around here wouldn’t want to purchase local and Shepherd Song’s Lamb is really the best I’ve tasted. You can tell that the animals are free range. You can tell that they’re eating what they’re supposed to be eating just because the flavor is so fresh…it’s all in the flavor.” – Sarah

Buy grass fed at Shepherd Song’s online store and receive a 5% discount with free local shipping. (Use code grassfed05 for discount).

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