Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb with Port Pan Sauce

I've redeemed myself. I made a successful lamb dish. Actually not just successful. Probably one of the best things I've ever made.

At cooking class this week we took on 'meats'. Particularly dry cooking various meats. I immediately chose to make lamb, since that's probably my favorite red meat. What I didn't know was that frenching a rack of lambs is pretty laborious, and definitely not recommended if you have carpal tunnel. It took me about 15 minutes to french one rack of lambs, and that was after the instructor helped me out.

I don't have a good way of describing how exactly to french a rack of lamb so I'd just suggest looking it up on youtube. But essentially you're trying to get rid of all the cartilage and fat people don't tend to eat.

Front of the lamb

Front of the lamb

This was the most succulent, juicy, flavorful meat dish I've ever made. And it wasn't too difficult to make apart from actually frenching the damn thing

This recipe serves four, but you can add in another rack of lamb without doubling the recipe no problem

Some notes on the recipe:

This requires a cast iron skillet. Cast Iron is the best tool to use for a perfect sear, and it's oven safe. This is important, because later when you make the pan sauce, you want to make it in the skillet that has all the roasted lamb juices in it

Another thing to note is that lamb cooks quickly in the oven. Depending on the size of the lamb of course. The rack I had was a little over a pound. I checked up on it after 5 minutes, put it back in the oven and checked it after another 8 minutes. I recommend doing something similar for a medium rare chop. Check on it after a couple of minutes, be on top of the temp.

Pulling it out at 125 is perfectly safe as carry over cooking will continue heating the meat. Ultimately for a medium-rare temp you want to stay in between 125-140 degrees F

Demi-glace (which you'll need for the pan sauce) is a meat stock that's been reduced by 3/4 and then thickened with a roux. It's tricky to make on your own, but it can be found at a butcher

Back of the Lamb

Back of the Lamb


  • 1 8-bone rack of lamb (2 to 2..25 pounds)- can easily do two racks with this recipe without doubling anything else
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Canola oil
  • 1/4 cup of Dijon Mustard
  • 2 cloves of garlic- minced
  • 3/4 cup of bread crumbs
  • 2 tbs of finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tsp minced thyme
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup of veal or chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tbs of Demi-glace
  • 1 cup Ruby Port Wine
  • 4 TBS of unsalted butter

Adapted from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts Recipe


  1. French the lamb racks (again, watch a tutorial), then season with salt and pepper
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  3. Heat up a cast iron skillet for about 5 minutes, then pour canola oil (just enough to create a thin film across the skillet) over medium heat
  4. Put the rack of lamb fat side down in the pan and sear until golden-brown (about 1.5-2 min) on each side
  5. Combine garlic, breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme, and lemon zest. Add enough olive oil (add tablespoon by tablespoon) to make a paste
  6. Brush the Dijon over the rack of lamb and spread the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the racks, pressing gently so they adhere
  7. Place the lamb in the oven with the meat side toward the back. Roast anywhere from 10-20 minutes until the temperature at the center hits 125 degrees F
  8. Let the lamb rest for about 10-20 minutes on a wire rack while you make the pan sauce
  9. Deglaze the roasting skillet with stock. Add the demi-glace, whisk it in and reduce by half
  10. Add the port and boil until reduced to 1/3 of a cup and then whisk in the butter few pieces at a time. Season with salt and pepper to taste*
  11. Carve each rack into four 2 bone chops

*I personally melted the butter as I was running out of time. You can either melt it and add a little at a time, or you can cut it into 6 pieces and melt it while the skillet is over the heat