Pacific Northwest Series

August, 2014

Baby Rack of Lamb with Hazelnuts and Pinot Noir Sauce

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 2 Hours

Yield: 6 servings

Lamb is juicy, tender, deep reddish pink, fatty goodness.  There is alot of flavors going on in this recipe, however it pairs perfectly with the Bethel Heights Pinot Noir.  How do we know? The recipe is courtesy of the Bethel Winery owner, Jon Casteel's sister-in-law. Enjoy! 


  • 3 cups hazelnuts
  • 2 heads garlic, roasted (preparation below)
  • 4 Tbsp butter, cold, divided
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable or chicken stock
  • 3 cups beef stock, divided (recipe below)
  • 1 cup Pinot Noir or other red wine of good quality
  • 2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 3 baby racks of lamb, packaged so that each person gets three chops
  • coarse salt and fresh pepper, to taste

To prepare hazelnuts, heat oven to 300°. Roast shelled, raw hazelnuts 15- 20 minutes until light brown.  Cool slightly. Rub off skins with a cloth kitchen towel. Chop finely. Set aside.

To prepare garlic, heat oven to 350°. Remove excess papery outside skin from the garlic heads, but leave the heads intact. Arrange on baking dish that is just large enough to hold them, if possible. A pie plate also works. Add 2 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp vegetable or chicken stock to the pan. Bake 40 minutes, basting every 10 minutes or so, until garlic heads are golden and tender to the touch. Season with coarse salt and fresh ground pepper. Set aside.

To prepare sauce, put beef broth stock (recipe below) in a saucepan and begin to reduce over medium high heat. Add a handful of fresh or frozen fruit: raspberries or marionberries in season, or fresh plums are wonderful in this sauce. Reduce by about half. Run through a strainer to remove any fruit skins or seeds. Reserve 1/4 cup stock for basting the meat.  Return stock to pan and add 1 cup of red wine and minced rosemary.  Reduce until mixture is slightly thickened. Sauce can be prepared to this point then refrigerated until lamb finishes cooking. When lamb is ready to serve, bring sauce back to simmer, and stir in remaining butter, cut into pieces, adding one at a time. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To prepare lamb, preheat oven to 450°. Brush lamb racks with the 1/4 cup reserved beef stock. Turn fat side up and coat with roasted hazelnuts. Place racks in roasting pan, meat side up, and roast 35 minutes for medium rare, or until internal temperature registers 150° with an instant read thermometer. Let lamb rest five minutes before cutting.

Serve three chops per person, and ladle sauce over the top. Divide one head of garlic evenly among plates. Serve the other head of garlic a small plate for those who want more.

Beef Stock Recipe

Prep time: 10M
Cook Time: 6H
Yield: 3 cups (approx.)

Note: This should be made a day ahead.

  • 2 lbs beef bones
  • olive oil
  • water
  • wine
  • black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
  • celery leaves
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • fresh thyme, parsley and/or chives

Brown beef bones (soup bones work well) in olive oil. Add a 50/50 mixture of water and good dry red wine (preferably Pinot noir) to cover the bones, a good grinding of black pepper, celery leaves, onion, and your choice of fresh garden thyme, parsley and/or chives. This can simmer half a day. Cool slightly then pour broth into a separate bowl and discard bones and spices. Let broth chill completely in refrigerator, and skim off fat that rises to the top of the container.  Continue with sauce recipe above.