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In this Chef Class, you will learn how to quickly and easily roast a rack of lamb with our recipe for a Black Tea & Orange Rubbed Roasted Rack of Lamb with an Orange Mint Pan Jus Sauce. This recipe is a high-protein, nutrient-dense, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, keto, and AIP friendly meal proudly sponsored by Nourish with Lamb.
Chef Class: How to Cook a Rack of Lamb
I am excited to officially announce that I am adding a full-time Chef and Recipe Developer to the Emily Kyle Nutrition team, my husband Phil. Phil is a chef, a successful culinary entrepreneur and previous restaurant owner with more than three decades of restaurant experience.
After wrapping up our first cookbook, we decided that our talents are much better when combined. I, the registered dietitian nutritionist, bring the nutrition aspect into each project, while Phil brings his culinary experience to create a dish that is truly as delicious as it is nutritious.
Today I am so excited that he will be showing us an easy, delicious recipe and how-to tutorial for cooking a rack of lamb easily, so you can create a dish that is fancy and delicious, no matter your level of culinary expertise.
We invite you to gather your loved ones around the table for a nourishing feast of flavor, nutrition, and memories formed at the kitchen table. Whether you are celebrating Father’s Day, a birthday, an anniversary, or just a special occasion, we hope you can embrace the wholesomeness of real food, cared for with intention.
Lamb’s rich flavor, perfectly portioned nourishing cuts, and appeal in the Mediterranean diet set lamb apart from other proteins. It’s a quality protein we can feel food about serving to our families, recommending to clients, and dishing up on our own plates.
In this article you will learn how to cook a rack of lamb perfectly with these simple steps:
- Rub the Lamb with Seasoning Before Cooking
- Roast the Lamb to Medium-Rare (and Why!)
- How & Why to Rest the Meat
- Make a Pan jus Sauce
- How to Easily Cut the Lamb
- How to Elegantly Serve the Lamb
Related Recipe: Mediterranean Greek Lamb Meatballs
Lamb is a Nourishing Addition to Any Diet
Here at Emily Kyle Nutrition, you know that we are always promoting the message that a sustainable diet can be achieved without eliminating any food groups completely, and because lamb adds a special depth of flavor, a little bit goes a long way.
I learned this when I went on a sponsored trip the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana with Nourish with Lamb last year. You can learn more about that trip here.
Flavor-forward lamb is the preferred animal protein choice in the Mediterranean-region, making lamb an excellent addition to a Mediterranean style eating pattern.
The 2015 Dietary Guidelines give special recognition to a Mediterranean dietary pattern for its healthful eating approach, which includes small amounts of lean animal-based protein like lamb, or 12.5 ounces per week of red meat. According to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report, “adherence to a Mediterranean-style dietary pattern would make a significant contribution to increasing food sustainability, as well as increasing the health benefits that we well-documented for this type of diet”.
How to Cook a Rack of Lamb
The iconic rack of lamb comes from the front/middle section of the animal. Rib chops are individual or double chops cut from the rack. A rack of lamb can also be frenched, which is the removal of fat and tissue between the bones.
While I am a dietitian, I am no chef. Attempting to cook a rack of lamb seemed intimidating to me until I discovered just how easy it can be to do, if you know what you are doing. These instructions will help you to create a delicious tasting meal that will be sure to impress your husband or family members.
Step #1 – Rub the Lamb Before Cooking
Before cooking the lamb, it is important to rub the lamb with a seasoning or coating. You can start with a simple salt and pepper rub, or work your way up to our delicious Black Tea & Orange Ceylon Rub.
It takes just a few minutes to put together the rub with ingredients you likely already have on hand, but adding this simple step makes a big difference in the final quality and flavor of your dish.
To make your rub the easy way, we suggest blending your spices together in a spice grinder or coffee grinder, but if you don’t have one available, a mortar and pestle will do.
Step #2 – Roast the Lamb to Medium Rare
Roasting the lamb perfectly to your desired doneness requires a digital thermometer for precision and accuracy. Lambs flavor and quality is best highlighted when the meat is cooked to the appropriate temperature, which in this case would be medium-rare to medium.
Of course, not everyone enjoys their meat cooked to medium-rare, so here is a temperature guide to help you achieve your desired doneness and color:
- 145 degrees F is medium-rare with a warm red center
- 160 degrees F is medium with a warm, pink center
- 170 degrees F is well done with no pink
Step #3 – Rest the Meat
Resting the meat is often the most simple, yet overlooked step needed to deliver a perfectly cooked, juicy cut of meat.
Why rest the meat?
It is important to rest the meat because when you add temperature to the outside of a cut of meat, it pushes the juices to the inside of the meat. By allowing the meat to rest after cooking, you then allow the juice to come back out into to entire piece of meat, resulting in a juicy, tender final product.
