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Rack of Lamb with Pasilla Chiles
© Antonis Achilleos

Rack of Lamb with Pasilla Chiles

  • ACTIVE: 45 MIN

  1. 6 unpeeled garlic cloves
  2. 6 pasilla chiles (see Note), seeded
  3. 1/4 cup honey
  4. 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  5. 1 teaspoon Mexican dried oregano
  6. 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  7. Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  8. Two 8-bone racks of lamb (not frenched), fat trimmed
  9. Olive oil, for grilling
  10. Chopped red onion and parsley and queso añejo (see Note), for garnish
  1. Heat a cast-iron skillet or griddle. Add the garlic and toast over moderate heat until the skin is blackened in spots, 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, toast the pasillas in the skillet: Press with a spatula and turn once, until pliable and fragrant, 1 minute. Transfer the chiles to a heatproof bowl and cover with hot water. Microwave at high power for 1 minute, until the chiles are completely rehydrated.
  3. Transfer the chiles to a blender and add 1/3 cup of their soaking liquid. Peel the garlic and add to the blender with the honey, vinegar, oregano, cumin, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Puree, then strain.
  4. Rub the lamb with 1/3 cup of the puree. Let stand for 2 hours or refrigerate overnight.
  5. In a small saucepan, simmer the remaining puree with 1/4 cup of water; keep warm.
  6. Light a grill and oil the grates. Grill the lamb over moderately high heat, turning and rotating the racks, until lightly charred outside and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the meat registers 135° for medium-rare, 30 minutes; move the meat to moderate heat if it starts to burn. Transfer the lamb to a carving board; let rest for 5 minutes. Carve the lamb into chops and garnish with chopped red onion, parsley and queso añejo. Serve with the pasilla sauce.
Notes Pasilla chiles are long, black dried chiles. Queso añejo is a dry grating cheese; cotija or ricotta salata are good substitutes.

Suggested Pairing

Smoky, berry-rich Argentinean Malbec.