Stuffed Rack of Lamb for Two

Each year for our birthdays, we try to cook something we have never tried before, or in the very least, strays from the typical weeknight meals. During the first couple of birthdays we were together, the meal was a total surprise to the birthday boy/girl. Now, however, we usually keep the menu a secret up until a couple days before the big day and make the meal together. Often these recipes make it into our regular cooking rotation. Past birthday meals have included seafood risotto, lobster, mini beef wellingtons, chocolate mousse, and stuffed rack of lamb.

I liked this recipe because it used so many Greek flavors. The first time we madeit, I got the lamb from Whole Foods for about $20-24. During a recent trip to Costco, however, they had it for $18. So, check their first if you are a member. The recipe below is the original as found on The Food Network's website. We made it by the book for Jeff's birthday last February and it was delicious. The second time we make it, I forgot to pick up some olives. But, no worries...we went ahead with it anyway and it still tasted great.

Stuffed Rack of Lamb for Two
from The Food Network

For the Marinade:
1/2 lemon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon freshly chopped rosemary leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

For the stuffing:
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped
1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
1 rack of lamb (about 8 chops)

To make the Marinade:
Zest the lemon with a fine grater, taking care to only remove the yellow peel—the white pith beneath it is bitter. Use the lemon juice for cocktails, or splash a bit into the marinade if you really love citrus. Mix all the marinade ingredients together.

To make the Stuffing: Mix the stuffing ingredients together.

To prepare the Lamb: Cut the rack in 1/2 crosswise so that each piece contains 4 chops. Insert a long, skinny knife into one end of the meat and push it through until the tip emerges from the other end. Then, remove the knife and use the handle of a wooden spoon to ream out a 1/2-inch hole, forming a tube through the 4 chops. With your fingers, press half the stuffing into the rack, making sure it's distributed evenly. Repeat with the other half of lamb.

Place the lamb in a zipper baggie, spoon the marinade onto the meat, and rub it in a little bit. Marinate for at least 1 hour, preferably 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Roast the chops for 25 minutes for medium rare, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 10 minutes (during which they continue cooking, and the juices run back to the center). Slice into individual chops, if you like, fan across the plate, garnish with a rosemary sprig, and serve.

Before we made this, I was always a little intimidated by lamb and thought it would be very expensive. This recipe is so easy and the price is great for a special-occasion meal. You would pay alot more for this in any restaurant!

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