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Let’s Cook!

January 1, 2010

Since we are offering a discount on Frenched Rack of Lamb to Oklahoma Food Co-op members this month, I thought it would be fun to prepare a couple for New Year’s Eve dinner to demonstrate how easy it is to fix grassfinished lamb. 

First, we start with two racks. These are smaller than the racks you might find at a specialty meat market, because we raise dairy sheep, and all the cuts will be smaller when compared to the same cuts from a meat lamb. The rack comes from the muscle that runs along side the backbone from the first rib to where the last rib connects to the spine. This same muscle continues back towards the hip and forms one side of the ‘t-bone’ in loin chops. Before we start, turn your oven on to 350°. 

The racks are "frenched" when the meat is trimmed away from the riblets. It's a presentation thing 🙂


Be sure to pat the meat dry with a paper towel before seasoning. For seasoning, I like to keep it simple: sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and garlic powder. Tonight I’m also adding some crushed chili powder from High Tides and Green Fields to kick it up a notch! Sprinkle the seasonings on both sides, then pat or rub them into the meat. 

Season as lightly or heavily as you prefer


Now put a little oil in a heavy saucepan, and turn on the heat to medium high. We want to sear these racks on both sides once the oil is hot. I used olive oil, but I also like to use lard. 

Like the skillet? Thanks, Mom and Dad, for the Christmas present!


The two racks I picked weigh about the same, but one is longer (and skinnier) than the other. It only takes a few minutes to brown. 

Once it's browned, flip it to the other side


You can braise/brown these one at a time. When the first one is done, remove it from the pan and add the second. 

See how the edges are already cooked?


When the second one is nicely browned on both sides, put the first one back in the pan with it. The next step is to put them in the oven to finish, but before we do that, we want to add some moisture to the pan. You have several choices here: red wine, cognac or sherry, or good ole’ H2O will all work. I opted for red wine, about 1/4 cup. 

Look at that steam!


Now place the skillet in your 350° oven, uncovered, and set the timer for 20 minutes. The long, skinny rack should turn out medium well, and the short, fat one will be less done (hopefully medium rare) at that duration. You can adjust your time according to how done you want the meat. 

My mouth is starting to water at this point...


When you’re halfway through the cooking time, reach in and turn each rack over. When the timer dings, remove the pan from the oven and place the racks on a platter to rest. 

Wait! Let them rest 10 minutes before you slice them!


Resting the meat (this goes for steaks, too) allows it to re-absorb the juices lost from the sauna effect of the oven. While the racks rest, place the pan on the stove on low heat, and add about 1/2 tablespoon of flour to make a roux. 

Don't overdo the roux, or it will break


Now we’re going to harvest! all that seasoning and those fine juices that stayed in the pan after you removed the racks. Once the flour has cooked, add about 1/4 cup of lamb stock or water (I just used water tonight) and stir until blended. 

It will bubble and cook, even on low heat. Just keep stirring!


Add more water if it gets too thick. You can also add more seasoning–taste it! 

Looks like gravy to me! Oh, you're French? OK, looks like *sauce* to me 🙂


While you were making the gravy, er, sauce for the lamb, the racks finished resting. Now it’s time to cut them. 

These are medium rare to rare. YUM!!!


 Just take a sharp serrated knife and cut in between each rib. We have the processor remove the chine bone to make it easier to cut. 

The ends are more done than the middle. This one is medium well on the ends and medium in the middle.


Arrange the slices on a plate and drizzle the sauce on top. Wasn’t that easy? Total time, including prep, is under 45 minutes. You can also skip the oven step and just finish them in the pan (turn down the heat to medium-low) if you want to eat them on the rare side. Notice that there is very little fat from this cut. The racks are the leanest, most tender of all the cuts of lamb. Allow 1-2 servings per rack. Enjoy!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Deba Peterson permalink
    January 3, 2010 7:15 pm

    Nanc, the rack of lamb was THE BEST I’ve ever had. Your recipe is awesome! Very easy to follow. The meat was so tender and melts in your mouth. Great idea about using the red wine in the sauce. I didn’t want to share it, the meat not the wine. I’m a customer for life… Continued success to You and Sue.

  2. Nanc permalink*
    January 3, 2010 7:57 pm

    Deba, it was great to see you again today. I can’t believe you cooked the rack *already*, LOL. Glad you enjoyed it!

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