Rack of Lamb

Sunday Lunch
- 3 March 2013 -

Last week-end after a breakfast with some friends at the Castle Walk shopping centre in Pretoria, I stopped over at a deli in the shopping centre to purchase a "rack of lamb". I have been contemplating making one of these for a while. My last attempt turned into a non-event. The one I last bought was at my local supermarket and after I discovered that the lamb chops I bought for a braai at the same time, didn't smell healthy, I returned the chops and the rack of lamb in fear that they were "off" too. So I never got to try it out.

When I returned from the deli, I popped the "11 rib rack of lamb" in the freezer for the following week-end. Friday night I removed the rack to thaw overnight. I researched some recipes, and decided that I would french cut the rack to remove some of the fatty bits, however I had never done this before so I researched on the internet how to do that too. I'm sure the butcher would have done it for me if I had asked....

I also decided to cut the rack in 2, and cut grooves into the fat.... apparently it helps to get the remaining fat a little crispy when roasting.

While at the deli I also bought some spices, I wasn't in the mood to go collect all the spices separately so I bought a grinder with a pre-mixture of herbs and spices, and spread this all over the racks, followed by some ground black pepper. In the process I also included some olive oil.

Well seasoned..... I bagged the "rack of lamb"s in a large ziplock bag, and tried to remove as much air as possible, and then returned the meat to the fridge for the next day.

Sometime during the night I decided I needed some side dishes to go with my Sunday lunch, so left early the next morning to the local supermarket to get some more ingredients. I returned with a myriad of extras (something that normally happens when I go to the supermarket). I decided on some roasted vegetables and a cous cous mixture as a starch, and also landed up buying some extra herbs.

When I arrived back home I first removed the lamb from the fridge. I read somewhere on the Internet that if I was going to get my "rack of lamb" pinkish / rare'ish, it's best to do this once the meat is back to room temperature. I also chopped some fresh rosemary and covered the lamb all over with this.

The Internet also showed tinfoil on the exposed "french cut" bones, so I knew that I would have to do this too, but wasn't sure why. So I searched the Internet again to find that this helps so that the bones don't burn while roasting in the oven. So I started covering all bones with foil.

By this time the lamb was at room temperature so I switched the oven on, I set it to about 230 degrees Celsius, and placed the racks on a grill with a drip tray..... Time for the veggies. 

I chopped some quick roasting veggies into pieces, placed these in a roasting dish and drizzled it with olive oil. 

The oven was still heating up so I chopped some mushroom, red and yellow peppers and sun-dried tomatoes. I threw this mixture into a small pot together with some oil and garlic. I fried this relatively slowly.... I wanted to get the sun-dried tomatoes to soften up a bit before I add it to the cous cous.

At this point the oven was ready and I placed the veggies and lamb into the oven. The plan was to roast on 230 degrees for about 10 minutes then reduce to 150 degrees for a further 15 minutes. 

While that was roasting, I prepared the cous cous, chopped some chives and added the mushroom mixture from the stove together in a large bowl.

I tested the meats temperature with a meat thermometer, when it was at about 135 degrees Celsius I removed the lamb from the oven to stand for about 10 minutes, but left  the veggies in for about 5 minutes longer.

At this point I stopped taking photos, the rosemary flavoured lamb was smelling all too good and I wanted to dig in. So I cut off a couple of chops dished up for my mother and myself and sat down for a Sunday lunch.

Turns out my Internet researching and "the day before" preparations was a good thing. The lamb was cooked just right and the seasoning was excellent. The veggies and cous cous complimented it fantastically. 

A successful Sunday lunch, if you haven't tried it yet... it's worth your while.

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