I had never made rack of lamb at home before not because it I was intimidating or anything but because when I got to find some in Amsterdam the price was always way too high. Weirdly enough if you buy the chops alone the price turns around€11/kilo but then for the rack itself the price then turns around the €20/kg! I simply refused to pay more for the same product but presented differently.
But then the other day in the early morning I stopped by my favourite Halal supermarket and the butcher was preparing his stall. And so while he was cutting the whole lamb in different cuts I asked him if he could prepare a rack for me which he happily did and for the same price as for the chops. It was great because I watched him the whole time and got to learn how to cut an entire lamb and prepare a rack of lamb the french way with cleaned bones. I really enjoyed that moment and I think my butcher appreciated that I showed interest & respect for his work. I think I’ve made a new friend 🙂
Because this was my first rack of lamb I wanted to make something luxurious and festive with it. So I created a herb crust and served the dish with caramelised vegetables: carrots, beetroots & red onions… & simple but delicious mashed potatoes (with loads of butter and cream 😉 )
Herb-and-bread-crumb coatings are classic on rack of lamb – see for example my breaded lamb chops with salsa verde recipe, but leaving out the crumbs lightens the dish. This recipe is best made with new garlic — garlic that has not been aged. It is covered with a moist membrane rather than papery skin and is often sold with greens attached. If you’re lucky enough to find some, substitute the chopped garlic greens for half of the parsley in the herb mixture.
Rack of lamb with garlic and herbs crust served with caramelised vegetables & mashed potatoes:
Cooking time: 1hr
Ingredients for the lamb rack:
– 6 small carrots, halved lengthways
– 2 small red onion, cut in 6 equal wedges
– 1 frenched racks of lamb (about 800gr), trimmed of all but a thin layer of fat
– sea salt & black pepper
– olive oil
Ingredients for the herb & garlic crust:
– 1/2 head of new garlic or 3 large regular garlic cloves, minced
– a handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
– 1tbsp of finely chopped fresh thyme
– 2tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
– salt & pepper
– 1tbsp olive oil
Ingredients for roasted vegetables & mashed potatoes:
– 6 small carrots , (halved lengthways)
– 2 small red onions, cut in 6 equal wedges
– 6 small beetroots, (halved lengthways)
– 1kg potatoes
– 50ml cream
– 20gr butter
Heat a dry frying pan over high heat until hot, at least 2 minutes. Meanwhile, pat lamb dry and rub meat all over with salt and pepper. Add oil to the hot pan, then brown the rack on all sides (not ends), about 10 minutes.
Transfer racks to a small roasting grill (ideally that you can fix above a tray where you will cook your vegetables). Put oven rack in middle position and pre-heat oven to 180°C and get started with your vegetables.
Place the carrots, beetroots and red onions into a the roasting tray and toss with a good pinch of salt and pepper and about 2 tbsp of olive oil. Cover with foil, then place in the hot oven and cook for around 30 minutes. Once the vegetables are cooked through, remove the foil, then add the remaining bay, the runny honey, and about 2 tbsp of white wine vinegar. Return the roasting tray to the oven and keep roasting until you’re done with cooking the lamb. Your vegetables will become golden and sticky.
Now stir together garlic, herbs, salt, pepper, and oil. Coat meaty parts of lamb with herb mixture, pressing to help adhere. Place your rack of lamb on the grill above your vegetables and roast 15 minutes, then cover lamb loosely with foil and roast for another 10 minutes.
Let stand, covered, 10 minutes for medium-rare.
While the lamb is cooking, make the potato mash. Put the potatoes in a casserole-type pan with 3litres cold water, a good pinch of salt and cook them for 15min once the water is boiling.
Mash the potatoes together with the cream and butter. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Once the mash is ready put the lid on and keep warm.
Cut the rack into 4 double chops and served with the fluffy mashed potatoes and sticky vegetables. YUM!
Cuts like rack of lamb, noisettes and leg of lamb – exactly the sort of delicacy that deserves to be paired with fine wines – top quality Bordeaux, burgundy and Rioja, all with a few years’ bottle age. (Mature wines go well with this style of lamb). I’ve got a bias in favour of a Bordeaux Grave or cru Beaujolais with this type of dish.
The Dutch boyfriend’s opinion:
As a simple guy, coming from a town where everybody buys their food prepped and ready from the supermarket, lamb is still new to me. But Dennis, you might say, you already rated Raphaëlle’s delicious Guiness Lamb, right? True, but that does not mean I eat lamb every week/month… unfortunately… So when Raphaëlle decided to make a new lamb dish, I was very enthusiastic: it does feel like Christmas when I can smell the delicious lamb being cooked in the kitchen. The lamb rack was great! The meat was not dry at all and it was a manly pleasure to rip of the meat with hands and teeth. Raphaëlle’s puree & caramelised vegetables are the best, period.