The most perfect rack of lamb – Le plus merveilleux des carrés d’agneau

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(In English below)

Je m’excuse de ne rien avoir écrit au cours des deux semaines passées. Je suis pour toujours victime de mon perfectionnisme…

Je m’aperçoit en relisant mes vieux “articles”, que je qualifie souvent mes recettes de simples. Je dois donc être le plus fainéant des “cuisiniers” car voici la plus “simple” des recettes de l’année. Il s’agit aussi surement de ma préférée avec celle du gravlax de mon frère et de ma fabuleuse soupe à l’oignon…

Mon boucher est formidable. Boucher; quel beau métier! Il m’à préparé son meilleur carré d’agneau; et nous savons que plus la recette est simple, plus la qualité du produit est importante. L’agneau est l’une de mes viandes préférées. J’en prépare souvent. Je n’avais cependant jamais fait de carré d’agneau entier au four et m’inquiétais de la durée de cuisson. On me conseilla 40 minutes à 200 et ce fut en effet la perfection absolue! Je demandais ensuite au boucher ce qu’il me conseillait d’inclure en accompagnement. Ce à quoi il répondit: “Là on est mal barrés, parce que pour trouver mes idées et conseiller les clients, je vais directement sur votre blog…” Nous sommes “mal barrés” en effet. Si je compte sur lui et que lui compte sur moi, où allons nous? Ce n’est pas grave. Après la qualité du produit, tout ce qui compte c’est la méthode et le temps de cuisson. Pour le reste, on invente!yjfv

L’agneau venait du Médoc. Je n’ai pas à expliquer à mes lecteurs Français le goût que l’herbe du bord de l’océan donne à la viande. Je garderai mes explications pour la version Anglaise :0)

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Voici donc la recette la plus simple de l’année: Mettez le carré d’agneau dans un plat à four avec quelques poignées de tomates cerise et de l’huile de colza (quand je manque d’idées, je met toujours des tomates). Puis au four pour 40 minutes à 200°C. Servez avec des pâtes fraiches avec lesquelles vous aurez essuyé les sucs du plat de cuisson. Quelques gousses d’ail en chemise n’auraient fait de mal à personne, mais j’ai oublié… Pauvre de moi; 43 ans et la mémoire s’en va. Je crois que c’est un signe: il faut que je mange plus de chocolat :0)

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I apologize for not having written anything over the past couple of weeks . I am forever a victim of my perfectionism…

As I was reading some of my old posts, I couldn’t help but notice that I often qualify my recipes as “simple/easy”. From this, I realize that I am either the best cook there is in France – and every cooking experience feels like a walk in the park – or the laziest cook in in the land and I keep taking the path of least resistance. The latter is much more me I must say, as this recipe is indeed the simplest I have prepared this year. With my brother’s gravlax and my French onion soup, I must say that is is also one of my favorites!

My butcher is a great guy. He had prepared the most beautiful rack of lamb for me last Tuesday; and we all know that the simpler the recipe, the more the quality of the produce is important. Lamb is one of my favorite meats and I often prepare it. I had never, however, used the oven to cook lamb and I was worried about the cooking time. I was advised 40 minutes at 400°F and it was cooked to perfection! Indeed, after the quality of the produce, proper cooking time is what matters the most in any recipe. The rest is a question of inspiration, creativity and personal taste…

The lamb came from the Medoc. The Medoc is a region located North of Bordeaux between the river Gironde and the Atlantic ocean. Its famous vineyards (Mouton Rothschild, Latour, Margaux etc.) are all located along the river. The rest of the area is covered with tall pine trees and gorgeous meadows. The salty ocean breeze makes for top quality, fat, tasty grass which translates into delicious milk and meat. P1020654 _Snapseed

So here is the simplest recipe of the year: Put your rack of lamb in a baking dish with a few handfuls of cherry tomatoes and a bit of canola oil (when you run out of ideas for a recipe, you can never go wrong with tomatoes). Bake at 400°F for 40 minutes. Wipe the juices from the baking dish with fresh pasta and serve right away. A few cloves of roasted garlic would have added another dimension to the dish, but I forgot… Poor me, 43 and already having memory issues. I think it’s a sign that I need to eat even more Belgium chocolate :0)

