Updated: Jan 14, 2020
The first time I ever had lamb was when I actually cooked it! It was my wife's favorite so of course, I had to cook it for her. I was a tad intimidated by it because at that time, all I really cooked was lame ol' beef and chicken. I figured it was the same as a steak just in rib like form (that's what the rack is).
I was in her mother's home using her pans and stove which if ya didn't know, can be nerve-racking. Different cooking environment with subtly different stove settings. Bleh. I seasoned the whole rack (foolishly thinking I would be alright) and threw it on the heated pan. The smell was inviting and uplifting. The sear was looking great and crusty. I served on the plate with some mashed potatoes and decided to dive in.
It was raw.
I slices up the rack into individual lollipop like lamb chops and threw it back in the pan. It was finally cooked to perfection (medium for me and a leather-like well done for my wife). I was in love. It's got a distinct yet tender taste to it. Now, my mother-in-law makes us lamb for every holiday dinner. As for me, I learned to fully cook it properly.
By the way, this was probably the second or third time I ever cooked Polenta. So deliciously cheesy and flavorful. It really makes a great potato alternative.
This recipe is with the dried corn grit Polenta, not the already made roll.
Rack of Lamb W/ Creamy Polenta
Rack of lamb
1 cup of Polenta
4 cups of milk (water or liquid of choice is acceptable)
3-5 TBSP of butter
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan & Romano (You can use almost any cheese but this is more traditional)
2 TBSP high smoke point oil (I really avoid EVOO because it burns easily, like my other recipes I use avocado oil)
1/4 cup of Italian seasoning
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced OR 2-3 TBSP of garlic powder
S&P to taste (2-3 TBSP for me)
Let's get cookin'!
1. Grab your rack of lamb and cut them so you're left with 2 lollipops each serving. Next up grab a medium sized bowl, the oil, and seasonings. Throw them all together and let them get to know each other a bit. Make sure they're all evenly coated. Feel free to toss them around like a showboat or just get your hands a bit dirty.
2. The method I used to cook the lamb is called reverse sear. This means you'll cook it on the stovetop but finish it in the oven. Make sure you're using an oven safe pan (good ol' cast iron skillet is my choice). Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
*You can easily cook the whole thing on the stovetop. If you do, avoid this step.
3. Heat up your pan until it's nice and hot. If you're using a nonstick pan, the oil on the lamb will suffice. If you're using a regular pan such as stainless steel, drop about 2 TBSP of high smoke oil once the pan is heated.
4. Now that your pan and *oven are ready, lamb is marinated, and you've got your Polenta ready on the side, lay the lamb down on the pan.
Try not to move them around once placing them so they can get a nice crust. Leave them be for about 5-7 minutes (lower the flame if too much smoke is coming out of the pan).
5. While the lamb is getting nice and crusty, bring the liquid you're using for the Polenta, up to a boil. Throw a dash of salt in there. For me, I used a few clicks from my Himalayan Pink Salt grinder. Once at a boil, slowly but consistently pour in the Polenta while constantly whisking it in. This makes sure there will be no lumps. After it's all incorporated and not lumpy, reduce the heat to low and whisk it often. It'll start to thicken so do this for a few minutes.
6. Bring your attention back to the lamb and flip them all over. This time letting them cook and sear for about 4-6 minutes. After that, flip them onto their back so that can get a nice color as well.
7. Cover the polenta and let it cook for 20-25 minutes while whisking every 5 minutes or so. It is fully cooked when the grains are tender and the consistency is creamy. When this happens, turn off the heat.
8. Throw them bad boys in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until desired doneness (this will get you a medium doneness). If you're skipping this method of reverse sear, add extra time to your lamb sides so it can fully cook and maintain a nice crust.
9. Check your lamb and once it's cooked to your liking, remove them from the pan and let them rest for about 10 minutes. This let's the juices redistribute and finish cooking. While they rest we're gonna finish off the polenta.
10. This is when we get to make it super creamy with all that butter and cheese! Throw it in and stir it until melted. Cover and let it sit for 5 minutes.
You can add an extra TBSP of butter on top of the served polenta along with some extra cheese if you wish.
11. Serve & enjoy!