Slow-Roasted Rack of Lamb with Simple Mediterranean Flavors


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen

By Paula Wolfert

Published 2003

  • About

Writing this recipe for an American rack of lamb weighing about pounds, I adapted the notion of chef Heston Blumenthal and Dr. Peter Barham (see box) that slow-cooked lamb need not end up falling off the bone. In fact, as in this recipe, it can end up rare and juicy, evenly cooked.

Simple Mediterranean flavors go best with the finest-quality lamb. Here I use only garlic, lemon, and fruity extra virgin olive oil. If you wish, you can marinate it overnight with an herb marinade.

The technique here is to quickly brown the rack in a skillet over medium-high heat, then let it relax while heating the oven to 300°F. (At this point a meat thermometer is essential.) The meat is slow-roasted until the desired doneness: 130°F for rare; 140°F for medium-rare. Because the roast was allowed to relax earlier, it can be carved as soon as it comes out of the oven. As it is being carved, its temperature will continue to rise another 2 degrees, creating meat that is perfectly pink. I like to serve this lamb with a sprinkling of the pan juices and a handful of fresh chopped onion and parsley.


  • 1 rack of lamb (1½ pounds), Frenched or well trimmed
  • ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • coarse sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Grated zest of 1 organic lemon (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 3 tablespoons finely diced onion


  1. Put the lamb in a large plastic bag. Mix together ¼ cup parsley with the thyme, rosemary, and two-thirds of the garlic. Pat all over the meat and let stand for 2 to 3 hours at room temperature.
  2. Wipe off the marinade and discard. Generously season the lamb with salt and pepper. Set a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 2 teaspoons of the olive oil, and allow to sizzle. Add the lamb, skin side down, reduce the heat to medium, and brown for 3 minutes, shaking the skillet often to keep the meat from sticking. Use tongs to turn and hold the rack while searing all the exposed flesh, 1 more minute. Remove the lamb to a side dish. Lift the skillet and pour off almost all the fat. Set aside for deglazing.
  3. Place the meat in a lightly oiled shallow baking dish and let rest while heating the oven to 300°F. Insert a probe thermometer in the thickest part of the lamb. Slow roast the lamb for 35 to 45 minutes or until 130°F for rare or 140°F for medium. (1-pound rack roasts in 25 to 30 minutes.)
  4. Reheat the skillet, add the remaining garlic, lemon juice, and ½ cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up any browned bits. Simmer until reduced to 3 tablespoons. Off the heat, swirl in the lemon zest and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the pan juices onto a serving dish. Carve the rack and arrange the chops over the pan drippings. Scatter the onion and remaining 3 tablespoons parsley on top. Serve at once.