Local Halal Valentine's Aphrodisiacs on CBC's Weekend Morning Show

Tomorrow on CBC's Weekend Morning Show with guest host Nadia Kidwai, I will be presenting the following dishes, Rack of Lamb with a Ras el Hanout rub, and Solberry Chicken.  Both feature my Ras el Hanout spice blend, which is considered an aphrodisiac.  Recipes to impress but so easy to prepare, these are full of flavour and sumptuous for a Valentine's dinner.  (Photos tomorrow when foods is cooked).  

There are many reasons to love Halal meats.  They are raised ethically and organically from birth to processing but you don't pay for the word Organic.  The meat is always excellent quality when it comes from producers and suppliers that are so ethical and particular.  

The chicken is from Waldner's Meats that I purchased from Millad's Supermarket on Notre Dame.  Waldner's were the first Halal producers in Manitoba.  They are now at risk of closure from potential changes in government regulations.  Manitobans LOVE their local chicken.  Please get to know your producer and make sure that you will have access to excellent quality products.

1. Ras el Hanout Rack of Halal Lamb

1 rack of lamb (This Halal Lamb is available at Millad’s Supermarket on Notre Dame)

1 + Tbs Ras el Hanout (or your favourite spice blend), available this weekend at St. Norbert’s Farmer’s Market on Saturday from 10-1PM, or the Pop-up market at VIA Rail Station on Sunday.

Salt, to taste,

¼ preserved lemon peel, finely chopped (make your own earlier than today or find at Millad’s, Dino’s, etc.)

Olive oil

 Rub rib rack(s) all over with mixture of spices, preserved lemon peel. Sprinkle with salt.   Place in a thick plastic bag with olive oil. Spread oil around so that it coats the lamb rack(s) all over. Squeeze out as much air as you can from the bag and seal. Place in a container so that if the bag leaks, the container catches the leak.

 If you want, place in the refrigerator overnight. Or, if you are not marinating overnight, let lamb rack(s) sit in the rub marinade as it comes to room temperature before cooking.

 Bring lamb to room temp: Remove lamb rack from refrigerator to 1 1/2 to 2 hours before you cook it so that it comes to room temp. (If the meat is not at room temperature it will be hard for it to cook evenly.)

 Preheat oven to 450°F, arrange the oven rack so that the lamb will be in the middle of the oven.

 Place the lamb rack bone side down (fat side up) on the pan. Wrap the exposed ribs in a little foil so that they don't burn.

Roast first at high heat to brown, then reduce heat to finish: Place the roast in the oven roast at 450°F for 10 minutes (longer if roasting more than one rack), or until the surface of the roast is nicely browned.

Then lower the heat to 300°F. Cook for 10-20 minutes longer (depending on the size of the lamb rack, if you are roasting more than one rack, and how rare or well done you want your lamb), until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat 125°F on a for rare or 135°F for medium rare. Remove from oven, cover with foil and let rest for 15 minutes.

Cut lamb chops away from the rack by slicing between the bones. Serve 2-3 chops per person.

2. Solberry (Soulberry) Halal Chicken

2 tablespoons Ras el Hanout*

1/2 cup Solberry puree (found at Vita Health, Red River Co-op Stores, etc.)

1/4 cup good olive oil

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

pinch salt

1 Chicken, skinned and pieced

Mix first 7 ingredients together well to blend in the olive oil. Place chicken thighs in marinade in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 1-4 hours. Place chicken thighs on a hot BBQ for up 4 minutes a side if boneless, twice as long if with bone in.  Let meat rest and enjoy with grilled Naan bread, salad, rice, etc.
*Ras el Hanout can be used as a spice rub for your BBQ meats, in vegetable stews (recipe in blog), on roast chicken, lamb, goat, etc.