Wednesday, October 3, 2012


My Herb Crusted Braised Lamb Ribs with Marsala Sauce and Pantry Pesto


Gentle Readers, I have to be honest, September was Not a happy month for me.  My food choices were very much dictated by my very small food budget for that month.  Being on a small food budget is tough, but not impossible. I was able to create a fun, delicious, easy dish and remain productive at the same time.  Here's how I made this herb crusted lamb rib dish with a Marsala sauce and a pesto made from my home-grown basil and pantry items.  Let's start with the easy pesto, first. 

Pantry Pesto
2 cups of fresh basil leaves  (I used my own basil, which I grow at home, but it is widely found in about all grocery stores on the earth planet).
1/3 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 - 3 cloves garlic, halved
1/4 to 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
Pinch or two of salt and pepper (to taste)
1/4 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds  (ok, I used slivered almonds)

Note:  Since I made lamb, I traditionally should have made a mint pesto or sauce, but, as I have been on a tight budget, I used what I had on hand, ergo the pantry basil pesto.  

Combine the basil, garlic, and nuts into a food processor or blender.  Add a round of evoo and pulse.  Add the cheese and drizzle more of the evoo into the mix as you pulse.  Finally, blend into a thick, rich sauce.  Salt and Pepper to taste.  Place into a bowl or container that can be wrapped or sealed and store in the refrigerator. 

Herb Crusted Lamb Ribs
My spice rub:  pinch salt and pepper, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 tablespoon ground coriander seeds, 1 tablespoon ground cumin seeds, 1 tablespoon mustard seed, 1 tablespoon dried rosemary and thyme, both. 

Slice two onions into one-half inch rings and set aside.   Coarsely chop three garlic cloves, set aside. You will need three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

I mixed the rub with a tablespoon of spicy ground mustard and rubbed the entire pair of ribs and let it sit for thirty minutes.  In a high-sided sauce pan, I added three tablespoons of evoo over medium-high heat.  When the oil began to ripple, I added the ribs, thick, fatty side down and seared until golden brown, about three-to- five minutes.  I flipped it over (and since the rib slab was pretty flat, it was easy to sear that side, too) for three minutes.  I removed the pan from the heat.  I removed the rib slabs and set the thick onion rings in the bottom of the pan, sprinkled the fresh coarsely chopped garlic over the onions, and placed the ribs atop those rings, meaty side down.  I added a box of low sodium beef broth and a cup of water to the pan. This does not cover the ribs, but goes up about half way. I call this a "gentle" braise.  I brought the mixture to a boil and covered the pot.  I turned off the heat and placed the pot into the oven I had preheated to 375 degrees.  You Must make sure that the pot or high-sided pan you use is oven safe, otherwise, you can do this on the stove, over low heat, as long as the liquid simmers gently.

 Searing the rib slab

Placing the rib slap (one of two) over the onion rings and garlic


After an hour I turned the ribs over, ribs side down, and braised them for forty minutes.  After nearly the second hour, I removed the ribs to let them rest.  the ribs will be very soft and may fall off the bones. I drained as much of the fat in the pan that I could, brought the remaining liquid to a boil, added a teaspoon of flour, added a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and a cup of Marsala wine to the liquid, and reduced the mixture by half.  I should have strained the liquid, but didn't. That was my lesson learned. 



I cut the ribs, plated them, drizzled the Marsala Onion sauce over the ribs and placed a dollop of my homemade pantry pesto as a side.  The ribs were fantastic with either.  

Hope you enjoy this!  Thank you for your time and for reading and viewing!