The most important thing about cooking a special dinner is choosing something to make that is exciting and fancy while not going outside of your cooking comfort zone. I’ve gotten myself in trouble and in to pretty cranky moods for this reason in the past, spending entire holidays in the kitchen because I’ve decided to single-handedly cook a three course dinner of things I’ve never made before. Or, forcing my patient boyfriend to eat dinner at 11:30pm because I’ve decided to embark on a recipe that takes longer than I presumed. So when I was asked to cook for an intimate New Year’s Eve dinner, I wanted something that would feel like a special occasion, without having to start cooking in the middle of the day. Also, I wasn’t even going to be cooking in my house, so I had to find something that I could make in a few hours or less. This rack of lamb recipe is really easy and takes less than 40 minutes. The most important thing is being careful when flipping the lamb in the skillet. Oil spatter is extremely hot, be sure to protect your hands and use long tongs. I served it with pan roasted turnip gratin and roasted brussels sprouts. Everyone was so thrilled and impressed. It was the perfect way to welcome the New Year.
Pan-Roasted Rack of Lamb with Thyme, Rosemary, and Garlic
Serves 6 to 8
- 3 2 lb racks of lamb, Frenched and trimmed of access fat
- 9 garlic cloves, crushed with a mortar and pestle
- ½ cup fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ rosemary, chopped
- Kosher Salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
Preheat oven to 450˚. Have ready a large oven proof roasting pan, big enough for all three racks of lamb. Remove lamb from refrigerator and rub with garlic, chopped herbs, salt and pepper. Let stand, covered in herbs and garlic until it has reached room temperature, approx.. 30 minutes. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a 12″ cast-iron grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Remove herb and garlic mixture from one rack of lamb and reserve in roasting pan. Place first rack lamb fat side down and cook, using tongs to flip and sear the bottom and sides of the rack, until browned, about 10 minutes. Be very careful of oil splatter. Turn lamb fat side up in the skillet and scatter reserved herbs and garlic on lamb in skillet. Remove rack of lamb and place in roasting pan. Collect garlic and herbs that have fallen in to the skillet and place on top of lamb in roasting pan. Repeat with two more racks of lamb.
Roast the three racks until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of the meat reads 130˚ for medium rare, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing into chops and serving.