Rack of Lamb a la Yucatan

I am always seeking ways to avoid the traditional mint jelly and lamb.

This recipe is very simple and not labor intensive. The hardest part is shopping for the lamb. I have discovered that the specialty meat counters in the large grocery chain stores are willing to sell me a half a rack. Half a rack can be an ideal portion for two light meat eaters.

Rack of Lamb a la Yucatan

James Speed Hensinger

1 rack of lamb, frenched (Have butcher do the frenching.)


1 bunch fresh cilantro (1" - 2" diameter through the stems)
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic puree or finely minced and mashed fresh garlic
1 teaspoon Vietnamese chile garlic sauce (TUONG OT TOI VIET-NAM brand)
1 teaspoon salt
juice of 1 fresh Key Lime

PREPARING THE PASTE: Puree cilantro in a blender or by hand, then add the remaining ingredients (except the lime juice). The object is to produce a thick paste that will cling to the meat. Add the lime juice while judging the texture of the paste, but don't dilute it with too much lime juice.

Using your hands, pack the paste all over the meat, and let the paste covered meat rest at room temperature for one hour.

ROASTING THE MEAT: Preheat the oven to its maximum setting (550+).

Select a small high walled baking pan such as a bread pan, and spray with non stick spray. Stand the rack of lamb in the pan, fat side up with ribs up and resting against the rim of the pan.

Place pan in oven. After 4 minutes, reset oven temperature to 300 and let the meat continue to roast while the oven cools. If meat cooks too fast (paste scorches), open the oven door for a few minutes.

The object is to dry and firm the cilantro paste into a crust in the initial high heat and then slowly roast the meat in its own juices while the oven cools so that it is pink edge to edge when sliced. Use a meat thermometer and cook until the center of the meat (away from the bone) is 125. Timing will vary with different ovens, but plan on a minimum of 20 minutes.

Let the meat rest 5 minutes before slicing so that it can resorb its juices. If sliced with a very sharp knife, each chop will retain a rim of the crust. Makes 2 or 3 servings. Please don't serve with mint jelly.


James Speed Hensinger

Copyright © 2013+
James  Speed  Hensinger