|Julian's Lamb Chops with Scalloped Potatoes and Asparagus|
Of course many of you will say "I don't like lamb." I agree with you that a poor preparation of a bad cut of lamb can taste bad, be chewy and have inedible sinews. So the first choice before you is the cut of meat to choose.
Leg of Lamb
This is what most of our mothers tried to prepare and then serve with mint jelly to try and kill the taste. It was not a success. The real problem with leg of lamb is that bone-in leg of lamb will not cook evenly, with the thin sections of meat near the shank becoming well-done while the meat closer to the bone is still raw. Carving is also an issue usually leaving you with uneven bits and pieces for your platter, as you attempt to cut around the fat, tendons and sinew. The only real solution is not just to select a boneless, tied leg of lamb (as this doesn't solve the myriad problems of a lamb leg) but rather going to a well-qualified butcher and ordering a butterflied leg of lamb. At this stage you at least have a starting point that can provide success, with a bit of additional work. If you are up to the task and have a good butcher at your service, see the recipe by Cooks Illustrated March/April 2013 or Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything". If I've now convinced you not to try the leg, then stick with me as we instead prepare a succulent, tender rack of lamb in no time at all.
Rack of Lamb
Once again you are faced with selecting the best product, so know what you are looking for as all lamb is not created equal.
|U.S. Grain Fed vs Jamison Grass Fed|
|Frenched and Denuded|
I usually prepare the lamb simply, although I think diners often prefer my mustard crusted rack of lamb, which you may want to consider.
If you are going with the simple preparation I used in these photos, begin by preheating the oven to 450F. Rub canola oil over the lamb and season generously with salt and pepper. Interlock two racks of lamb as shown in above photo so they stand up while roasting. Place the lamb in a large oven-safe skillet or stove-top safe roasting pan. Roast on the middle rack of the oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350F and continue cooking for about 10 minutes longer, or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 130-135F. Transfer the meat to a carving board and let rest for about 5-8 minutes tented with foil to keep warm.
|Julian's Rack of Lamb Resting|
Alternatively purchase or prepare a Marsala wine or mushrooms sauce to serve over the meat. Avoid mom's mint jelly at all cost!