Easter Guard of Lamb

Quite the table centrepiece, this Guard of Lamb is something to behold. We know lamb racks can be quite expensive, but since Easter is a bit of a special occasion, we believe it’s well worth splashing out on them for this recipe. The delicious herbed crust has to be tasted to be believed and browning the lamb first and cooking it at a high temperature means you can finish it to your preferred level of rare to medium.

Prep: 1 hour to bring lamb to room temp | 30 minutes prep time  | 20 -25 minutes cooking time | 10 – 15 minutes resting | Feeds 4 – 6

Equipment:

  • A heavy roasting tray
  • Large frying pan
  • Chopping board
  • Food processor
  • Small bowl
  • A warmed serving plate

Ingredients:

  • 2 x racks of spring lamb (8 cutlets each)
  • 1 tbsp rape seed oil (Canola or Rice Bran are good substitutes, any neutral oil with a high smoke point will work)
  • 1 tbsp English mustard

Herb crust:

  • 25gms fresh white breadcrumbs from a stale loaf
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 20gms fresh parsley
  • 10gms rosemary leaves
  • 10gms fresh mint leaves
  • Zest of a small lemon
  • 1 free-range egg yolk

Vegetable Base:

  • 3 onions
  • 2-3 garlic whole garlic bulbs
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs
  • Lemon slices (you can use the same lemon you zested for the herb crust)
  • 1 tbsp rape seed oil (see earlier note above for alternatives)
  • Salt and black pepper

Gravy:

  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly

Instructions:

  1. Remove the lamb from the fridge an hour before cooking to bring it to room temperature
  2. If cooking in a conventional oven, preheat your oven to a hot 230C.
  3. Heat the oil in a large frypan over medium to high heat. Brown the lamb racks on all sides. Move to a chopping board and cool slightly before lacing the bones together to form your guard of honour.
  4. It’s time to work on the vegetable base. Peel and slice your onions, cut your garlic bulbs in half, slice your lemon, and prepare some fresh rosemary sprigs.
  5. Throw all the vegetables into the bottom of a roasting tray and toss through with the tablespoon of oil. Season and either place them into the middle rack of your hot oven or on the floor of your AGA roasting oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the onions begin to caramelise.
  6. While your vegetables are cooking, prepare your herb crust. Put the breadcrumbs, garlic, herbs and lemon zest into a food processor and whizz until finely chopped. Tip into a small bowl and mix through the egg yolk to loosely combine and create a wet crumb.
  7. Remove the baked vegetables from your oven, giving them a good stir.
  8. Place your interlaced lamb racks on the prepared vegetables. Brush the skin of the lamb with the mustard before pressing the herbed crumb over the top.
  9. Return the tray to your middle rack in the oven, or the third set of runners in your AGA and roast for 20 – 25 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the size of your racks and how you prefer your lamb cooked. A good guide is the internal temperature will be 55-60C for a medium rare finish.
  10. While your lamb is cooking, warm a serving plate.
  11. Once the lamb is cooked to your preferred level, remove it from the roasting pan to the warmed plate and loosely cover it with foil. Leave it for 10-15 minutes in a warm place, near the oven, or in a warming oven.
  12. Place your roasting tray on top of the AGA simmering plate or your stove element and start your gravy. Add flour to the onions, garlic and lemon and cook off for 2 minutes.
  13. Gradually add the stock whisking all the way to avoid lumps.
  14. Add the red currant jelly and let it all bubble for a good 3 minutes before straining your gravy into a sauce boat or jug.
  15. Serve the lamb with steamed new potatoes (or crunchy duck fat ones if you want a bit of a treat), carrots, and green vegetables. Don’t forget the gravy and the all-important mint sauce on the side!

RECIPE FROM AGA LIVING

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