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93 Comments Add yours

  1. Ahem, simple and easy don’t necessarily translate to lazy. Some of the best meals I’ve had are simple and easy. I think there are some chefs out there that tend to over complicate recipes because they don’t have confidence in their abilities. The exceptions are things like Beef Wellington. That is worth the effort. 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You know I never made (or had) Beef Wellington and it is high up on my list…

      1. Oh give it a go. It’s a treat at our house. 🙂

  2. lolarugula says:

    Lamb is one of my favorites and always makes for a beautiful dinner. Beautiful photos, as always!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I could have lamb almost every day. Too bad it´s so expensive… 😊

  3. Janet Rörschåch says:

    Dear Stephane-Please speak with Pere Noel. I would like a rack of lamb for Christmas dinner. I’ve been a good girl, honest.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Hi Hi! I think he’ll be OK with it. Just stay by the fire place 😉

  4. melanie says:

    Bonjour Stéphane! le meilleur – THE best lamb I’ve ever had in my life: en Islande! I’m serious. Sous toutes ses formes, jambon fumé inclu… simply divine! 🙂
    – – –
    Bonne journée et bonne chance dans toutes tes activités… amicalement, Mélanie

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Quelle bonne nouvelle chère Mélanie. I am so glad you enjoyed the lamb. Isn’t it the most delicious of meats?! I think I’ll make my next one with mint sauce. I’ve got a great recipe from a fellow blogger from India. Can’t wait to try it! You comment brightens my gloomy day Mel!

  5. Vicki (from Victoria A Photography) says:

    Oh my goodness ! That lamb looks devine (and I’ve got ‘leftovers’ for dinner).

  6. There is NOTHING like rack of lamb with rosemary….oh so delightful♥

    1. My French Heaven says:

      😉

  7. Bursting red tomatoes, fresh rosemary and perfectly cooked lamb – there is nothing not to like! I love your photos – so authentic.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Shanna. I agree 😉

      1. Flavors and foods of the gods, for certain. 🙂

  8. intlxpatr says:

    I wish you were my next door neighbor and I could bribe you to share the meals you compose!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are too nice! I would love to share meals with you 🙂

  9. Lamb is my most favorite meat. You’ll have to cook it for me when I come! Your pictures are great. The last one is perfection!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I sure will darling!!

  10. Stephane, that is one of the best looking racks of lamb I have seen in a while. I can only imagine how delicious it was.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      It really was Richard, especially with the cherry tomatoes and pasta… I have to try your eggplant recipe now! I am allergic to eggplant, but this one seems worth the pain 😉

    1. My French Heaven says:

      🙂

  11. Looks delicious! Great photos! 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you so much Isabel! Even though I am not great with baking, I need to try your Jamie Oliver recipe! 🙂

  12. I am going to try this…tomorrow hopefully!

    1. Stephane! It worked out magically! I guess the quality of the lamb could have been better (but I can’t really tell, I got mine at the supermarket in Belgium since I don’t know any butchers around), but the combination of the cooking time and temperature worked out perfectly! I should definitely bring you back some Belgian chocolates to thank you for the inspiration 😉

      1. My French Heaven says:

        See, I am so late catching up with answering comments that I messed up. Especially since I realize I saw and commented on your post yesterday… If my brain is already fried at 43, what will it be like when I am 80?… So sorry 🙂

    2. My French Heaven says:

      Let me know how it goes Annie! So far, the fellow bloggers who’ve tried it have liked it… 😉

  13. That does look perfectly cooked! Thanks for sharing.

  14. Love the butcher’s response!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      He’s great Rachel. I wish you could meet him. One day maybe when you come visit 😉 Love the apple and berries crumble by the way! I think crumbles are always a success (at least with my friends), especially when served with good ice cream 🙂

      1. Would love to come and visit, am constantly trying to work out when and how!

  15. Gorgeous, as usual Stephane, and I’ve been wondering where you were too. Happy to see you haven’t run away and left us.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Julie, but I’d never leave you guys. This blog is what keeps me half sane 🙂 I am working on a website to complement the blog right now, so that take a lot of my time and focus… It will come out prtty soon. I think I’ll call it yourfrenchheaven.com 🙂

  16. That is a gorgeous rack of lamb!

  17. elsonsequeira says:

    Hey Stephane!!! So nice to see you back after a long time!! Love post i must say and as always, the pictures are great

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you so much my friend! What is your favorite way to prepare lamb?? Would you have a good recipe for a great home made mint sauce?

