Roasted Rack of Lamb Is An Easy Recipe And A Crowd Pleaser

I have a few friends coming over for an early Easter potluck dinner this weekend and we’re all preparing our favorite Easter recipes. My favorite, rack of lamb and roasted potatoes, is super easy and always a crowd-pleaser so I thought I’d share it with you.

As a first step, I go to my local butcher and have him prepare several racks of lamb by cutting off the chine bone (back bone), so you can cut through the rack and remove the meat from the ribs (called “frenching a rack of lamb”), giving you the option to put those cute little paper decorations on each rib (just kidding). I also ask to have some of the excess fat trimmed and the backs scored so that each chop, when sliced, has the perfect proportion of meat and fat.

The day before, I whisk together mustard, rosemary and lemon zest and marinate the racks so they’re super flavorful when roasted. 45 minutes before serving, I pat the meat dry and sear the racks in a large skillet to create a golden crust and seal in the juices. I finish the cooking by transferring the racks to a roasting pan, surrounding them with well seasoned potatoes and leave the rest to the hot oven. The dish is complete once the internal temperature of the lamb reaches 130ºF and the potatoes are crisp and golden brown.

For juicy lamb chops that are perfectly pink in the center, be sure to rest the racks for 10 minutes before slicing. Some enjoy their lamb with mint jelly, but I’m a purist and love my lamb and potatoes served with just the tasty lamb jus.

Roasted Rack of Lamb with Potatoes (Makes 4 Servings)

2 racks of lamb, frenched and fat scored in a cris-cross fashion
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon honey
4 cloves garlic, mashed
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves only
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1-1/2 lbs yellow potatoes with skin, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

The night before, marinate the racks of lamb. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, mustard, lemon zest, honey, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. Pour into a sealable plastic bag, add the lamb and refrigerate until right before roasting.

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Bring the racks to room temperature. Shake the excess marinade off the lamb and pat dry. Heat a heavy bottom skillet over medium-high. Once the pan is hot, add 1 tablespoon of oil and sear the racks fat side down until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Use tongs to flip the racks and sear on the other side.

Place the racks in a large roasting pan and with the ribs facing up and intertwined like fingers to hold in place. Meanwhile place the cut potatoes in a bowl, season with the 2 tablespoons oil, paprika, garlic powder, rosemary, salt and pepper. Mix well and pour the potatoes in a single layer around the racks of lamb. Roast the meat and vegetables in the middle of the oven for a total of 30 to 35 minutes or until the potatoes are crisp and golden brown and the meat reaches an internal temperature of no more than 130ºF.  Remove the meat from the pan, keep the potatoes warm and let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with pan juices.