This recipe, adapted for the home cook, is based on what Cristeta Comerford serves at holiday buffets at the White House. The rich, flavorful stock can be made a day or two ahead. Freeze excess stock to enrich sauces or use as a base for soup. Lamb bones can be hard to find. You can use a mixture of lamb neck bones and shank instead.
Most supermarkets with a butcher counter carry frenched racks of lamb or can special-order them. Properly prepared racks will have the fat and meat removed from the top half of the rack, and exposed bones will be scraped clean.
Servings: 8 - 10
- For the marinade
- 4 lemons (both zest and juice)
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- For the meat
- 4 racks (3 to 4 pounds) lamb, cleaned, frenched* and halved
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For the lamb stock
- 8 pounds lamb bones
- 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 3 medium onions, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 leeks, chopped (white part only)
- 2 cups red wine
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 whole black peppercorns
- Thyme sprigs
- For the rosemary-mustard glaze
- 1 cup Dijon-style mustard
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
For the marinade: In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest and juice, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorn, rosemary and olive oil. Place the lamb in a large, resealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over it. Refrigerate overnight.
For the lamb stock: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the bones in a large roasting pan and roast until browned, about 1 hour. Drain the fat. Add the carrots, onions, celery and leeks and stir. Roast for 30 minutes. Transfer the bones and vegetables to a large pot.
Add the wine to the roasting pan and deglaze, by stirring with a spoon over medium heat to scrape up drippings and brown bits stuck to the pan. Add the tomato paste, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme and stir to blend. Pour the wine mixture into the pot and add enough water to cover. Set heat on low to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 3 to 4 hours, skimming the top periodically of any fat or froth. There will be some evaporation, but you should end up with several cups of stock. Strain and let cool. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate. When ready to use, remove any hardened fat on the surface.
For the rosemary-mustard glaze: In a medium bowl, combine the mustard, garlic and rosemary. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet on high heat until it is smoking hot. Remove the lamb from the marinade and season with salt and pepper to taste. Working in batches, place the lamb, meaty side down in the skillet and sear until browned and crusty, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn so the bones are pointing up (you can lean 2 half-racks against each other) and sear for 2 minutes. Transfer the lamb, meaty side up, to a roasting rack set in a roasting pan and let it cool for a few minutes while searing the rest. Brush the meaty side of the lamb with the rosemary-mustard glaze, reserving 1/4 cup of glaze for the sauce. Roast for 12 to 16 minutes, depending on the size and desired doneness, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 135 degrees for rare,--0 for medium-rare or--5 for medium.
Transfer lamb to a cutting board and let it rest, loosely covered with aluminum foil, for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium pan over medium-high heat, boil 2 cups of the lamb stock until reduced to 1 cup. Over medium-low heat, add the reserved 1/4 cup of the rosemary-mustard glaze. Cook, stirring, until heated through.
Slice the lamb into single chops and transfer to a warm serving platter or individual plates. Drizzle with the sauce and serve immediately.
Adapted from White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford.
Tested by Marcia Kramer.
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