Game of Thrones Week Part II: Rack of Lamb

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This recipe for rack of lamb comes from one of the coldest, most desolate regions of Westeros: The Wall. There the men of the Night’s Watch defend the realm from marauding Wildlings and the icy cold zombies known as the White Walkers. The men eat hearty, simple fare. I love this recipe and preparation because as simple as it is, it’s a beautiful sight to behold.

The racks came already frenched (the meat stripped off the ribs so they look clean and pretty), so it saved me from having to learn a bit of butchery. Maybe I’ll tackle that later, you never know. The frenched bones are also the perfect “handle.” Sort of nature’s meat-on-a-stick.  Ditch propriety and eat these with your hands.

The racks are brushed with a mixture of flour and red wine vinegar, then coated with an herbed bread crumb mixture. I did make one mistake with this recipe, and because you know I’m all about full disclosure, here it is: the recipe calls for the bread crumb mixture to be moistened with olive oil before being applied to the meat. That’s the part I forgot to do. You’ll notice in the photos that the bread crumbs are sort of pale. Had I oiled the bread crumbs prior to them going in the oven, they would have become a delicious golden brown.

Despite my error, these turned out delicious, and I would definitely make them again. The red wine vinegar subtly enhanced the flavor, and they were tender and juicy on the inside.

Rack of Lamb

From A Feast of Ice and Fire

  • 2 racks of lamb, about 1 + 1/4 lb. each, frenched (about 12 chops)
  • Salt and ground black pepper. (I used Maldon salt)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup soft fresh bread crumbs*
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • Fresh mint for garnish (optional)
  • * I diverged a bit from the original recipe and made breadcrumbs from a dried out baguette I’d been keeping in the refrigerator for just such a purpose. They worked beautifully. But fresh bread crumbs may be easier for most people who don’t squirrel away bread-ends for future crumbing. Just be sure and make your own. They’ll taste better and have a more rustic texture than store bought bread crumbs.

Instructions

  • Position your oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 475ºF.
  • Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Combine the garlic, parsley, thyme, and bread crumbs together in a shallow bowl. (I like to use a 9″x9″ baking dish because of its flat bottom.) Moisten the mixture with enough olive oil to hold it together, then set aside.
  • Heat a large dry skillet over high heat. Put the rack of lamb convex side down in the skillet. With tongs, hold the meaty side against the skillet for a minute to give it a nice brown crust. Turn it to sear it on each side, for a total of four minutes. Remove the meat from the skillet and place it in a roasting pan, meat side up. Mix the flour and vinegar in a small bowl, and paint this onto the lamb. Then gently apply the herbed bread crumbs, patting them to form a crust covering the meat. (This is when the 9″x9″ dish comes in handy. You can press the whole rack right into the bread crumbs and turn it over on each side for more coverage.)
  • Roast the lamb until medium rare, 20 to 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature registers 145ºF. For an extra crispy crust,  finish under the broiler for two minutes. Let the meat rest for five minutes before serving.
  • To serve, use a carving knife to cut between the rib bones. Arrange the chops on warm serving plates. The chops are best served hot, and they will cool quickly, so you may want to carve them at the table. (This advice is spot on. I also recommend tenting the meat with foil while it rests, to preserve some of the heat.)

Eat these and think of the Night’s Watch.

Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch, for this night and all the nights to come. 

-The Night’s Watch oath

If you must deny yourself all of life’s pleasures, at least you can eat well!

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Thanks for reading!

 

 

Next Up
Game of Thrones Week Part III: Side Dishes
Previously
Game of Thrones Week Part I: Sansa’s Lemon Cakes

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