Lamb is a meat I fondly think of related to spring — the symbolism of the Easter lamb, in particular. However, in this week’s edition of the Eat Y’all #FiringPintoFork segment, Chef Marcus Sullivan, Executive Sous Chef at Jackson, Mississippi’s hip Babalu Tacos & Tapas, shows us that lamb is great in the center of the plate any time of year in this meal full of recipes that showcases the bountiful produce of Southern autumn, otherwise known around these parts as late summer.
>> Listen in as Chef Marcus Sullivan visits with host Andy Chapman on this week’s radio segment where he dishes about supporting local farmers, a taco place winning a burger competition and this “chef’d up” recipe for grilled lamb loin.
Recipe: Pequillo Pepper Relish Grilled Lamb Loin with Port Wine Fig Sauce and Broccolini over Grits
More of a hearty meal plan than simple recipe, you’ll find four recipe components below featuring local produce widely available at farmer’s markets across the Southern U.S. around this time of the year. This set of recipes comes together to feed 10 people, making this meal plan perfect for fall supper clubs.
Other chef’s tips for substitutions or meal variations are noted in each recipe below, and the audio above contains additional tips and guidance from Chef Sullivan to assure your dish turns out perfectly.
Grilled Lamb Loin
- boneless lamb loin or rib
- salt & pepper
- Salt and pepper meat and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes prior to grilling. This ensures a better sear on the meat, according to Chef Sullivan.
- Preheat grill to approximately 500 degrees. Sear one side of tenderloin on hot grill until meat releases from the grill then turn and sear opposite side until meat releases from grill.
- Lower heat to medium-high heat and continue to cook until medium-rare (internal temperature 145 degrees F).
- Transfer lamb to dish and let rest for a few minutes before serving.
Chef’s Tip for Variation: For hunter-gatherers, these same meal components could be used to make an equally impressive venison tenderloin, quail, dove or duck dish, with a simple modification of the grilling time to match your wild game of choice.
Prepare 10 servings of grits according to package directions. The chef recommended the Delta Grind Grits brand of corn grits for this recipe.
Port Wine Fig Sauce
- 1 750 ml bottle Port (found in most liquor stores)
- 1 quart of fresh figs
- 1 medium shallot
- 1 pear or Granny Smith apple
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 lbs unsalted butter (that’s 8 sticks, y’all)
- Slice figs in half. Cut butter into cubes and set aside. Combine all ingredients except butter in 1 gallon stock pot.
- Cook mixture over medium heat constantly stirring until mixture is reduced by half; mixture will be consistency of oatmeal. (Listen to audio above to learn more about how to insure the successful outcome of this sauce.)
- Let the reduced mixture rest on stove for approximately 15 minutes, then return to low heat. Slowly add cubed butter into mixture, whisking constantly until it’s all incorporated. Plan to serve immediately.
Chef’s Tip for Variation: Substitute wild berries like blackberries, raspberries, or mulberries in this dish. Wild berries are especially good when paired with wild game as a meat substitution.
- 6 heads broccolini
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 Tablespoon minced shallots
- 2 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon white wine
- Prepare bowl of ice water and set aside.
- Bring pot of water to a boil. Immerse clean, fresh vegetables in the boiling water for 1-2 minutes, then immediately move them to the ice bath to stop cooking.
- Pour olive oil in a saute pan and bring to medium high heat. Once hot, add the broccolini, garlic, and shallots and saute for 2-3 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan by adding the white wine, turn the heat and stir vegetables in pan once more.
- Add the butter to vegetables and let the butter melt into the broccolini. Serve immediately.
Chef’s Tip for Variation: Substitute any fresh vegetable with color such as squash or asparagus using the same preparation method.
Pequillo Pepper Relish
- 12 oz jar Pequillo peppers, diced
- 1/4 cup minced red onions
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 bunch green onions, sliced, green parts only
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- Mix all ingredients and place in a container.
- Let them “marinate” for at least 4 hours before serving.
- Refrigerate overnight before serving.
Assemble the Dish
To assemble the dish, slice lamb loin (after it has rested) into quarter-inch thick medallions. Spoon one serving of grits into center of the plate. Top with 3-4 slices of lamb. Drizzle Port Wine Fig Sauce over top of lamb. Plate broccolini on side of dish. Top lamb with a tablespoon of Pequillo Pepper Relish and serve.