Lamb is a delicious alternative to beef. There is leg of lamb, ground lamb and rack of lamb. I love it all. But perhaps, rack of lamb is the most elegant of lamb dishes. While it sounds like a dish reserved for special occasions, it is an relatively easy dish, and shouldn’t be relegated to just dinner parties. This recipe has simple ingredients, and takes less than an hour from start to finish.
How many bones are in a typical rack?
While the size of the racks will vary, the average rack of lamb has 7 or 8 bones and weighs about 1 3/4 pounds. Depending on your family’s appetites, or what side dishes you are serving, a rack will serve between 3 or 4 people. (As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn commission on qualifying purchases.)
What are “Frenched” bones?
“Frenching” a rack of lamb means trimming the bones of excess fat and meat. In culinary school, we were given untrimmed racks to practice “Frenching” the meat, but now you can buy lamb racks with bones that are already cleaned and trimmed.
What’s the difference between rack of lamb and lamb chops?
A rack of lamb is roasted with all the bones intact, whereas lamb chops are the individual ribs separated and trimmed before cooking.
What is the ideal temperature for lamb
When you’ve spent a good deal of money on a beautiful rack or two of lamb, the last thing you want is over-cooked, or even medium meat. Medium rare is the ideal temperature for most lamb dishes. The key to a good rack of lamb is to get an nicely browned outside and meat that’s a on the rare side of medium-rare or what’s considered “rosy rare”, or perfectly pink meat.
Ingredients for this lamb marinade
This marinade with make enough for two racks. This recipe can be divided in half or doubled. The olive oil-mustard mixture can be spread on the lamb up to 24 hours before roasting. Store in a ziplock bag and refrigerate until ready to roast.
- One or two 7-8 bone racks.
- Dijon mustard
- Fresh rosemary (don’t use dried)
- lemon juice
- olive oil
How to roast rack of lamb
For best results bring the lamb to room temperature, or remove from the refrigerator an hour before roasting. Prepare the marinade by mixing Dijon mustard, olive oil, fresh chopped rosemary, lemon juice, kosher salt and black pepper in a small bowl. Cover the bones of the rack with aluminum foil to prevent them from burning.
Brush the lamb marinade over all surfaces of the rack. This step can be done ahead of time. Wrap meat until ready to roast. If roasting right away, place in a preheated oven to 500 degrees F. Place the rack in the center of the oven. Place the lamb rack in a roasting pan.
Roast lamb for 10 minutes to sear the meat. Reduce the oven to 400 degrees F. and roast another 15-20 minutes until medium rare. Test lamb for doneness by inserting an instant read thermometer in the thickest part of the meat. Remove lamb when the internal temperature reaches 125 degrees F. Place meat on a cutting board to rest. Cover loosely with aluminum foil to retain heat, but not continue cooking. With a sharp knife, slice the lamb between the rib bones.
What should I serve with lamb?
This dish has plenty of flavor as it is, but this Mint Sauce is be an excellent accompaniment. An elegant salad like this Pear and Gorgonzola Salad would be lovely starter for a dinner party. Roasted potatoes are a classic pairing with lamb, but this Golden Rice Pilaf would be another alternative for the starch course. Creamed Spinach or Grilled Vegetables are nice vegetable options depending on the season.
Roast Rack of Lamb
- 1 3/4 pounds rack of lamb 7-8 ribs, trimmed.
- 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- In a small bowl, whisk marinade ingredients until well blended.
Roasting the rack of lamb
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Move rack to middle of the oven.
- If lamb rack is not cleaned or Frenched by the butcher, trim any remaining fat from the bones, by scraping with a knife. Cover the bones with aluminum foil to prevent them from burning.
- Brush the marinade over all sides of the rack. (Lamb can be refrigerated at this point until ready to roast if desired).
- Place lamb in oven and roast for 10 minutes to sear. Reduce heat to 400 degrees F. and continue roasting for an additional 15-20 minutes or until thermometer inserted in thickest part of meat reads 125 degrees F.
- Remove lamb and place on cutting board to rest. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Cut lamb between ribs. Serve 2-3 ribs per person.
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