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Culinary SOS

Pomegranate Seeds Add a Festive Touch to Rack of Lamb Assyrian

December 17, 1987|ROSE DOSTI | Times Staff Writer

Dear SOS: I have heard about a rack of lamb with pomegranate sauce served in a San Francisco restaurant. If you know of such a dish I would appreciate a recipe.

--PAULA

Dear Paula: What a great holiday idea. Narsai's restaurant in Berkeley is no longer in existence (the deli still exists). We happened to have acquired the recipe from owner Narsai David during a barbecue picnic in Napa Valley, where the lamb was served. Sprinkle the lamb with pomegranate seeds for a festive holiday touch.

NARSAI'S RACK OF LAMB ASSYRIAN

2 large onions, cut up

2 cloves garlic, split

2 teaspoons basil, crushed

Juice and grated peel of 1/2 lemon

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup pomegranate juice or grenadine syrup

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup red wine

2 (8- or 9-rib) lamb racks, flap meat removed and rib bones French cut

Combine onions, garlic, basil, lemon juice and peel, pepper, pomegranate juice, salt and red wine. Rub marinade over entire surface of lamb racks, reserving remainder for basting. Marinate in refrigerator overnight or at cool room temperature 6 to 8 hours. Wipe off excess marinade. Grill over medium coals until lamb is done as desired, or bake at 450 degrees 15 to 20 minutes for medium rare or longer for medium and well-done lamb. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Note: Pomegranate juice is generally available at Middle Eastern grocery stores. Grenadine syrup is available at most supermarkets and liquor counters. You can also squeeze pomegranate juice from seeds. Halve pomegranates and press halves onto plastic or porcelain juicer to extract juice.

Dear SOS: Years ago I used a recipe for eggnog pie using egg nog from the dairy case and whipped cream. It has disappeared. Can you help?

--NORMA

Dear Norma: We have a recipe for eggnog pie marbled with chocolate, but you can omit the chocolate for a plain eggnog pie.

MARBLED EGGNOG PIE

2 envelopes unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup sugar

1 quart eggnog

2 (1-ounce) squares semisweet chocolate

1 cup whipping cream, whipped

Chocolate Crumb Crust

Mix gelatin and sugar in top of double boiler. Stir in 1 cup cold eggnog. Place over boiling water and cook, stirring, until sugar and gelatin are dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in remaining 3 cups eggnog. Chill until slightly thicker than unbeatened egg white.

Melt chocolate over boiling water, then stir into half of whipped cream. Fold remaining whipped cream into eggnog mixture. Fold in chocolate mixture, making marbled effect. Turn into Chocolate Crumb Crust and chill. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Chocolate Crumb Crust

1/2 (8 1/2-ounce) package chocolate wafers

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

Crush or grind wafers into fine crumbs. Combine with melted butter. Pat into bottom and sides of 10-inch pie plate. Bake at 325 degrees 7 to 10 minutes. Remove and cool.

Dear SOS: Is it possible that you have a recipe for Welsh Rarebit?

--JILL

Dear Jill: Here is a standard recipe of the good, old American cousin of the British rarebit (sometimes known as rabbit). Rarebits make excellent party food for late night holiday suppers. They can be served on toast points or English muffins. Some hosts serve them as a dip for vegetables.

WELSH RAREBIT

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Dash cayenne pepper

Dash paprika

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 to 2/3 cup beer or ale

1 pound shredded Cheddar cheese

Hot crackers, toast or split, toasted English muffins

Combine mustard, cayenne and paprika. Stir in Worcestershire sauce and beer. Place over very low heat. When beer is hot, add cheese and stir until melted. Serve at once over crackers or toast. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Dear SOS: My mother made a chestnut dressing at Christmas time, which was used as a side dish. It consisted of ground chestnuts, cream or half and half and butter. Would you have such a recipe in your recipe library?

--GAIL

Dear Gail: We printed such a recipe from an old Victorian menu found in a Boston Cooking School magazine published at the turn of the century. The chestnut puree was used primarily as a stuffing for lamb chops, chicken breasts, pork chops and veal. But it certainly does make a fine side dish for a holiday meal.

CHESTNUT PUREE FOR STUFFING

3 cups chestnut puree (about 4 1/2 pounds chestnuts in shell)

Salt, pepper

6 tablespoons hot half and half

6 tablespoons butter

2 egg yolks

Combine chestnut puree, salt and pepper to taste, half and half and butter. Beat in egg yolks until very light. Use as stuffing for chicken breasts, pork chops or lamb chops before baking, or turn into greased 1-quart casserole and bake at 350 degrees about 25 to 30 minutes or until heated through and set. Makes 6 to 8 servings or enough stuffing for 8 chicken breasts or chops.

Note: To make chestnut puree, score skins with a cross or slit and cook chestnuts in boiling water to cover until flesh, when tested with a fork, is very soft, about 45 minutes. Peel and mash or process into puree.

Dear SOS: We have tried unsuccessfully to find a recipe for rum sauce for mincemeat.

--LORRAINE

Dear Lorraine: Here is a traditional rum sauce from our files. The sauce is also great on ice cream, pound cake or other fruit desserts.

TRADITIONAL RUM SAUCE

1 1/2 cups Sherry, about

1 tablespoon rum extract or rum

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 pound powdered sugar

Combine Sherry, rum and vanilla extracts. Gradually add mixture to powdered sugar, blending thoroughly. If too thick add additional Sherry. Refrigerate. Serve over ice cream, pound cake or fruit desserts. Makes 2 2/3 cups rum sauce.

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