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The Handoff: Roasted Rack of Lamb with Chickpea Panisse, Pickled Baby Carrots, and Gremolata

2011 March 31

by Christopher Sullivan

So thanks to the inspiration that I got from Sarah’s post for Chickpea Grits, I have decided to make a chickpea panisse, a simple and delicious savory cake made from chickpea flour and water.  Panisse are wonderfully tasty, gluten free, easy to adapt and easy to make.  The basic recipe is to boil 2 parts water, whisk in one part chickpea flour, cook a couple of minutes and pour into a baking dish to cool.  Then you just slice and fry!  The technique is very similar to grits or polenta cake.  Panisse is a great vegetarian dish on its own, or topped with something like the mushrooms Sarah used for her grits.

In this case, I’ve decided to do an actual entree, Roasted Rack of Lamb, to go along with the Panisse, Pickled Baby Carrots and a little Gremolata.  This whole dish has a bit of a Spanish/North African sort of feel to me, so I’m incorporating Espellete Pepper into the panisse and the lamb marinade, lemon, garlic and coriander into the carrots, and parsley and orange into the gremolata.  Truth be told, I made the carrots last Summer with produce from the Green City Market here in Chicago, but in an effort to shake away the last days of a Chicago Winter, have included them here.  I wanted use Spring Onions in this dish, but was not able to find any quite yet.

CLICK HERE for the full post and recipe.

The Lamb is from the wonderful Mint Creek Farms in Stelle, Illinois.  All their meats are grass fed, and raised on certified organic prairie pastures, enjoying a diet of organic alfalfa, clover and perennial grasses.  The Carr family started the farm in 1992 in an effort to revitalize the land that had been over farmed and depleted of its natural nutrients.  They are usually at all the Chicago Farmers Markets and always have wonderful products.

Finally, Gremolata is always a simple and great addition to anything!  Traditionally, it is simply minced garlic, parsley and some sort of citrus, usually lemon zest.  It is a great garnish for lamb and braised meats, and is the classic garnish to Osso Bucco.  For this recipe, I omitted the garlic and used orange zest and also added bit of brioche breadcrumbs to give it more texture.  Gremolata is a great element to improvise with, and though it normally includes lemon zest, I like the addition of other types of citrus as well.  Simply shave one orange, or lemon, chop about 2 cups of flat leaf parsley, add a handful of breadcrumbs and mix together.  Add a pinch or salt and a little course ground black pepper.  Voila! Gremolata!

Chickpea Panisse

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes, 1 hour to cool, 15 minutes to fry

Total time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Yield: 6 servings as a garnish, 4 as a main course


  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups chickpea/garbanzo flour
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon espellete pepper

Cooking Directions

  1. Bring 4 cups water to a rolling boil, along with a good glug of olive oil, a couple pinches of kosher salt and 1/2 teasoon of fresh ground black pepper.
  2. Add the espellete pepper and then slowly whisk in the chickpea flour, in a steady stream like you were making polenta or grits. The flour will clump easily, so take your time with this step.
  3. After all the flour has been added, turn heat to medium and continue to stir for about 3-5 minutes until you have a smooth, thick batter. If it is too lumpy, push the batter through a strainer to smooth it out.
  4. Pour into a well oiled baking dish, about an 8X13 inch or so. The panisse should be about an inch high in the pan. Cover with a piece of parchment, and put in the fridge to cool. You can do this part way ahead if you want.
  5. When fully cooled, remove parchment and turn panisse out onto a cutting board and slice. Cut the panisse into whatever shape you like. A sort of large rectangle, like a giant steak fry, is best.
  6. Heat up a large saute pan with oil, about a 1/2 inch or so up the sides. (I like grapeseed oil but extra virgin olive oil has a nice flavor) and fry the panisse until golden brown on all sides. Drain on a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. You can keep them warm in the oven or serve immediately.

Quick Pickled Carrots/Vegetables

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes, several hours to cool

Total time: 30 minutes plus several hours to cool

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


  • 2 to 3 bunches of baby carrots, (feel free to use other veggies, fennel, onion, pole beans,etc.)
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup of vinegar (apple cider or white vinegar)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Peel of one lemon, shaved into about 6 strips with a vegetable peeler
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Dried Thai chili, or chili of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pickling spice
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon juniper berries
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 bay leaf, broken into pieces

Cooking Directions

  1. Feel free to improvise with the pickling spices. You can use only the pre-mixed pickling spice, but if you do, use at least 1 Tablespoon of it. I like to add extra bay leaf and juniper, a couple cloves, sometimes allspice berries. Whatever flavor you are looking for, you can concentrate into the spice blend. Mustard seed is a nice addition as well.
  2. Use a peeler to slice the lemon peel into thin strips, and place into a large glass jar or glass bowl along with the carrots, chili and garlic cloves.
  3. Mix all the other ingredients in a large pan, and bring to a boil.
  4. Cool for about 5 minutes then pour the pickling liquid over the carrots.
  5. Allow to cool a bit longer, then cover and refrigerate. These will be ready fairly quickly, and will continue to develop flavor the longer they sit in the liquid. They will last a long time in the fridge as well. I would give them at least a day before serving if possible, but they will show nice flavor after a couple hours.

Roasted Rack Of Lamb

Prep time: 4 hours 

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 4 hours and 20 minutes

Yield: 4 servings


  • 2 racks of spring lamb
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Dried orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon espellete pepper

Cooking Directions

  1. Rub the lamb all over with olive oil, coarsely ground black pepper, kosher salt, thinly sliced garlic, orange peel and thyme.
  2. Wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight if possible.
  3. Remove the lamb from the refrigerator about one hour before cooking, and pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Heat up a large saute pan with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When hot, sear the racks on the fat cap side until browning and beginning to caramelized, about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Place entire pan into oven, and roast for about 10-12 minutes for medium rare.
  6. Remove and place on cutting board to rest for about 5 minutes, slice between bones, and serve with panisse and pickled carrots.
  7. Garnish with gremolata or simple chopped parsley and ground black pepper. I like to plate about 2-3 pieces of the panisse with 2 bones of lamb.

So there you have it!  These recipes can be all served together, or served on their own and with other dishes.  Happy cooking everyone!


Christopher Sullivan lives in Chicago, IL, where he has been a server at Blackbird Restaurant for 8 years.  He and partner Arden Nelson are working on opening their own restaurant, an intimate neighborhood bistro, in the near future.


  • Megan

    This looks incredible. It’s the perfect dish as we head into spring. I love how Sarah’s chickpea grits provided the inspiration for such an interesting meal.

  • Donald Evans

    Once again, Mr. Sullivan’s, flawless execution & presentation reward the diner with a mouth watering and seasonally appropriate meal.
    Thanks for sharing.

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