Rack of Lean Lamb with Herbs and Roasted Shallots

The following is from The 150 Healthiest Comfort Foods on Earth by Dr. Jonny Bowden and Jeannette Bessinger for Fair Winds Press.

 

For the moment, let’s put aside any concerns we might have about eating lamb (and yes, I’m a sucker for these gorgeous gentle creatures and have a few ‘tree-hugging’ sympathies of my own). But the fact is lamb is one of the healthiest meats on the planet. Precisely because it’s young (under a year old by definition) the animal hasn’t had too much time to accumulate toxins. In general, lamb isn’t “factory farmed”, so added antibiotics, steroids and hormones aren’t the problem they are with factory farmed beef. (And if you really want the best, it’s possible to get grass-fed New Zealand lamb at many grocery stores or butchers.) Lamb is high in protein, relatively low in fat, and contains zinc, niacin, selenium, vitamin B3 and all 8 essential amino acids. The Frenching process removes the layer of heavy fat leaving the exposed lean and tasty chops. To bump up the flavors even more, we marinate—overnight, if you can- with a fabulous mix of mint, rosemary and thyme, all of which really pop the flavor of the already tender meat. Serve it with creamy roasted shallots on the side- it’s comfort food at it’s best! Fun fact: marinating with herbs like rosemary before cooking or grilling significantly reduces heterocyclic amines, a potential carcinogen (cancer-causing compound), according to research by J. Scott Smith, PhD, at Kansas State University.

  • 2 racks of lamb, trimmed and Frenched (about 8 ribs or 1 pound each)
  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon coarse ground pepper
  • 8 shallots, peeled
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste

Slice each rack in half so you have 4 sections of about 4 ribs each.

In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, garlic, mint, rosemary and thyme. Smear the mixture evenly all over the surface of the meat and sprinkle evenly with the pepper.

Wrap them with plastic and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

The next evening, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Coat the shallots in a thin coating of olive oil and set aside.

Remove the racks from the refrigerator and peel away the plastic wrap, removing any large pieces of herb.

Sprinkle lightly with salt and heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium high heat.

Sear the fatty sides until golden brown, about 4 minutes.

Flip the racks so they are sitting fat sides up. Arrange the prepared shallots around the lamb racks and place the pan in the oven. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until desired doneness –watch the shallots closely: Turn them once and remove if they are getting too browned. Let the racks rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting. To serve, slice the racks into chops and serve with a couple of the roasted shallots on the side.

 

Yield: 4 servings

 

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