I always have a great success when serving a whole rack of lamb. Honey and cumin sauce works well with white meats. Here, with lamb, it gets almost caramelized. A delight!
How to cook rack of lamb
We often get bit scared of preparing a rack of lamb as it is indeed quite difficult to master the cooking process. The best is always to seek advice from the butcher who should give you the necessary cooking time instructions according to the weight of your piece of meat.
However, although it is almost impossible to give very precise directions, there are still few rules. I have gleaned over my experiences and my readings that I find interesting to understand. Read them, they might be of great help.
- The cooking time depends on the weight of your piece of meat, of your oven, and your taste. I cook for 25-30 minutes when my guests like the meat rare. I add 5 to 10 minutes if they prefer it well done. Best, if you have one, use a cooking thermometer. The inside temperature should be 70°C / 158°F.
- At first, the meat should be placed in a hot oven. Therefore, the oven has to be pre-heated in advance (some even roast the rack of lamb on all sides in a hot pan for a few minutes before cooking it in the oven). There is a reason for this. A kind of crust is formed on the surface of the meat when quickly heated or roasted. All the moisture from the meat is then kept inside and won’t be able to flow away. This way, the meat won’t be too dry and will be better, in texture and taste.
- When the meat is taken out of the oven, it is important to let it rest for a few minutes under an aluminum foil. You can even add cloth over if you’re afraid that the meat might cool down too much. In the foil, the meat continues to cook gently. The meat juices which were concentrated in the middle of the meat will redistribute everywhere and therefore rehydrate the whole piece of meat. The driest peripheral parts absorb the juice concentrated in the center, making it more homogeneous, tender, and easy to cut.
- Seasoning. Do not add salt before and during the cooking process as this would bring out the blood. As the result, the meat, as we have just seen, won’t be tender. All the more the honey and cumin topping gives a lot of flavors to the dish and there is no need to add more spices.
Which side to serve
I love to serve this dish with homemade mashed potatoes, and sometimes with a mix of potatoes and sweet potatoes. Vegetable purée is also a very good option. For example pumpkin, carrot, or celeriac purée. Or even a purée with ceps, so chic.
Why am I focused on purée instead of a classic potato gratin for example that would be nice too? Because the sauce of this dish is absolutely wonderful and at home, we all dug small volcanoes in the purée and pour the sauce in. That’s something I always did as a kid and each time I think of a dish with a decadent sauce, I think of purée as a side. As far as I can remember my mum used to encourage me to do those cute volcanos when she served Sunday roast chicken (I have two recipes on the blog one with sweet potatoes and another with herb butter) or my father’s favorite dish: pork tenderloin with Dijon mustard.
Writing this I realize that when I took those photos I didn’t serve with purée but with sautéed Paris button mushrooms and mashed potatoes gratin.
Honey and Cumin Rack of Lamb
- 1 rack of lamb 8 ribs
- 2 tablespoons honey preferably not too liquid nor too solid
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- Take the meat out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before starting. Prepare the marinade. In a bowl mix olive oil, honey and cumin. It is not necessary to add salt and pepper.
- Pour marinade all over the rack of lamb on all sides and let stand for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile preheat oven to 220 °C / 430°F. Place the meat in the hot oven and lower the heat to 200 °C / 390°F after 5 minutes. Before placing in the oven or from time to time if needed, pour the marinade again on the meat if it spreads away.
- Cook for 25 to 30 minutes. Note that if your like lamb well done, add 5 to 10 more minutes.
- At the end of cooking time, remove the meat from the oven and cover it with aluminum foil. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting and serving.
- There is of course some juice in the dish at this stage. If, however, you think that there is not enough juice, you can add a little boiling water and butter and stir (or dilute only with hot water if you are don’t want too much fat).