      1. elsonsequeira says:

        Hey Stephane,

        How you doing. I love lamb roasted; but back here in India, quality of lamb is not so good so thats the dissappointment.

        For the mint sauce, you will need 1 sprig mint, 1/2 spring cilantro, 3 chillies, few cloves of garlic, small piece of ginger, salt and some yoghurt, some oil.

        Heat oil in a pan and roast the ingredients except yoghurt to help retain the colour. cool for a while and then blitz in a mixture along with the curd. this mixture should have the consistency of thick cream 🙂

        This serves as a great dip as well as a good marinade for chicken or fish.

        You could adjust the chillies to suit our taste

        1. My French Heaven says:

          Oh thank you so much my dear friend!! I cannot wait to try. I will of course blog about it and I hope you’ll be proud of me!! Thanks again!!!!!

          1. elsonsequeira says:

            Sure Stephane…. do give it a try… Im sure the sauce is safest with you around it.. shall wait to hear how it turned out. 🙂

        2. My French Heaven says:

          I am trying your mint sauce today!

          1. elsonsequeira says:

            Sure my friend!!!! I am eager to know how it turns out 🙂

          2. elsonsequeira says:

            Hey Mate, did you try? how did it turn out?

          3. My French Heaven says:

            I did try! I put a pic on my Instagram. It was a huge success. I added a little bit of parsley and used Greek yogourt. It was heaven. I just wish there was more meat on lambchops 😉 🙂 Thanks again for the inspiration. I just regret the pictures I took of it aeren’t good enough to post on the blog. I guess I will have to make it again…

          4. elsonsequeira says:

            Glad to hear that mate!!! 🙂

          5. elsonsequeira says:

            Hey Mate, How you doing?

            would you please help me with a Coq Au Vin recipe

            DO let me know

          6. My French Heaven says:

            Hi, of course! It’s on the blog. Follow this link: https://myfrenchheaven.com/2013/07/05/my-coq-au-vin-mon-coq-au-vin/
            It is great if you can use chicken blood to thicken your sauce at the end. It’s the way we used to do it here, but it’s nearly impossible to find chicken blood for sale (health reasons) unless you know a farmer… Let me know how it goes!!

          7. elsonsequeira says:

            Thanks Stephane!

            sadly, chicken blood isnt available here as well. but the rest of the ingredients seem fine..

            Shall drop in a line soon to tell you how it went.. I do hope im able to do justice to your recipe 🙂

  18. annascuisine says:

    Oh, my goodness! It makes me crave eating red meat seeing this. Mmm..

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I’m glad! Go for it darling!!

  19. Lignum Draco says:

    This looks delicious. I love lamb, but sadly I often have to choose the trimmed lean version. 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      This sad indeed, but lamb goes so well with so many sauces like curry etc. Even the leaner cuts are great when prepared properly… 🙂

    2. Vicki (from Victoria A Photography) says:

      May I suggest you leave the fat on the lamb (to cook it). The fat makes the meat much juicier. When it’s cooked……then, you can cut the fat off (and eat only the lean meat part).

      The other option is to put a whole leg of lamb directly on the rungs of your oven with your root vegetables in a pan on a lower rung. As the lamb cooks, the excess fat & juices drop between the rungs onto the root vegetables below and make the most delicious roasted root vegetables you’ve ever eaten. (makes a mess of the oven, I might add). Throw some sprigs of rosemary and wedges of lemon amongst the root vegetables too.

      (Gosh, now I’m getting really hungry and I’ve only just eaten dinner here in Australia). Sorry I’ve interrupted your conversation but when I saw you mention ‘lean’ lamb, I couldn’t resist commenting.

      1. Lignum Draco says:

        Thank you kindly. I’m in Sydney.

      2. My French Heaven says:

        I am surprised at myself. Did I say lean lamb somewhere? I’m all about keeping the fat in meats and eating it too! You are absolutely right on every point Victoria!! 😉 🙂

  20. Jody and Ken says:

    …don’t know what happened there… meanwhile…and then MOPPING UP THE PAN JUICES WITH FRESH PASTA! What a fiendishly clever idea! I can’t believe someone hasn’t written about this before, even with roast chicken. Anyway, great post, spectacular photos. Ken

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Yes Ken, the juices are always too precious to waste 😉 In France we also make what we call “rôties aillées”. It’s basically garlic bread used to soak up the juices at the bottom of the pot or pan and served with the meat. My brother and I call that “our vegetables”. Now you see why I got so darn fat 😉

      1. Steve says:

        Just remember…..cigars are vegetables too!

