Roast Rack of Lamb with Grain Mustard Crust and Zinfandel Sauce

  • serves 4

A recipe is merely words on paper; a guideline, a starting point from which to improvise. It cannot pretend to replace the practiced hand and telling glance of a watchful cook. For that reason, this is also an account of what happens when I make this dish, so you’ll understand each step. Of course when you cook it once, it becomes yours, so personalize it a bit. Add more of an ingredient you like or less of something you don’t like. Try substituting one ingredient for another. Remember words have no flavour, you have to add your own!

A rack of lamb may seem intimidating at first but it’s really just a small roast with some bones attached. Ask your butcher to ‘french’ the rack, which means to remove all the trim from between the bones. Also make sure the ‘chine’ bone has been removed, as this will make it much easier for you to slice it when the time comes. So that you don’t overcook it, I strongly recommend using a meat thermometer; you’ll get guaranteed results regardless of how different your oven is from mine!

74 Ratings
Directions for: Roast Rack of Lamb with Grain Mustard Crust and Zinfandel Sauce


2 rack of lamb, cleaned (save trimmings)

Coarse salt and cracked pepper

3 Tbsp of olive oil or vegetable oil

1 cup of red Zinfandel wine or other big bodied red wine such as Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon

1 cup of chicken or beef stock, homemade or canned

3 bay leaves

1 bunch of tarragon, roughly chopped (save a few sprigs for garnish)

1 egg yolk

¼ cup of grainy mustard

1 cup of coarse bread crumbs

Salt and pepper to taste if desired


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Season the meat with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Preheat a sauté pan large enough to hold both lamb racks over medium-high heat.

2. Add the olive oil and the lamb racks, meat side down and brown well. At this point you’re not trying to cook the meat through, you’re just adding rich caramelized flavour to it that would be impossible once its insulated by the breadcrumb crust. Using tongs, turn racks and brown the bone side. Place on a plate, resting on its bones while preparing the crust and sauce.

3. Toss the lamb trimmings into the sauté pan and brown until well caramelized. Drain excess fat and then pour the Zinfandel into pan, scraping up the brown bits with a wooden spoon. This is known as ‘deglazing.’ The brown bits are caramelized juices from the meat and will add a ton of flavour to the sauce. Add the stock and bay leaves then simmer until the liquid reduces by 2/3 two thirds to a sauce-like consistency.

4. Meanwhile in a small bowl mix the tarragon, egg yolk and mustard together. Pat this mixture around the meaty part of the lamb racks, applying pressure to make it adhere. Pat on the breadcrumbs. Place the lamb racks onto a baking sheet and bake until crust is golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, when it reads 140 degrees F (70 C), it’s a perfect medium rare.

5. Rest on a rack for at least 10 minutes before slicing. This will allow the meat that’s stressed out from the heat of the grill to relax and reabsorb the juices that are driven to the center of the cut. By letting it rest you won’t end up with a platter of juice and dry meat!

6. With a sharp knife, slice the lamb racks between every second rib bone. Place two pieces in a warm bowl and spoon some Zinfandel sauce around them. Garnish with a sprig of tarragon.

See more: Main, Dinner, Lamb, Herbs, Eggs/Dairy, Rice/Grain, Bake, North American


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