Back before Dustin and I really cooked that much (yes, there was a time when cooking didn’t rule our lives, if you can believe it!), we still liked to experiment and try fun new things for special occasions.
One such special occasion was New Year’s Eve. We’d always plan out an elaborate dinner for us to make to celebrate the new year by choosing something that required a little more time in the kitchen or something we had never tried before.
Maybe it’d be lobster. Maybe we’d make homemade pizzas. Then, on one very special occasion, we chose to make rack of lamb. Neither Dustin nor I had had eaten much lamb prior to trying to make it ourselves before that night, but it seemed like a good challenge and always looked so tasty when we’d seen it prepared before.
So, why not? It’s new years, right?
Well, we went to the butcher and got the rack of lamb. The butcher asked us if we wanted it “frenched,” to which we looked at him confused and asked, “huh?”
Then, he explained that meant cleaning off the tops of the bones to make the rack of lamb look more impressive and presentable. So, we figured sure and asked him to do it, paying a little more for the extra touch. (We’ve later chosen not to, since it’s not super necessary and often less expensive if you don’t, but you can also french it yourself at home, if you’d like).
When it came time to prepare the lamb, we chose a simple fresh herb crust that required just a few ingredients and seemed shockingly simple. I prepared the herb crust and got things started, all the while being shocked at how simple and easy this rack of lamb seemed to be, despite the fuss of how fancy it also appeared.
Alas, I continued on and kept preparing the meal.
After just a short while in the oven, the lamb was done – the digital thermometer went off, saying it was ready to go and I removed it from the oven, again surprised at how quickly the lamb had cooked. It seemed like it had only been like 20 minutes.
But, back then, I didn’t really pay as much attention to times and instructions. This was the Pre A Sweet Pea Chef era 🙂
I removed it from the oven, let it rest, and then carved the rack into chops. Dustin and I wound up enjoying the lamb without the rest of the other sides to the meal, since we thought we’d have more time to make them for our dinner as the lamb roasted. Silly us. But we sure felt fancy and all culinary with how good it tasted.
We were so pleasantly surprised by how flavorful, juicy, and tender the lamb chops were and, even more importantly, how amazingly easy it was to make. Needless to say, since that new years many years ago, we’ve made rack of lamb more of a tradition in our house. It’s a way to celebrate simplicity, and enjoy the time together as opposed to slaving over the food all night. Plus: it looks fancy!
Rack of Lamb with Yogurt Mint Sauce
Since then, I’ve also created a super easy yogurt mint sauce using Greek Gods Traditional Plain greek yogurt that we use for dipping the lamb chops and it’s so refreshing, cool, and the perfect creamy pair to the savory, tender lamb.
I hope you have a safe and happy new year and you find a way to enjoy life’s simplicity with the ones you love.
- 1 rack of lamb* 8 chops
- 1 1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 tbsp fresh mint chopped
- 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- Combine the fresh rosemary, Italian parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, sea salt, and ground black pepper and then set aside.
- Score the fat on the lamb by making sharp shallow cuts through the fat, about an inch apart. Then, spread the garlic herb mixture all over the rack of lamb.
- Place in sealable container or cover with saran wrap and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes, up to 6 hours in the refrigerator.
- When you’re ready to cook the lamb, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F and heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over high heat in a large, oven proof pan.
- Sear the lamb, fat side down, until golden brown, then place the entire pan into the oven and roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F which will be a perfect medium rare. To get the perfect temperature, a digital meat thermometer is super helpful.
- While the lamb is roasting, make the yogurt mint sauce by combining the Greek Gods Traditional Plain greek yogurt, minced garlic, fresh mint, freshly squeezed lemon juice, sea salt, and ground black pepper, and stir until well combined.
- Place this sauce into the refrigerator to allow the flavors to develop while the lamb finishes.
- Once the lamb is cooked through, carefully remove from the oven and the hot pan and allow to rest for 5 minutes on a cutting board before carving into chops.
- Next, carve and serve immediately with the cool yogurt-mint sauce spread around the meat.
This recipe works for both frenched and unfrenched racks of lamb. I often choose not to get the lamb frenched since it's not necessary and often costs more money, but many find it to appear more fancy and impressive when frenched. The choice is yours!
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