Rack of Lamb with Vegetables, Mint Sauce & Chianti Gravy

People who know me, know I don't cook, my hubby has been the cook for the past 17 years, and recently I have wanted to change that. For the first time in my life I have found myself wanting to cook.

I really enjoy watching Jamie Oliver's cooking shows, I find his passion infectious and he makes cooking look, not only simple, but fun and last week I was watching a 30-minute meals episode when I spotted the Rack of Lamb dish.  

Normally when we buy lamb, which is extremely rare, it is minted lamb chops, we throw them on the BBQ and char them. But after watching a few cooking shows and seeing how lamb can be cooked, or how it should be cooked, slightly pink, and juicy, I have been wanting to give it a try.

I recorded that episode and went out and bought all the ingredients needed, then before I started to cook, I re-watched the show, wrote down notes and got started.

For someone like me that doesn't cook, this was a big challenge, but I did enjoy it, the kitchen looked like a bomb had gone off, but the end result was great; the whole dish was full of delicious flavours, it was a real treat and the more I cook the more I want to cook again.

Ingredients

Lamb:

8-bone rack of lamb (although at the time all that was available was a 7-bone rack)

lamb neck fillet (approx. 250g)

3 x sprigs fresh rosemary

2 x cloves of garlic

1 x teaspoon Dijon mustard

white wine vinegar

300g cherry tomatoes on the vine

Gravy:

4 x rashers of smoked bacon

2 x sprigs fresh rosemary

1 x heaped tablespoon plain flour

Half a glass of red wine

Vegetables

:

500g baby new potatoes

250g baby carrots

1 x bunch fresh mint

1 x chicken stock cube

200g fine beans

200g runner beans

Half a Savoy cabbage

Knob butter

Mint sauce:

Bunch fresh mint

4 x tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 x tablespoon golden caster sugar

Method

First turn on your oven to full heat, heat a large pan on the hob, boil water in a large saucepan and fill and boil the kettle.

Cut the rack of lamb and neck fillet into half, score the skin on the rack of lamb and season with salt and pepper and rubbed a generous amount of olive oil all over. 

Place the lamb into the hot pan and sear each end.

Whilst your lamb is browning, chuck your washed potatoes and carrots into the large saucepan and add a pinch of salt. Place a couple of sprigs of mint in, along with the chicken stock cube. Put the lid on and leave to bubble away.

Don't forget to turn your meat. For the marinade, you need to pull the leaves off 3 sprigs of rosemary and place into a pestle and mortar with some salt & pepper and the garlic. Then pound until it is mushed. Add a spoonful of Dijon mustard, with a couple of lugs of olive oil and a lug of white wine vinegar, mix it all together. 

Once your lamb is seared, transfer it to a roasting tray. Pour away most of the fat in the pan, then put it back on a very low heat for the gravy. Back to your lamb you spoon the marinade dressing from the pestle and mortar all over, making sure it is well coated and then put the vines of cherry tomatoes on top. Season with salt and then put the tray on the top shelf of the oven. Set the timer for 14 minutes.

Finely chop the mint leaves and place in the unwashed pestle and mortar. Pound away until the mint is mushed up and then add the red wine vinegar, caster sugar, a pinch of salt and a couple of tablespoons of water from the vegetable saucepan. Mix it all together and add a tiny splash of extra virgin olive oil. That is the mint sauce done!

For the gravy, first you need to slice up the bacon and chuck into the pan, and turn the heat-up on the hob. Add the leaves from the rosemary and stir in the flour, red wine and a few ladles of water directly from the veg saucepan.  

Whilst your gravy is simmering away, slice up the runner beans (about 1cm thickness), dice up the cabbage and add to the saucepan as well as the fine beans, then stir and put the lid back on.

When the 14 minutes are up, remove your lamb from the oven and leave it to rest for a minute.

Drain the veg in a colander, and return them to the pan. Drizzle your veg with extra virgin olive oil, and add a good pinch of salt and pepper and a knob of butter and gently mix. 

Pour the gravy into a gravy boat and cut the rack of lamb into individual chops. Plate up and enjoy.

Seasoning the meat

Mixing the marinate up, ready to rub on the meat

Getting ready to place the meat in the oven.

The gravy is now ready.

Getting the vegetables started.