Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Satisfying a meat craving: rack of lamb with mustard-thyme crust

Those of you who have been following this blog know that it’s a rare occasion that I blog about red meat. It’s not that I don’t enjoy meat every once and a while, I just don’t eat it often enough to buy it and cook it at home. As a result, I'm not the world's most confident meat cook. That said, there are a few reliable (and satisfying) meat dishes that I make over and over again when meat cravings take over: one of them is rack of lamb baked with a mustard-garlic-thyme-bread-crumb crust.

The recipe is an old stand-by from Gourmet 1999 if you can believe it. It works equally well on beef tenderloin. It’s quite simple: essentially you slather on the mustard mixture and cook away. The mustard mellows out during the cooking process and the seasonings permeate the meat. When done you are left with delicious, flavorful meat coated with a satisfying crust. It is a great choice for dinner guests. A rack of lamb (or beef tenderloin) is unfussy, serves many, and is a crowd-pleaser (especially with a nice potato side). It also looks impressive, even though it's quite simple to prepare.

Rack of lamb with mustard-thyme crust (adapted from Bon Appetit, 1997 via epicurious.com)

1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 1/4-pound rack of lamb, well trimmed
1 cup plain bread crumbs (variation: Matzo meal)
Fresh thyme sprigs (optional)

Preheat oven to 425°F. Whisk mustard, garlic and chopped thyme in small bowl to blend. Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper. Place lamb on a roasting rack, rounded side up. Spread mustard mixture evenly over lamb. (Lamb can be prepared up to 6 hours ahead. Refrigerate uncovered.)

Press bread crumbs onto mustard coating on lamb. Roast lamb until thermometer inserted into center registers 130 to 140 degrees F for medium rare or 140 to 150 degrees F for medium. Will take 30-45 minutes: check periodically. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired, and serve.


Anonymous said...

the blogger is a carnivore! who knew? lovely mise en place.
perfect for a mid-winter evening. will give it a try!

Unknown said...

What an impressive styling there, S! We just did a home-kill yesterday and we are still learning to cut the racks nicely like the butcher usually does. But, hell... it's HARD!

Ivy said...

Looks amazing! I love lamb AND mashed potatoes. YUM!!!

Anonymous said...

Does "home kill" mean that Arfi actually had a lamb at home to use for this recipe??? Can't be. Silly me.Nothing better than something so easy that looks and sounds so delicious. Will try on our Feb. trip when I've got house guests to impress. Sudy

Anonymous said...

The lamb looks gorgeous. I've been craving lamb for two weeks and you just sent my craving to the moon. I also don't eat a lot of red meat, but, when I do, I really do.

Eileen said...

This looks fantastic. What a great photo!

Angus said...

I reckon this would go excellently with a mustard & balsamic glaze - the presentation is exceptional but could be even better with a cheeky swirl of glaze around the plate, and maybe a tiny sprinkle of chopped parsley over the meat/mash. My mouth is watering.

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