How to Roast a Rack of Lamb

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Intimidated by roasting a rack of lamb (or two, or three)?

Don’t be. 

I’m going to show you how.

This post explains how to roast a rack of lamb, and includes loads of tips (including a quick buying guide), a step-by-step photo recipe, and a printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.   

Roasted rack of lamb is a really easy way to get a fancy feast on the table in under an hour.

It’s perfect for the holidays, and you can customize it with your favorite flavors.

For this recipe, I’ve used a classic garlic and green herb rub (sage, rosemary, thyme!), but feel free to switch it up with your go-to spices.  

The best part?

This recipe is ridiculously simple, especially if you get your racks of lamb already frenched.

What is a “Frenched” rack of lamb?

“Frenched” is a fancy, culinary way of saying that the roasts are trimmed to expose the ends of their long, luscious bones.   

That’s this whole situation with the ends of the ribs sticking out, here:

When you “french” a bone, you’re mostly nipping and scraping away gristle and fat that most folks wouldn’t want to eat, so not much love lost there.

It’s a strictly aesthetic move that gives a rack of lamb its signature, fit-for-royalty look. 

Kind of gross looking when the meat is raw, I know. (Bloody bones, very Game of Thrones, right?)

But those bones roast up to a toasty brown in the oven, which makes them great to save for soup or stock later on. 

That’s pure flavor, there. Witness:

And when you cut the rack of lamb apart into individual, tiny chops, you get the lollipop lamb chops that so many peeps know and love. 

How to buy rack of lamb

These days, you can find racks of lamb already frenched at lots of grocery stores here in the US.

Don’t judge, I actually grabbed ours at BJs of all places this year.

Australian lamb. Really good quality. Fantastic flavor. And great price, didn’t break the bank remotely. (P.S. That’s not an ad, just some good old fashioned thrifty love.)

They came shrink-wrapped: 

Look for roasts that have creamy white fat and a larger portion of meat on the bone.

Some roasts can have less meat than others, so I’d def recommend picking through them and choosing the heftier ones.

For rough sizing, a medallion of meat about the diameter of a golf ball or larger is pretty good. Anything smaller is going to be kind of scrawny on the plate. 

Already frenched is a good call, unless you feel like cleaning the bones off yourself. It’s not hard, just takes time. 

If you want/need to french the lamb bones yourself, check out my step-by-step photos here.  (Or watch me painstakingly and sort of hilariously french a really yummy rack of pork here.) 

Most lamb in the US comes from Australia. As with anything: Read the labels, talk to your butcher, make informed decisions about what you’re munching. <3

Scale this rack of lamb recipe up or down

This recipe is easy to scale up or down to fit your crowd. 

Two good sized racks should feed 3 – 4 moderately hungry people for dinner, with sides and apps.

For the roasts I got this time, that would be about 4 ribs per person.

Sounds like a lot, but there’s generally not a ton of meat on each rib. 

If you have a standard sized-oven, you should be able to fit 4 racks in at once (2 on the top on one pan, 2 on the bottom on a second pan), since we’re roasting them flat, not standing. 

Alrighty, TO THE OVENS!

Roast Rack of Lamb

2 racks of lamb, bones frenched (about 1.5 lbs each)
5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
9-10 leaves fresh sage, chopped
3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
12 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

Serves 3 – 4 as an entree

Do a little prep

Pre-heat your oven to 450-degrees F.

Nestle a rack on a sheet pan or large roasting pan. You want to keep the meat up off the pan. Set it aside for a sec.

Make the herb rub for your racks of lamb

Peel and mince your garlic. 

Chop up the sage, rosemary, and thyme. 

Put the olive oil in a measuring cup or bowl.  

Toss in the chopped herbs and minced garlic. Mix it around until uniform. 

 

Season your racks of lamb

Set your racks of lamb in your prepared pan.

I put both like this, bones facing. That way, the meat would brown more evenly.

(If you squashed them up against each other, meat sides facing, they wouldn’t brown well where they touch, they’d more sort of steam.)

Put half the herb rub on the fatty part of one roast, and half on the other.  

Spread the rub around to coat the tops of the racks of lamb. Rub a little oil down the bones.

(This will give them great color. This makes for a handsome presentation, and also builds flavor, so these will be great for soup later if you want to save them.)

Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste. 

 

And there you go! Your racks of lamb are ready for the oven. 

Easy, right?

Roast your racks of lamb

Slide your racks of lamb into your preheated, 450-degree F oven.

Roast for about 20 minutes for rare, 25 minutes for medium-rare.

When they’re done, they’ll be nicely browned on top and register about 145-degrees F for medium-rare on a meat thermometer (placed in the thickest part of the meat, NOT touching any bones).    

Let the racks of lamb rest before carving 

When the meat is done to your liking, yank the pan out of the oven.

Set on a rack on the counter.   

Tent loosely with a piece of foil for 15 minutes before serving.

Letting your rack of lamb “rest” like this gives the meat a little time to finish cooking and let the juices settle. 

Carve and serve your racks of lamb

Aaaaaaand…you did it! After letting the meat rest for about 15 minutes, transfer your racks of lamb to a serving platter. 

Some people like to carve and plate them in the kitchen.

Some people like to do this at the table for a little extra drama.

Up to you!  

Enjoy!

The Angry Chef likes to carve thick, double chops and serve them with a coarse grind of Himalayan pink salt.   

Did you make this recipe? What kind of seasonings did you use? How did it go? Drop us a comment below, we’d love to know!  

How to Roast a Rack of Lamb

Roasted rack of lamb is a really easy way to get a fancy feast on the table in under an hour. It's perfect for the holidays, and you can customize it with your favorite flavors. For this recipe, I've used a classic garlic and green herb rub (sage, rosemary, thyme!), but feel free to switch it up with your go-to spices.  

Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

2 racks of lamb, bones frenched (about 1.5 lbs each)
5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
9-10 leaves fresh sage, chopped
3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
12 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 450-degrees F. Nestle a rack on a sheet pan or large roasting pan. Set it aside for a sec.
  2. Peel and mince your garlic. Chop up the sage, rosemary, and thyme. Put the olive oil in a measuring cup or bowl. Toss in the chopped herbs and minced garlic. Mix it around until uniform. 
  3. Set your racks of lamb in your prepared pan.
  4. Put half the herb rub on the fatty part of one roast, and half on the other. Spread the rub around to coat the tops of the racks of lamb. Rub a little oil down the bones. Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste. 
  5. Slide your racks of lamb into your preheated, 450-degree F oven. Roast for about 20 minutes for rare, 25 minutes for medium-rare. When they're done, they'll be nicely browned on top and register about 145-degrees F for medium-rare on a meat thermometer (placed in the thickest part of the meat, NOT touching any bones).    
  6. When the meat is done to your liking, yank the pan out of the oven. Set on a rack on the counter. Tent loosely with a piece of foil for 15 minutes before serving.
  7. Aaaaaaand...you did it! After letting the meat rest for about 15 minutes, transfer your racks of lamb to a serving platter. 
  8. Carve into single or double chops and serve! Enjoy!
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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie works as an advertising copywriter in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.

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