Holiday dinner during a pandemic

Yesterday was Easter.  We normally celebrate Easter with my family and my sister and her husband usually host.  They do a lovely job but in this current state of social distancing, we obviously could not be together.  (We had to settle for a virtual cocktail hour.)

The menu presented a bit of a challenge as the “typical” Easter dinners of a ham or a leg of lamb would provide an obscene amount of food for 3 people.  So we opted for a rack of lamb, our traditional potato gratin and glazed carrots (requested by Samantha.)  Keith set our kitchen table with a tablecloth, our wedding china and candles to keep things festive and I put on a spring dress.  It wasn’t the same as being with everyone but we enjoyed our meal.

Rack of lamb with merlot sauce
1 rack of lamb per 2 people (Samantha only ate one chop so 1 rack worked.  If she was a bigger fan of lamb I would have made 2) 1/4 cup panko 2 TB chopped parsley 1 tsp chopped mint 1 clove garlic, minced 1 TB olive oil canola oil 1 TB Dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 400.  Season lamb with salt and pepper.  In a heavy oven-proof pan, heat canola oil over high heat on stovetop.  Sear lamb, meat side down for 3 – 4 minutes.  Put lamb in oven and roast for 7-8 minutes.  Remove and flip lamb over.  Return to oven for another 7 minutes.  Remove and rest for 5 – 10 minutes.  Spread with Dijon mustard.  Mix panko, herbs, garlic and olive oil together and spread mixture over the Dijon.  Broil for 1 minute and serve with:

Merlot sauce
1 loin lamb chop (ask the butcher to cut it into pieces – you will use it for the sauce) canola oil 1 shallot, sliced 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed 1/2 cup Merlot 1 tsp crushed black peppercorns 1 sprig rosemary 1 qt chicken stock (preferably homemade)
In a heavy saucepan, heat oil over medium high heat and brown lamb on all sides.  Remove to a plate.  Reduce heat to medium and add shallots.  Cook until soft – about 3 minutes.  Add garlic and stir.  Return lamb to pan and add wine, pepper, and rosemary.  Bring to a boil and cook until wine is reduced to about 1/4 cup.  Add stock and bring to a boil.  Turn heat to low and simmer for about 90 minutes until reduced to about 1 cup.  Strain through a fine sieve and clean saucepan.  Heat right before serving for about 5 minutes for further reducing.

Potato Gratin

This is one of our family favorites!
1 clove garlic 2 lbs baking potatoes, peeled and sliced thin (a food processor speeds the process) 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese 1 cup of cream
Preheat oven to 350.  Cut garlic clove in half and rub shallow porcelain dish with garlic.  Spread half of the potatoes in dish.  Top with half of cheese and half of cream.  Spread with remaining potatoes and top with remaining cheese and cream.  Sprinkle with pepper.

Bake 50 – 60 minutes.  Gratin should be golden on top.

Glazed carrots
3 TB butter 2 cloves of garlic, minced 2 TB honey 1 pound baby carrots or carrots cut into pieces
Melt butter and add garlic.  Stir until garlic is just cooked.  Add honey and combine well.  Toss with carrots and put on a foil lined tray.  Cook at 400 for 25 minutes.

Here is the dinner and our festive table: