Seasonal Notes: Rack of Lamb and Lucky Foods

I can tell it’s been a lovely and festive holiday season, because I haven’t had a chance to post anything, recently! The culinary highlight of the season so far has been Christmas eve dinner, which featured a delicious rack of lamb with a plum glaze. I mixed up a little red wine and about half a jar of un-spiced plum jam over low heat to make the glaze, brushed it on the lamb, and baked at 350, reglazing every so often, for a little less than half an hour. I pulled it when my meat thermometer told me 125 and let it rest for a while. Christmas Lamb

Wow, was that ever good! Incredibly tender meat, and also incredibly quick and easy to make. Seemed a little bit foolproof, actually. This seems like a great special occasion cut of meat, and the glaze was very pleasant as well. I should remember to make more un-spiced preserves next year for this sort of thing.

Christmas WineThe lamb was accompanied by roasted root vegetables, some simple sauteed brussels sprouts, and some very complicated wine – this Bergstrom Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. I don’t drink a lot of wine, but if I had the skills and funds to regularly pick out pairings like this one, I would. Not sure what else to say, except that it was fantastic.

Of course, everything moves so fast this time of year that Christmas seems like an ancient memory. It’s almost New Year’s, now, and I discovered with a little internetting that this next holiday on the list has more culinary traditions than I was aware of. Epicurious provides much the same list of lucky New Year’s foods as a number of other sites:  Pork is considered a lucky thing to eat, because pigs root forwards looking for food; chicken is unlucky because it scratches backwards. Round things are lucky. Greens and beans are lucky because they look sort of like money (if you squint hard enough). I didn’t see any of the lists mention eggs, which sort of surprised me. My aunt and uncle always make chili, though I’m not sure why. I should ask if it’s lucky.Lucky Ham Hocks and Greens

With that in mind, I decided to ring in the New Year with as auspicious a meal as possible, and make enough for leftovers, too. I’ve got three ham hocks, onions, and collards in the slow cooker with some nice strong chicken broth out of the freezer, and a little water to top it off. Here’s to an auspicious and delicious new year for all!

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