What does your family eat for Easter dinner? Do you make a special dinner or have time-tested traditions? If you’re looking to try your hand at something new and a bit extravagant, try rack of lamb! While the finished product looks fancy and complicated, truth be told it is VERY easy to get right. As long as you have some fresh herbs and a working meat thermometer, you’re guaranteed to produce a dinner to impress family and friends.
My sweet fiancee and I were in Whole Foods last weekend, looking for something delicious for dinner. We had a gift certificate and decide to splurge on lamb. They were a bit pricey at Whole Foods – $19.99 a pound, but they clean the legs for you there and tell you how much you’ll need. I appreciated both things because they really helped! Step-by-step instructions and photos after the jump!
Here’s what we did: We bought just more than two pounds of lamb – that was two racks. When we bought them, the legs were already bare. If you buy them from the grocery store, you’ll first have to clean everything off around the legs, so the bones stick out like this:
If you don’t know how, then this video from Chowhound can help.
Then you’ll need to remove the excess fat. You’ll want to leave a little bit on, so the lamb doesn’t dry out, but there will be so much, you definitely want to remove quite a bit. Using a paring knife the fat comes off easily.
Next, season the lamb using salt and pepper. I used sea salt, because I have a major addiction to it. Then, you need to marinate the lamb. We poured a bit of olive oil (about half a cup) over the meat, added a little more salt and pepper, fresh garlic (how much is up to you) and some fresh rosemary and let it sit out for about an hour. (Note, you can marinate it in the fridge up to 8 or so hours. If you put it in the fridge, leave it out for 20 or 30 minutes to get to room temperature before the next step.)
Heat a skillet to medium-high heat, and sear the lamb on both sides, for about 3-4 minutes on each side. I like a cast iron skillet for searing because of how hot it gets, but you can use a regular skillet.
Preheat your oven to 425. Put the lamb chops on a roasting rack, with more rosemary, garlic and salt and pepper on top. We didn’t have a roasting pan, so we used the dutch oven.
Put the lamb in the oven, cook until finished which only takes 15 – 20 minutes, or until the thermometer reads the designated temperature, which is 130 degrees for medium rare. If you like it more cooked, 160 is medium, 170 is well. The thermometer is your friend.
We cooked ours until 170 because we were nervous cooking lamb for the first time. I would have liked it slightly rarer, but it was by no means well done. It was juicy and flavorful and really, really tender! They were delicious.
I ate mine with a sweet potato and some collard greens from Whole Foods. Doesn’t it look tasty? It’s really so easy, I promise. Let me know if you try it at home!