Holiday Rack of Lamb for Two

This is a delicious entree to serve on a holiday, birthday or any special occasion for your significant other.  One rack of lamb has 7 or 8 chops – perfect for two to three people.  The one I bought comes from Trader Joe’s and weighed just over 1 lb.  It comes from New Zealand and was trimmed and frenched.  I also have an excellent meat market where I live and I could have ordered from them as well.

Very few members in my family enjoy eating lamb so this was always  a special treat for Gene and me.  See also Lamb Chops in a Red Wine Marinade With a Mint Sauce and Juniper and Jalapeno Jelly-Glazed Lamb Chops for two more favorites.

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My old recipe used Dijon and had a very high cooking temperature of 500°F.   Seemed rather high so I  decided to look around and compare recipes.  So, the following recipe comes from me, the Gandy Dancer Restaurant and simplyrecipes.com.

  • olive oil
  • fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary and basil, minced (or any herb combination of your choice)
  • fresh garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine 1/4 cup oil with the rest of the ingredients to taste.  Place the rack in a shallow dish and brush entire rack on both sides with the oil mixture.  Cover and marinate for 24 hours.

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Remove the rack from the refrigerator about an hour before cooking so it can come to room temperature.  Place the lamb on a rack fat side up (I line the pan with foil to catch the drippings).   Score the fat by making sharp and shallow cuts in the fat an inch or so apart.  Brush once again with the oil mixture.  Place foil around the tips of the bones to prevent burning.

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Preheat your oven to 350°F.  I used this temperature because I had some onions that needed to cook at 350°F.  Anywhere from 350°F to 400°F is a good temperature, just adjust the cooking time.  See my recipe Grilled Whole Sweet Onions Two Ways.

I grow six fresh herbs under gro lights during the winter months and always try to use them.  They are chives, parsley, thyme, mint, rosemary and oregano.  I used them with the lamb, onions and zucchini.   Of course they do not compare to my spring/summer and fall herbs but in the winter when you need just a little…

These onions are really yummy with the lamb – something different than potatoes!

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Bloody rare is 115-125°F; rare 125-130; medium rare 130-140°F; medium 140-150°F.  Yes, I like my lamb cooked and I highly recommend a digital thermometer – no more “stick” thermometers for me.

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I cooked my rack for 45 minutes and it was perfect.  I like it with just a little pink color to it or medium.  Serve with some fresh lemon wedges or my Mint Sauce.  I also grilled some zucchini strips with the same herbs as I used with the lamb.

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Well, I cannot forget the bottle of wine I chose.  Rack of lamb is a rich meat and it was recommended to buy a syrah/shiraz.  While browsing the wine at Meijer’s I saw this bottle called “The Bridge” .  The picture on the front looked very familiar, the wine was on sale from $20 to $10 and it was a 2011 cabernet sauvignon/syrah blend from California – I thought perfect.

Memories came back to me about that bridge over the Bixby Creek to Big Sur.  In our early relationship Gene and I were traveling on business/then pleasure on one of our trips to California and ended up in the Carmel/Monterey Bay region.  We had a beautiful condo in the  Tickle  Pink Hotel (do not let the name fool you as it is almost a 5 star hotel) that had two views of the Pacific Ocean – spectacular except it was very foggy the next morning.

We were planning to take the scenic drive along the coast to Big Sur   but you had to go over this bridge.  Once I saw it from a distance I said no way – heights and me!!!  Now, look closely at that bridge – this was only one of the bridges we would have had to cross.  Not much of a rail and you are fairly close to the edge of the bridge.  Yikes!   Gene learned something new about me that day!

For any movie buffs out there if you ever saw the old movie “Play Misty for Me” a thriller with Clint Eastwood, this bridge appeared early in the movie and you might understand my “fear”.

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