There is a huge difference here in France between the meat you can buy in small butcher shops versus what is available in supermarkets.
I mentioned in a recent post that most beef from supermarkets is not aged at all and, as a result, is usually tough and lacking in flavor.
We know this.
We’ve lived here long enough that we should never forget this.
And yet, we do.
The lamb we buy at our supermarket is normally excellent. I have fixed fantastic whole legs of lamb. We most often get slices of the leg which we treat like chops. They are meatier than chops and less expensive.
The French, like the Spanish, like very long ‘tails’ on their chops which is mostly fat. As neither one of us eats that much fat it’s a bit of a waste for us.
I do not, however buy a rack of lamb. I did once, years ago.
I forgot why I didn’t do it again.
Last week, in honor of Easter of course, there was a lot of lamb for sale.
Mon mari found a ‘rack’.
We have, in recent years, bought a rack of lamb from our local butcher. It’s well-trimmed and the bones cut through so, after cooking, the rack can actually be cut into slices and served.
This is how a rack of lamb should be prepared.
Last week the lamb was an impulse buy – and it wasn’t prepared like our butcher does it.
It had, in true French tradition, been tied tightly down the length with string. When we untied it we found the long ‘tail’ piece had been wrapped over the meat. We cut that up, fried it, and the dogs have been enjoying a bit every night for dinner all week.
There was a lot….
After a bit more trimming, I dressed it up a bit and roasted it.
When it was done, after resting, mon mari attempted to slice it.
In preparation for this effort he had gone to the barn, selected what he thought would work as a bone saw, brought it into the kitchen and scrubbed it clean.
It didn’t work.
Nor did the cleaver.
Or anything else he could find.
At one point he said that he thought a combination of the big cleaver and the mallet might work but I would have to wash the ceiling when he was done.
I suggested he forget the traditional presentation and simply cut it off the bone.
He did and we had a perfectly shaped, perfectly cooked lamb tenderloin.
I did not take a photo of that.
Let’s just say I was no longer in the mood for photography….
Roast Rack of Lamb and Potatoes
Total time: 40 minutes
- 1 rack of lamb, 6 – 8 bones
- 2 tbs olive oil, divided
- 1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp za’atar
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp celery salt, divided
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 potatoes, cut into chunks
- If there is a thick layer of fat on the rack it should be removed – but normally your butcher would have already done this.
- Mix 1 tbs oil, mustard, paprika, cumin, za’atar, garlic powder, thyme and 1/4 tsp celery salt.
- Spread it over the rounded, fat side of the lamb.
- Put rack in a roasting pan, resting on its bones.
- Mix remaining 1 tbs oil and 1/4 tsp celery salt.
- Add potatoes and mix well.
- Put potatoes around the lamb and roast for 30 minutes in a 400F (200C) oven.
- Remove and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Carve by cutting it into chops – between the rib bones. It should be nicely pink on the inside.
- Use a meat thermometer, roast to 125 – 135F (52 – 57C)
As I was typing the bit about boning the lamb….
Does anyone (other than me) remember boning chicken breasts?
There was a time (really) when boneless chicken breasts were not a supermarket staple.
If one wanted a boneless chicken breast one had to skin and bone a whole, intact chicken breast.
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts were considered fine dining, gourmet food,
I have a very sharp boning knife that was well-used during my early years in the kitchen, boning chicken breasts.
I got quite good at it and still practice my skills on occasion, skinning and boning chicken thighs.
Now I can bone racks of lamb.