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The Third Day of Christmas: Andrew Rudd's rack of lamb with garlic, rosemary and a pepper crust

This is an impressive dish but it really does need to be cooked medium rare. It is simple to prepare and rather elegant when presented on a large serving platter. Ask your butcher to prepare a French-trimmed rack of lamb. This dish also works really well with the mint and coriander salsa. 

Prep: 1 hour n Marinate: 2-24 hours n Cook: 18 minutes n Serves: 8



For the lamb

4 racks of lamb (2 pairs of best ends, French trimmed)

50ml olive oil

6 garlic whole cloves, skin on

4 sprigs of fresh rosemary

(for the pepper crust)

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2 tbsp peppercorns

2 tbsp coriander seeds

1 tbsp rock salt

bunch of fresh thyme

(for the jus)

2 shallots, peeled and finely diced

1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

2 garlic cloves, crushed

100g cold, unsalted butter, cubed

salt and freshly cracked black pepper

500ml concentrated chicken stock

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

150ml Madeira wine or red wine


Lamb with garlic, rosemary and a pepper crust

Lamb with garlic, rosemary and a pepper crust

Lamb with garlic, rosemary and a pepper crust



To prepare the lamb, trim the fillet to remove any sinew, outer layers of fat or white membrane.

In a large pan, dry-fry the peppercorns and coriander seeds for the pepper crust. You just want to toast them gently to release their flavour. Be careful not to burn them or to allow the pan to smoke. Remove them from the heat and crush with a pestle and mortar. Then add the salt and thyme and mix well. Spread the mixture out on a flat tray.

Pour the olive oil into a flat dish. Roll the lamb (loin end) in the olive oil and then roll it in the pepper crust mixture. Continue until the lamb is evenly covered in a thin layer of spice crust. Tightly wrap the crusted loin end in cling film and then in tin foil. Place in the fridge overnight or for a minimum of 2 hours. Make sure to remove the lamb from the fridge at least one hour before you are going to cook it, to allow it to come back up to room temperature.

To prepare the jus, sauté the shallots, rosemary and garlic in 50g of the butter. Season with salt and pepper. Add the stock, balsamic vinegar and Madeira wine, bring up to the boil and then reduce to a simmer. Let the jus gently simmer until the liquid has reduced in volume by half. Remove from the heat. Check the seasoning and add more if needed.

Preheat the oven to 200°C fan/220°C/gas mark 7.

To cook the lamb, heat a non-stick frying pan with a little vegetable oil in it. When it is very hot, add the lamb (loin end) and sear it on all sides for 1ƒ-2 minutes on each side until evenly browned all over. Place in a roasting tin and scatter with the whole garlic cloves and sprigs of rosemary.

Place the roasting tin in the oven for 18 minutes for medium rare. Remove from the oven. Cover with a damp tea towel and then tin foil and allow to rest in a warm oven (65-70°C) for at least 5 minutes before carving.

After the lamb has been cooked, strain the meat juices from the pan into the jus. Then gently heat the gravy and whisk in the remaining 50g of cubed butter, until the butter is melted. Set aside for 5 minutes and then scoop off any fatty residue from the top of the jus.

To serve, carve into cutlets, and serve with a selection of seasonal vegetables. Drizzle the jus over the lamb cutlets.


You can also strain the jus to remove the shallots and garlic if you like. Personally,

I prefer the texture of the jus with the finely-chopped shallots. You can also thicken the jus with a roux if you like.

Entertaining with Andrew Rudd, €21.99 published by Montmolin Press, available from medley.ie

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