5th Honorable Mention – 2015 Recipe Contest

Chef Richie here, at your service! Happy Holidays! May you be blessed by family, friends, joy and good health. Mangia bene, buona salute ed amore! And may Bella Sun Luci’s heart-healthy, exploding with flavor ingredients help you this holiday season, as I like to say, turn you from a cook into a chef!

Our December honorable mention prizewinner in our 2015 recipe contest is…drum roll please…home chef Michael Watz! Congratulations Chef! You’ll receive a deluxe gift box of Bella Sun Luci products so you can get going on your recipe entry for next year’s contest and add special touches to your holiday meals. Keep up the good work and maybe your next recipe will put you in next year’s contest’s money!

TWO recipes, you ask? Well…’tis the season to have options, fa la la la la…and this is two for the price of one…Chef Watz’s Rack of Lamb with Sun Dried Tomato Crust AND Napa Valley Tomato Jam. I mean, with my constant goal of making Martha Stewart jealous, this is certainly one elegant multifaceted recipe that has a chance! May we all have such luck! One year I made Crown Roast Rack of Lamb…you could try that with this. If you do, don’t forget the needle and thread(!) and to cover the bones with aluminum foil.

Congratulations chef Michael! I’m looking forward to your 2016 Recipe Contest entry and…Chef Richie Says to you and everybody else…Get cooking, happy cooking, buon appetito and felice feste…HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND NEW YEAR!


Rack of Lamb with Sundried Tomato Crust


  • 9 oz Rack of lamb, Frenched style bones
  • 2 Tablespoons Bella Sun Luci, Sun Dried Tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black pepper, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon Smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon Cumin, ground
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup Sun Dried Tomato Bread Crumbs, see recipe below
  • 1/2 cup Napa Valley Tomato Jam, see recipe below
  • 4 Fresh rosemary sprigs


  1. Generously rub the meat portion of the rack of lamb with drained oil from a jar of Bella Sun Luci Sundried Tomatoes.
  2.  Combine the seasonings and lightly season the meat. Place the rack of lamb onto a rimmed baking tray and place into a pre heated 375 degree oven. Roast for 8-10 minutes.
  3.  Remove the baking pan from the oven and allow the lamb to completely cool.
  4. Generously spread the Dijon mustard on the flesh side of the lamb, spoon the Sun Dried Tomatoes Crumbs evenly over the meat gently pressing to adhere. Return the rack of lamb to the oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the bread crumbs are evenly browned.
  5. The internal temperature of the meat should be 145 degrees when checked with a thermometer. Remove the rack of lamb from the oven, tent with foil and allow to rest in a warm area for 10 minutes before serving.
  6. To Serve:
    1. Place the rack of lamb onto a flat surface; using a serrated blade knife, slice between each rib bone on the rack.
    2. On a warm decorative serving platter arrange the lamb chops. Decoratively garnish with sprigs of rosemary and a cup of Napa Valley Tomato Jam. Enjoy!

Sundried Tomato Bread Crumbs

  • 2 cups  Panko Japanese style bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes, drained
  • 3 Tablespoons Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes, Julienne Cut with Herbs
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Fresh garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon zest, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Black pepper, ground

In a large mixing bowl, gently combine all ingredients.

Napa Valley Tomato Jam


  • 2 1/4 cups Tomatoes, canned, diced in juice, strained
  • 1 teaspoon Jalapeno peppers, seeded and small diced
  • 2 teaspoons Fresh garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Shallots, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Asian fish sauce
  • 3/4 cup Brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Red wine vinegar


  1. Blend HALF of the tomatoes, with the jalapeno, garlic, shallots, ginger and Asian fish sauce using a food processor to a fine texture.
  2. Place the pureed ingredients in a sauce pot with the brown sugar, and vinegar, bring to a simmer.
  3. Reduce the temperature of the heat to very low; to the pot add the remaining canned tomatoes. Gently simmer for 30 minutes stirring the jam frequently using a wooden spoon.
  4. Scrape the sides of the sauce pot to remove any accumulated food particles. Cook until the jam has thickened to a thickened jammy consistency.
  5. Taste the jam, if necessary add additional brown sugar or vinegar for the balance of sweet to tart which you would prefer.

Serves 2.


Chef Richie Hirshen

Corporate Chef

Mooney Farms and Bella Sun Luci

Chico, CA

Chef Richie

About Chef Richie

As corporate chef for Bella Sun Luci, Richard "Chef Richie" Hirshen, whose culinary career spans more than 30 years, plays an instrumental role in product development, recipe creation, and cooking demonstrations.

Read Bio