Carré d’agneau

Roast rack of lamb

A carré d’agneau is the French version of rack of lamb. Before roasting, it is prepared by the butcher so that the rib ends are exposed and the bones at the bottom of the rack are removed for easy slicing. This technique is known as ‘Frenching’.

Once this has been done, the roast is very simple to prepare. The recipe takes about 30 minutes and will serve 2-3 people. If you cannot have the roast ‘Frenched’ by a butcher, please see the note at the end of the recipe.

Serve the lamb with French-style green beans or a vegetable purée, for example parsnip purée with cumin, as shown in the photo above. Many other purée recipes are available on this site: carrot, celeriac and potato with horseradish, to name a few. All would marry well.

1 six-rib rack of lamb
1 clove garlic
1 branch of rosemary, leaves stripped, or 1 tsp. rosemary
1 tbsp. olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Have your butcher ‘French’ the lamb to expose the ends of the ribs. If this is not possible, you can attempt it yourself. See below for an explanation.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 7 (400 F, 210 C).

Using a very sharp knife, slice through the fat on the back of the rack in a diamond pattern to prevent shrinkage.

Peel the garlic and slice into slivers. If using a branch of rosemary, strip off the leaves.

Use the olive oil to grease your roasting pan and coat the meat on all sides. You can do this using a brush, or with your hands (my preferred method).

Place the lamb in the roasting pan rib-side up. Sprinkle with about half of the garlic slivers and rosemary. Turn the lamb over. The rosemary and garlic bits will fall to the bottom, but this doesn’t matter because the flavor will rise. Place the remaining garlic slivers into the slits of the diamond pattern. Sprinkle the rest of the rosemary over the roast.

Place the lamb in the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to sit for 5 minutes before carving. This will produce pink lamb. If you’d like the meat more well done, increase the roasting time to 25 minutes.

Slice the lamb between the ribs and transfer to a plate. Season with salt. Grind on some black pepper. Drizzle with the roasting juices and bring to the table. Serves 2-3.

Note on ‘Frenching’: There are various videos available online that show the technique, and you can check those out, but the best explanation I found is here. Please note that these explanations show a longer length of exposed bone than is typical in France. Not to worry — it is undoubtedly due to the length of bone left in the rack in other countries.

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