We are lovers of lamb at our house. We especially enjoy grilled loin chops marinated in olive oil, herbs and garlic. When I want to create a special occasion meal for our family or guests, I usually spring for lamb racks, roasting them with this Herb and Guinness Mustard Crust.
Roasting is a great way to prepare rack of lamb, especially when you add a crust by cooking on high heat (375–425°F) for 13 to 15 minutes or until browned. Searing the meat first helps seal in the juices and creates an even crisper crust. Cooking time depends on the size of the rack and how rare you like it.
Rack of lamb is best when cooked rare, or at most medium-rare. Whole legs and racks are most tender roasted no more than medium-rare (we prefer ours on the rare side of medium) and will continue to cook when taken out of the oven. We remove the dish before reaching the desired doneness, tent with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
While I was growing up, lamb was not something we frequently had on the table. It was not available in markets; most of our meat came from the chickens, beef and pork that my grandfather raised. He would sometimes trade pork or beef for a lamb half or receive a lamb leg as payment for his services as a plumber. (He probably wouldn’t accept anything less than the entire lamb today.)
Lamb is now much more readily available in our markets and from Arkansas producers. We not only enjoy chops, but a good, earthy lamb stew as well. My husband is anxious to smoke a leg soon, and I’ll gladly be his taste tester for that one.
RACK OF LAMB WITH HERB AND GUINNESS MUSTARD CRUST
Preparation Time: approximately 2 hours total
Serves 6 to 8
- two 8-rib racks of lamb, frenched (about 2 ½ pounds) and trimmed of excess fat and sinew
- Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh garlic
- 1 ½ cups fresh bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons Guinness mustard
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Using the flat blade of a knife on a cutting board, rub together the kosher salt and black pepper and garlic to form a paste.
- Rub the racks of lamb with a tablespoon or two of the olive oil and season with the garlic, kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper paste. Let stand at room temperature for 1 to 1 ½ hours. If you try to cook lamb straight from the refrigerator, your cooking will be uneven. Wrap the ends of the bones with aluminum foil to prevent charring.
- In a bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, mint, rosemary and parsley. Add additional salt and pepper if desired. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Brush the meaty side of each rack with 1 tablespoon of the Guinness mustard and pack each with the breadcrumb mixture.
- In a large cast iron skillet, warm the remaining olive oil to medium-high heat. Make sure the skillet is very hot before adding the racks of lamb or the coating will stick to the pan and not the meat. Add the lamb racks coating side down and brown on both sides about 2 minutes per side.
- On a rack in a roasting pan, place the racks bone side down and transfer to the oven. Roast until the crust is nicely browned, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat and away from the bone, registers 130 degrees for medium-rare. Remove from the oven and set aside to rest as directed.
- Cut into double chops and serve immediately.