How to Cook Cardamom-Scented Lamb With Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Going on the Lamb

I'm not sure when it happened, but lamb has become one of my favorite meats to eat. I used to be weird about it, thinking it was far too gamy. However, I realized I was wrong. When prepared correctly, lamb can be absolutely delicious and positively tasty.


I've had this recipe for Cardamom-Scented Lamb With Mashed Sweet Potatoes in my to-make file for quite some time, and last night I finally got around to making it. It takes a little bit more time than a Fast & Easy Dinner, but if you're willing, it can definitely be accomplished on a school night. The meat is seared then finished in the oven, and the whole thing is served with a red-wine sauce. To get the recipe, read more.

While perfect on its own, I accompanied mine with the suggested mashed sweet potatoes and some lightly sautéed bok choy.

Cardamom-Scented Lamb With Mashed Sweet Potatoes
From Bon Appétit, December 1999


1 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. tomato paste
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
2 cups dry red wine
1 cup canned beef broth
1 cup canned low-salt chicken broth

2 tbsp. shelled cardamom seeds
2 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 lb. racks of lamb, trimmed
2 tbsp. olive oil

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 tsp. coarse-grained mustard
salt and pepper for seasoning
Mashed Sweet Potatoes

  1. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add tomato paste, garlic, and thyme; sauté 1 minute. Add wine and boil until reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Add both broths; boil until reduced to 1 1/4 cups, about 10 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
  2. Preheat oven to 450°F. Toast cardamom seeds in heavy small skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Cool. Transfer to spice grinder; grind coarsely. [I used a mortar and pestle.]
  3. Sprinkle lamb with cardamom, salt and pepper.
  4. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Add 1 lamb rack; sear until brown, turning occasionally, about 6 minutes. Transfer lamb, meat side up, to baking sheet. Repeat with second lamb rack. [I was actually only using one lamb rack and so I seared it in my heavy oven-proof skillet, moved the lamb out, drained some of the oil — careful it's hot! — and then put the lamb back on the skillet instead of a separate baking sheet.]
  5. Roast until meat thermometer inserted into center registers 125°F for medium rare, about 18 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes. Cut lamb between bones into chops.
  6. While chops are roasting: Bring sauce to simmer. Reduce heat to low. Add butter and mustard; whisk just until butter melts. Season with pepper.
  7. Spoon sauce onto plates.
  8. Top with sweet mashed potatoes and lamb and serve. [I also lightly sautéed thin strips of bok choy, and wrapped them around the plated sauce. Seen in top photo.]

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