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Rack of Lamb with Garlic and Herbs

April 15, 2009

Its odd that lamb is actually becoming a dinner time staple these days, but that’s mostly because there’s a lot of lamb recipes in my cookbooks, and I am still trying to force myself to be on track and get through these recipes. Plus, my co-op, Main Line Prime, and the Reading Terminal market all have enough fresh, local lamb available to get me through all of my cookbooks and then some.

I was definitely on cooking hiatus these last few days (mostly due to the holidays and tax prep), but last night I love cooking, but I also love not going to Federal prison for tax evasion, and the little lottery/refund-y graphic on Turbo Tax. Side note on that graphic: I’m kinda concerned that some peoples (not myself, of course) might’ve been tempted to play with the numbers on their returns – just a little bit – to see if they could get a little bit more here or there. And they would be bad. Don’t do that.

Anyways, back to feasting – I wandered home from Happy Hour @ the Pub around 8 with only the vaguest bits of sobriety and idea of what I was cooking. In that, there was rack o’ lamb in the fridge to cook.

And since my dexterity was somewhat impaired, I decided to go back to good ol’ Joy of Cooking – which was SO amazingly helpful on my first rack ‘o lamb attempt. I followed their directions on browning a rack of lamb, and then picked their herb coating to go with it. Ta-da. I know, culinary geniuses weep at my feet.

For those of you who don’t brown lamb often, it really couldn’t be easier and cut the actual “cooking time” down pretty sufficiently (in that we were eating at 9p instead of 10p). According to JoC, I heated a heavy non-stick skillet over high heat until sizzling hot, which ends up being at least 2 minutes.

This was also the ideal time to put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

While that was heating, I took my lamb, trimmed some of the fat, patted ‘er dry and rubbed it all over with salt and pepper. Remembering cooking class, I forwent the addition of oil to the skillet and dry seared the sucker for about 3 mins on each side (or until it released).

While browning, whisked together garlic, herbs, salt, pepper, and oil. My thyme plant isn’t even in the ground yet, so I felt too bad about going and grabbing it’s little leaves, but the rosemary was fresh from my garden and was crazy potent. I may have been a little heavy handed on the oil, but it just didn’t seem like quite enough to really coat the meat without a good 3 tablespoons.

Now, JoC says to move rack to a small roasting pan, but I don’t have this wonderful pan for nothing, so instead of moving the rack, I coated the lamb on both sides with the herb mixture, covered the pan with foil per the instructions, and popped the whole thing in the over. Worked like a charm (also, I’m not certain that I own a roasting pan smaller then something meant for a turkey).

The coat the meaty parts of lamb with herb mixture, pressing to help adhere, is really key. The oil tasted incredibly awesome, so you really want to get that in there.

JoC said to roast for 15 mins, then let stand, covered, for 10 mins. This got everything to a gorgeous mid-rare temperature, but this was a pretty small rack, so definitely adjust. Roasting for 5 mins without the foil, and then tenting might’ve been effective, too.

Meanwhile, the boy was rocking an adapted recipe from my cooking class – I think the official title was “Brussels sprouts with bacon and apples” and it became “Red Cabbage with bacon, a little bit of brown sugar and lemon juice added in there). Awesome, blood red side dish, and the combination of brown sugar and bacon fat is still (and always will be) a winner.

Rack of Lamb with Garlic and Herbs

1 (8-rib) frenched racks o’ lamb, trimmed of all but a thin layer of fat
salt & pepper to taste

Herb coating
4 large garlic cloves, diced
1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme (fresh being preferred)
2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary (ditto)
salt & pepper to taste
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

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