Fall is finally here! Root veggies galore, pumpkins, and hearty dishes are all I can think about. The farmer's market is painted in autumnal colors that make my taste buds go wild. And I have finally decided that lamb is my favorite red meat. It is versatile and flavorful, can be fussed with, or left to savor simply dressed in salt and pepper. Sometimes, it is better left simple to accompany other more robust flavors like a pot of roasted root vegetable mash. Yum! This meal is simple, and if made with high-quality and fresh ingredients, doesn't require much added flavor.
I served the mash and meat with some lightly steamed asparagus spears and a salad with persimmons, pepitas, red onions, and a lemon shallot vinaigrette. I use about a 3:1 ratio for olive oil to acid (lemon juice or vinegar), add Dijon mustard (just a dash), salt, pepper, and in this case minced shallot. If you find the dressing is too acidic, try adding a pinch of sugar or a couple drops of honey. This was a relatively simple meal that was packed with flavor. ¡Buen Provecho!
Roasted Root Vegetable Mash
1 large jewel yam, washed and cut into rounds about 1 to 1.5 inches thick.
1 large turnip, washed, peeled, and cut into rounds about 1 inch thick
2 medium russet potatoes, washed and cut into rounds about 1 to 1.5 inches thick
2 large carrots, washed and cut into wedges
1 Leek, washed and sliced finely
1-2 cloves garlic, use a garlic press to add to the leeks and olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
chicken stock (or veggie stock) if needed
1. Toss all sliced veggies with a little olive oil, place on a baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil.
2. Place baking sheets in the oven and turn the oven on to 400 °F (do not turn the oven on before you put the veggies in. By allowing them to heat up with the oven, the sugars caramelize better and the flavor is better).
3. Once oven is hot, cook the root vegetables covered for 30 minutes then remove the foil and cook until easily pierced with a fork, another 20-30 minutes.
4. In the meantime, heat olive oil in a deep pot, add sliced leeks and cook until tender. Once tender, add garlic, cook for 1-2 minutes and turn off heat.
5. When vegetables are ready, take them out of the oven and dump them into the pot with the leeks, olive oil, and garlic.
6. Using a potato masher, mash all vegetables together. If they are dry, add some chicken stock, about 1 cup added in 1/2 cup increments. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Grilled Lamb Rib Chops with an optional Chimichurri sauce
Lamb rib chops
1. Heat grill
2. Cook ribs turning once so each side is evenly charred. Make sure your instant read thermometer reaches the recommended temperature for lamb.
1/2 bunch parsley, washed and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/2 lemon, juiced
red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Mix all ingredients together and spoon over meat.