        1. My French Heaven says:

          🙂

  21. Wow, Stephane, this looks scrumptious, and the photography is divine. I wish I could take pictures like that. Cooking I can do!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You can take great pictures!! Just point and shoot and use youtube for kick photography tips…

  22. Jody and Ken says:

    The lamb is gorgeous, but the inspired part for me was the inclusion of cherry tomatoes, something I’ve never done before–and the n

  23. Stunning photos as always Stephane – that lamb looks perfect! May I ask why you prefer canola oil over olive oil in this dish? Subtler taste? Cheers, Margot

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Hi Margot! Yes, that is the reason. I love olive oil, but I am sometimes worried it will cover other flavors. I rarely use olive oil on meats. I love it on fish, salads and use it a lot in tomato based sauces…

  24. Nothing like lamb nourished in sea salt fields. Love the new look (as well as the photography, of course). No mint? Une petite sauce paloise, peut-être?… mais je complique ;-P

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Non Luise, c’est une idée à laquelle j’avais pens. Je crois que le prochain carré d’agneau sera servi avec de la sauce à la menthe. Il faut juste que je trouve une bonne recette…

  25. So glad to see your post, not simply because it looks delicious, but because I was wondering only yesterday where you were. I’m sure you’re busy, but I was missing you! Some years ago when visiting my s-i-l in Provence, we dined on lamb that had eaten lavender and it was sublime. Of course, lamb is often wonderful and in San Francisco lasts week, we had lamb shanks that were wonderful as well as wild mushroom ravioli which were as well. 🙂

    janet

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are so so kind my dear Janet! Yes, lamb in Northern California is often very very good. Did you know that there is a very large French community in the northern part of the state. They emigrated from the French Basque country and they only speak French in some villages there. Northern California is a lot like the Basque country with the ocean and the hills. They make fantastic lamb here and the produce great lamb there now… San Francisco (after NYC) is my favorite place in the world to dine out…

  26. saucygander says:

    I’ve heard of Medoc lamb, lucky you to have perfect Medoc lamb racks. And I’m joining you in eating Belgium chocolate. 😀

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Hi Hi!!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      They really were Bernadette 😉

  27. Conor Bofin says:

    Lovely photography. Really lovely.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Conor! If I weren’t si lazy these days, I would go pick figs and make your tatin. Maybe I will… Very tempting actually… 🙂

  28. Micheng says:

    Aaaah! Can you deliver this for me? Yummy.. i have never had a lamb before, but I wanna try one. Definitely!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Ah, no deliveries in France unfortunately… Yes, you should try lamb for sure!! If it’s hard to get where you are, just find a good French restaurant that serves it. Please let me know what you think after you try. The Brits eat it with mint sauce, which is fantastic too…

  29. michela64 says:

    You are always GREAT!! and never mind about perfection, just share with us your pics and receipes , we missed you!
    xxxx

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Michela! Your comment goes right to my heart!

    2. My French Heaven says:

      By the way, have you moved your blog somewhere else? I tried to go visit and I only see one page with nothing much written on it…

      1. michela64 says:

        really???what about now? try gain please and let me know!
        thanks
        take care xxx
        miky

        1. My French Heaven says:

          Still the same I’m afraid. It says “Nothing found” below the main title and then there is a search box and that’s it. Did you move to WordPress.org recently or make any change?…

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Why thanks! I don’t think one can ever go wrong with lamb… 🙂

  30. Steve says:

    Love it….and the traditional look. Like a warm sanctuary away from the daily grind. The only grind I want is some ground lamb for my Middle Eastern burgers. 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      😉

    2. My French Heaven says:

      That’s what I’ll make for dinner the next time you guys are here!

      1. Steve says:

        We dream of coming back soon. In the meantime, I’ll make the lamb rack tonight.

        1. My French Heaven says:

          So? How was it? How did you serve it? My next one will be with mint sauce. I need to get a good recipe from one of my British friends…

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