With this dish, Joseph Johnson of Le Cordon Bleu College in L.A. won the People's Choice Award at the San Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition in Napa Valley. A delicate hint of raspberry in the gastrique sweetens the dish and balances the flavours. You can buy ras el hanout (a popular Moroccan spice mix) at gourmet shops instead of using the spice blend featured here. Serve with mashed potatoes, adding as much butter and cream as your arteries can stand. Finding lamb loins can be tricky, so you can always use boned racks or pork.
Ready time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Raspberry Veal Gastrique
3 cups veal or beef stock, homemade or low-salt
1⁄3 cup fresh raspberries
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground.
1/4 teaspoon whole allspice, freshly ground
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds.
1/4 teaspoon whole allspice.
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric.
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg.
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 pounds boneless lamb loin or 2 pork tenderloins (about 1 pound each)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Simmer stock in a saucepan for about 20 minutes or until reduced to 1 cup. Reserve.
Combine the other gastrique ingredients over medium heat,stirring for about 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves and raspberries are soft.
Press through a sieve into reduced stock.
Return to pot and simmer for about 5 minutes or until sauce coats the back of a spoon. Set aside and keep warm.
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Toast coriander seeds, peppercorns, cumin seeds and allspice in a small skillet for about 1 minute or until fragrant.
Let cool slightly and process in spice grinder until finely powdered.
Stir in turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Rub meat with spice mixture until well coated.
Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat and brown loin (1 to 2 minutes per side). Place on rack in roasting pan and roast for 10 to 15 minutes or until medium rare or desired doneness. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.
Serve the medallions over mashed potatoes and spoon the sauce onto the meat and around the potatoes.