Typically, you want to start resting the meat it has reached an internal temperature of about 10 degrees lower than your final desired internal temperature. So, for example, you would pull the meat from the grill or oven at 135 degrees F is medium-rare or 150 degrees F is medium.
If you don’t rest the meat, and if you cut it as soon as you pull it out of the oven, instead of the juice going back into the meat it will pool at the bottom of the pan, leaving a dry, tough piece of meat that won’t be nearly as enjoyable.
Step #4 – Make a Pan Jus Sauce
Pan jus is a sauce made from the pan that you have roasted the meat in. This collects the fat, flavors and juices that come out of the meat and turns them into a rich, flavorful sauce.
By adding a few additional ingredients to your pan jus, you can make a delicious sauce that compliments your meat and adds a pop of flavor.
All of the ingredients that go into the pan jus should complement and enhance the flavors of the rub you have used, helping to pull together the flavor profile of your dish. In this pan jus sauce we added orange juice, tea, and mint to help bring out the delicious natural flavors of the rack of lamb.
Step #5 – How to Cut the Lamb
Cutting a rack of lamb may seem intimidating, but it is easy if you know what you are doing.
Using a sharp butcher knife, gently cut between the rib bones. Be sure to cut at a slight angle to ensure you can cut directly through the meat.
Once cut, this piece of meat is often referred to as a ‘lollipop’.
Step #6 – How to Serve the Lamb
You know the old saying, you eat with your eyes. Serving a rack of lamb is one of the few dishes that doesn’t take much to pull together a stunning presentation.
To serve the lamb, put a small bit of the pan jus at the bottom of the plate. The serving size for lamb is 3 ounces, which is equivalent to about one lollipop.
Serve with any additional sides like roasted potatoes or veggies, and garnish with the orange gremolata as desired.
Black Tea & Orange Rub
- 2 tablespoons dried Ceylon tea
- 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoons fresh orange zest
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ¼ teaspoons Cayenne pepper
Orange Gremolata, optional
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped, fresh mint
- 1½ tablespoon finely chopped, fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange zest
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
For the Rack of Lamb
- 1 pound rack of lamb, pre-trimmed, removed from refrigerator 60-minutes before cooking *see notes
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
Black Tea & Orange Mint Pan Jus
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 tablespoon dried Ceylon tea
- ½ teaspoon packed, chopped, fresh mint
- ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, optional
For Black Tea & Orange Rub
- Combine dried Ceylon tea, kosher salt, orange zest, garlic powder, onion powder, dried rosemary, and cayenne pepper in a spice grinder or by hand. Set aside.
For the Orange Gremolata
- Line a baking sheet with foil, set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix mint, parsley, garlic and orange zest together.
- Spread the mixture into a thin layer on the lined baking sheet.
- Place the cookie sheet on top of the oven, not in oven, in a warm spot near the exhaust, if possible, to allow the gremolata to air dry.
For the Roasted Rack of Lamb
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Generously sprinkle the Black Tea & Orange Ceylon Rub on the rack of lamb, ensuring the entire surface area; top, bottom and sides are coated.
- Drizzle over the coated lamb 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
- Place the lamb in a roasting pan or cast iron skillet. Ensure the roasting pan you choose can be used over the stovetop to make the pan jus sauce after cooking.
- If using a digital probe thermometer, insert the probe lengthwise so the tip of the probe is in the center of the rack.
- Place the roasting pan or cast iron skillet in the oven and allow to roast for 15 minutes, or until your thermometer is 5 degrees below your desired internal temperature (remove at 130 degrees F for medium-rare).
- When you have reached your desired temperature, place the rack of lamb in foil with thermometer still in. Wrap tightly and set aside to rest until desired final temperature. *Do not pull out probe thermometer until the lamb has fully rested.
For the Pan Jus
- While the lamb is resting, use the same pan to make the pan jus sauce.
- Place pan over medium heat, deglaze the pan with beef stock. Stirring constantly, be sure to scrape any leftover brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add the tea, mint, and orange juice and allow to cook until the volume has been reduced by half.
- Optional step: whisk the butter into the sauce for a glossier, richer sauce.
- With a fine strainer or cheesecloth, strain the sauce into a clean bowl for serving.
- Place 1 spoonful of pan jus sauce in the center of the serving plate.
- Gently slice the lamb between the bones, as desired. You can slice single bones, double bones, or present the whole rack.
- Place the sliced lamb atop of the pan jus on the plate.
- Garnish with gremolata and additional sides.
*It is not ideal to cook meat straight from cold. It is recommended to remove the meat from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for approximately 1-hour before preparation, while the oven is preheating and you are making your accompaniments.
*To make this recipe dairy-free and paleo friendly, omit the butter from the pan jus sauce.
*To make this recipe AIP friendly, omit the cayenne pepper from the rub.