Sunday Lamb Ragout With Crispy Baba Ghanouj Polenta And Roasted Pepper Coulis

  • Cook of the Week Challenge contestant John Hampson of Antioch made a Sunday lamb ragout, crispy baba ghanouj polenta and roasted red pepper coulis.

    Cook of the Week Challenge contestant John Hampson of Antioch made a Sunday lamb ragout, crispy baba ghanouj polenta and roasted red pepper coulis. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

Posted10/12/2016 6:00 AM

Total Cook Time 2 Hours, however each element can be made on a different day.

For the Polenta:


Total cooking time 15 minutes. Set time 2 hours.

* Dell'Alpe Instant Polenta

* Grecian Delight Baba Ghanouj

Puree Enough Baba Ghanouj in a blender to render 1 cup.

Make the polenta as per the instructions on the container. Stir in the baba Ghanouj puree, then spread evenly in a 9x11 baking dish. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Polenta will need to be firm for frying. Make this first and it should be ready when the lamb is done.

For the Red Pepper Coulis

Total cooking time 40 minutes. Makes 2 to 2 ½ cups.

* 4 Red Bell Peppers Roasted, Peeled, and Seeds Removed.

* 1 Shallot Chopped

* 3 TBL Good Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil

* 1 TBL Red Wine Vinegar

* Kosher Salt and Pepper to Taste

Roast the whole peppers on a stove top burner or on a grill. Really let them get charred and blistered about 10-15 minutes in all. Place in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Be sure to reserve any liquid that accumulates. When the peppers are cool enough to handle split them open remove the core/seeds, and scrape the skin off with a paring knife. Place in a blender with the remaining ingredients (including accumulated liquid) and puree for at least 1 minute to eliminate any chunks. Reserve one cup of the coulis for plating which can be kept in the refrigerator up to one week.

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For the Lamb Ragout

Total cooking time 1 hour and twenty minutes.

* 8 frenched lamb loin chops

* Kosher Salt and Pepper

* 3 TBL Olive Oil

* 1 Cup Chopped Onion

* 4 Garlic Cloves Crushed in a Garlic Press

* 2 TBL Tomato Paste

* 1 TBL Dried Oregano

* 2 Bay Leaves

* 4 Cups Chicken Stock

* 2 TBL Harissa Paste (found in the international section of grocery store)

* Remaining Red Pepper Coulis (Approximately 1 ½ cups)

Pre heat oven to 375 Degrees. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven on medium high.

Season both sides of each chop with a good sprinkling of salt and pepper and working in two batches sear the chops on both sides. Be patient with this as you really want a nice deep brown color on each chop. Set aside on a plate and tent with foil.

Reduce heat to medium and remove all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the Dutch oven. Add the onions and sauté for 1 minute then add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Be sure to watch your heat as you do not want to brown the garlic. Add the tomato paste, oregano, and bay leaves. Sauté for another minute to cook out the raw tomato flavor and create a fond. Add the stock, harissa, and coulis. Stir well, increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Return the meat to the braising liquid. Cover and place in oven for 1 hour.


Remove ribs from liquid and place on cutting board. Return Dutch oven to stovetop. Use paper towels to soak up grease floating on top. This will take several passes and multiple towels. Be sure to get as much as possible. Boil on high heat until liquid is reduced by half. Stir occasionally to avoid burning the sauce.

While sauce is reducing, pull meat from the bones and break into chunks. Return meat to reduced sauce off heat to warm through.

Finish the Polenta for Plating

* 4 El Milagro Corn Tortillas

* Egg Wash (1 egg whisked with ¼ cup milk)

Rip the tortillas into quarters and place in a food processor. Process to as fine a crumb as possible. Place crumbs in a bowl for breading. Make the egg wash in a wide bowl.

Heat Oil 1/8th inch oil in a 10-inch frying pan on medium high heat.

Cut the polenta in half lengthwise then in quarters widthwise so you have 8 equal sized pieces. Cut the pieces again in half on an angle to create 16 equal sized triangles.

Working Gently (to not break the pieces), dip the triangles into the egg wash and then the crumbs. Coat well and set on a wire rack to rest.

Test your oil to see if it is ready by tossing a small pinch of crumbs into the pan. If they bubble vigorously, you are ready to fry. Gently place the polenta triangles in the pan (a fish turner works best). Cook for 2 minutes to 2 minutes 15 seconds per side until nicely browned. Place on wire rack to drain.

For the Plating

* 1 Cup Reserved Red Pepper Coulis

* Baba Ghanouj Polenta

* Lamb Ragout

* Crumbled Feta Cheese

* Fresh Chopped Parsley

Place a 1/3 cup of the ragout in the middle of a dinner bowl. Top with 3 polenta triangles fanned out. Dollop the coulis between the fans, then sprinkle the entire dish with the cheese and parsley.

John Hampson

• The Cook of the Week Challenge contestants' recipes are published exactly as submitted to the judges for evaluation.

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