Enjoy | Taste of Jackson Hole

Lamb at The Blue Lion

// By Sue Muncaster 

Rack of lamb has been on the menu at the Blue Lion for more than 40 years. On the restaurant’s busiest nights, as many as 40 of the 120 entrees served are this $75 dish—an epic eight-bone rack of New Zealand lamb roasted in a Dijon-herbed breadcrumb crust served over a creamy fresh peppercorn sauce with wild rice, seasonal veggies, and a side of jalapeño mint jelly. 

In a house across the street from Miller Park a couple of blocks from the Town Square, the Blue Lion opened in 1976 with French-trained chef Karen Scott as owner/chef. Local lore is that the restaurant’s name came from Scott. According to the restaurant’s website, she was “sad and blue that she finally had to go to work, and her birth sign was a Leo; thus, the Blue Lion.” In 1978 Ned Brown bought the restaurant. He originally wanted to do BBQ or Mexican cuisine but decided to keep the French-bistro-fine-dining vibe. Brown owned and ran the restaurant until 2021, when Jackson-based Blue Collar Group bought it. 

New owners often like to shake things up, but Blue Collar knew that wasn’t the move for the Blue Lion. “From the beginning, we have been committed to keeping the historic dishes the same,” says culinary director Jeremy Williamson. “With 50 to 60 percent of our total clientele being local residents, some of whom have standing reservations on the same day for weeks into the foreseeable future, why change?” There was one small change in the rack of lamb, though: the restaurant swapped out the baguettes used as the basis for the dried-herb breadcrumbs that coat the rack. It now uses baguettes baked locally by 460 Bread. When asked why it doesn’t use locally raised Idaho or Wyoming lamb, Williamson says, “There’s simply no substitute for the taste of the New Zealand meat.”

Roasted Rack of Lamb with Peppercorn Cream Sauce and Jalapeño Mint Sauce

6 servings
For the Lamb
6 racks of lamb 
1 cup Dijon mustard
2 cups breadcrumbs
1 stick (1/4 lb.) melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush each rack with Dijon mustard and roll in breadcrumbs. Arrange the racks on a baking sheet and drizzle with melted butter. Bake until medium-rare (inside meat temperature should be 120 degrees F, which should take approximately 20–30 minutes). Let sit for 5 minutes, slice into chops, serve over peppercorn cream sauce, and pass the jalapeño mint jelly. 

Peppercorn Cream Sauce
10 cups chicken or beef stock with fat removed
2 cups Burgundy, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Pinot Noir wine
2 tbs. brandy
1 tsp. shallots, minced 
1 tbs. mixed peppercorns, coarsely crushed
1 tbs. fresh rosemary, chopped
2 cups heavy cream
Salt to taste

Bring the stock to a boil in a saucepan and reduce to 1 cup. Bring the wine, brandy, and peppercorns to a boil in a separate saucepan and reduce to one cup. Combine with the reduced stock. Continue to boil until the sauce is reduced again to one cup. Add the rosemary and
salt to taste (the sauce can be prepared in advance up to this point and reheated over medium heat). Add the cream and heat slowly
until thickened. 

Jalapeño Mint jelly
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbs. crème de menthe
1 1/2 cups fresh mint, chopped
3 fresh jalapeños, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup cold water
1 tsp. gelatin powder

In a saucepan, combine water, sugar, and crème de menthe over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the fresh mint and jalapeños and bring to a boil. In a separate small saucepan, whisk the cold water with the gelatin and heat slowly over low heat just until the gelatin is dissolved. Mix the gelatin with the mint mixture and stir thoroughly. Refrigerate overnight until set. Stir before serving. JH

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