Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pistachio Crusted Rack of Lamb – You'll Go Nuts for this Beautiful Rack!

The holidays bring us so many joyous things. Sharing time with family, watching your boss do a drunken karaoke version of "It's Raining Men" at the office party, and of course, those special meals. This super easy rack of lamb recipe has special written all over it – well, actually more like has special all pressed into it.

Sure, rack of lamb is a little pricey, but no more so than other special occasion meats like prime rib, beef tenderloin, or goose – and since they're sold completely trimmed, you'll have virtually no waste. Also, if you haven't had lamb in like the last 20 years, you're in for a nice surprise; the meat is lean, tender, and not at all gamey.

The other great thing about today's rack of lamb is it's consistent size. They will have eight rib bones, and run just under 1 1/2 pounds each. The fact that these are all the sa
me weight makes life a lot easier when cooking more than one. Speaking of which, portioning here is very easy; simply allow one rack per two guests.
As far as the crust goes, we've added rich, sweet pistachios to the traditional Dijon mustard crust. This gives the lamb such an interesting flavor and texture. It may be my imagination, but I think there's something about what makes the pistachios green (chlorophyll?), which makes it pair so perfectly with the meat. It also looks pretty damn cool.

I'm a big turkey-for-Thanksgiving guy, but if you're looking for a unique dinner entrée idea for that Christmas or New Years feast, this pistachio crusted rack of lamb would be an excellent choice. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 Portions of Pistachio Crusted Rack of Lamb
2 fully trimmed racks of lamb (just under 1 1/2 pounds each)
1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence, or dried Italian herb blend
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 tbsp vegetable oil or olive oil for searing
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
For the crust:
2/3 cup finely chopped roasted pistachios
2 tablespoon plain bread crumbs
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
pinch of salt and fresh ground black pepper
*Note: the cooking time given in the video of 25 minutes will work if you are doing one or two, but if you load up the oven for a large group, you'll obviously need to increase the cooking time, as the oven temperature will drop. Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature. Remove at between 125 and 130 degrees F. for a nice pink center.

View the complete recipe


Dr. Mudflap said...


Anonymous said...

"RAKKAH-lam" Lol.

Love my Chef John.

Devilham said...

damn that looked good!

Philwebservices said...

I never eat a lamb. Anyway thanks for sharing.

Chef John said...

What an odd thing never to eat. So good! ;)

Food Junkie said...

Well I just put 20 some odd pounds of lamb in the freezer. No rack of lamb, it must have ended up as chops. I am thinking this could be adapted to another cut and still be delicious albeit missing some of the visual wow factor. My mouth is watering already.

blogagog said...

Chef, do you know of a good substitute for mustard for those of us who find its flavor unpalatable?

Like, do you think a scrambled egg would work?

Chef John said...

I've seen mayo used, and also love this with softened goat cheese.

Rita said...

oh my paprika! that is making my mouth water, and i'm having lunch. i haven't had pistachios in ages! so sad, i'm severely allergic to all sorts of nuts. i wish there's a substitute for pistachios.

yes, it's meat-torturing me! AHAHAHA!

Anonymous said...

Oh no! so pretty and I am so allergic to pistachios! Any suggestion for a nut alternative?

Anonymous said...

Chef John,
I watch many cooking video's but you are my all time favorite! Tried a couple of your Spanish dishes, my whole family loved them :-)
Check the site everyday, always excited to see what's new.
Thanks so much!
Dorothea (Ohio)

Food Junkie said...

For nut substitutes your might try any of the following. Not sure which would complement the flavour of the lamb best.
toasted soy beans (soy nuts), pummpkin seeds or pepitas, toasted chickpeas, corn flakes, corn chips, sunflower seeds, granola, Wheat nuts if you can find them, or maybe even sesame seeds. Anything with crunch that you like and won't quickly go soggy might work.

Anonymous said...

For the mustard, Could you Use a aioli Instead?

KrisD said...

I love lamb! I'll have Phil's share, please!

My local market usually sells these on supersale around the holidays. I stock up (I'll get 3-4 at a time), pop them in the freezer, and have rack of lamb "whenever".

Anonymous said...

We're all tinkering here, aren't we? I'm wondering whether panko could be substituted for the nuts (for crunch without adding a lot of unique flavor) == but would it burn?

Amy Lynn said...

Can't wait to try this tomorrow.

Chris K. said...

I love lamb and this looks terrific.

I just wanted to kvetch about how goose is insanely expensive. I mean, it's just a big fat friggin' duck. What gives?

Anonymous said...

Hey Chef can you recommend any good brands of Dijon mustard?

Chef John said...

Not really, they all taste about the same to me!

Anonymous said...


Looks fantastic, but the first thing I noticed in the pic were the roasted brussels sprouts. Let's see it.


Anonymous said...

I would love a good substitute for the pistachios as well! Any ideas Chef John?

Chef John said...

Please see comments above. Re: subs

josip said...

Not a huge fan of lamb...smells bad for me. I do like it however.

I prefer goat...Chef John do some goat recipes :)

Also, I love chicken giblets, but I'm not sure good recipes to use them with. I use with risotto a lot. Any ideas or perhaps a video of using them :P

Chrissy said...

Oh! This looks delicious! Not to detract from this mouth-watering splendor, but how did you cook those brussel sprouts? They look delish too!

Chef John said...

thanks! I just blanched and roasted.

Anonymous said...

Chef John, I am without an oven at home, is there any other way to make this dish? Thanks for your help!

Unknown said...

I tried this recipe first time for dinner. My husband told me it's an A-. =) Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Tried it tonight, this was the bomb! I will be trying more of your recipes this week.

Trev said...

I made this last night for dinner. What a great recipe, thank you chef John!
I substituted panko for bread crumbs (because that's what I had on hand) and made a red-wine/ginger-marmalade reduction w/rosemary & mint to serve with it. Turned out great. I was pleased with how resiliant the crust was even after the lamb was done.

Tae said...

Fantastic recipe! So easy and so tasty! I couldn't find pistachios on the shelves so had it with walnuts instead and that was great combination also :)

Anonymous said...

Good day Sir!

I want to spoil some of my best friends with this delicious looking
lamb but I have one question: What kind of sauce or jus would
you serve this dish with? I'm thinking about something like a
madeira wine, a red wine or a
sherry jus but neither do I have a recipe nor do I know how to
prepare one of those. I'd be very happy if you could help me out!

With best regards from Berlin (the one in Germany ;-) )

andy said...

hi chef John
I am a big fan of yours.
I never cook a lamb before until I saw your video recipe. I did this recipe 3 times for homecooked dinner with friends & each time I was able to produce really beautiful tasty medium rare rack of lamb that everyone loved. :-)
I was trying unsuccessfully to google for lamb shoulder rack you have any recipe? can you advise what's the difference between a rack of lamb & a lamb shoulder rack..I saw that the shoulder has 4 ribs & the loin rack has 8 ribs..can your recipe here work or be modified for shoulder rack which is like 40% cheaper?

Chef John said...

Ive never seen a shoulder rack, so not sure. It could, but is it tender enough? Would have to test.

Unknown said...

I wanted to make this tonight but I wanted to use walnuts instead of the pistachios, would you recommend this chef?