There are few roasts as tender and flavourful as a rack of lamb. Corresponding to prime rib on a steer, a lamb rack is naturally delicate in flavour and texture. Like prime rib, or a rib steak, the meat of the rack is beautifully marbled and well suited to roasting or grilling. Racks are typically trimmed and ready for the oven when purchased, with surplus layers of fat cut away and the bones bared for half their length. There are many recipes for rack of lamb, but most follow the same standard technique.
Set out a sharp knife and a clean cutting board on your work surface. Peel and dice the onion, celery and carrot. Put the vegetables in the bottom of a roasting pan, arranging them into a platform for the racks to rest on.
Preheat an oven to 232 degrees Celsius. Place the two racks in the roasting pan, with the fat side facing up and the curved bones facing down. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Strip the leaves from the thyme sprigs, and sprinkle them over the racks.
Roast the racks until the internal temperature reads 57.2 to 60.0 degrees C on a meat thermometer, approximately 30 minutes. Remove racks from the oven, cover, and let them rest for at least five minutes before carving.
Slice the rack between rib bones into single or double chops. Plate the lamb with suitable sauce and side dishes, as directed in whichever recipe you choose to follow.
Optional Step: Place the roasting pan and roasted vegetables on the hob. Heat the vegetables until they begin to brown, stirring regularly. Drain off any excess fat. Pour 1/4 cup of red wine and 1 cup of beef broth into the hot pan, stirring vigorously until all the cooked-on pan juices have dissolved into the liquid. Simmer until the liquid has reduced by 2/3, and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain, season, and serve as a sauce with the lamb.
Rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram, lemon zest and juniper berries are all very compatible with lamb. So are cumin, coriander, pomegranate and apricots, which are traditional accompaniments in much of the Mediterranean and Middle East. Try combinations of these flavours, in place of the traditional mint sauce.
Tips and warnings
- Rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram, lemon zest and juniper berries are all very compatible with lamb. So are cumin, coriander, pomegranate and apricots, which are traditional accompaniments in much of the Mediterranean and Middle East. Try combinations of these flavours, in place of the traditional mint sauce.