Roasted rack of lamb is an elegant dish with tender bone-in juicy meat. This recipe is paired with a red wine Zinfandel mushroom sauce for a gourmet dinner at home! This post is sponsored by Terra d’Oro Winery. All opinions are my own.
When a rack of lamb hits the dinner table, eyes grow wide, and mouths water. A beautiful juicy roast is prepared in under an hour with a few simple cooking techniques. Are you ready to impress your guests or that special someone?
When cooking lamb, I like to make a sauce to complement the red meat. I made a savory mushroom sauce simmered in a bold red wine. You’re not going to be able to resist diving into this feast. So grab a wine glass and give yourself a generous pour. This meal is worth the cooking time!
How to cook a rack of lamb
- Purchasing: There are typically two commercial lamb options. Smaller-sized racks from New Zealand or Australia have a gamey flavor due to a more grass-based diet. And larger-sized racks from America, which tend to be raised in Colorado or the Midwest, have a milder flavor due to the grain-based diet. For this recipe, I used New Zealand-sourced meat. Just make sure to adjust for cooking times for the smaller racks.
- Lamb Cut: This recipe uses a Frenched lamb rack. Muscle and fat are trimmed to expose parts of the bone. Look for about an inch of fat above the main eye of the meat, cutting more fat as needed.
- Cooking: A brief sear in a hot pan encourages flavor and color development of the protein through Maillard browning. The hot temperatures also help the fat from the lamb to render and flavor the rest of the roast. The lamb meat finishes cooking in the oven so that moisture is retained.
- Temperature: Target an internal meat temperature of 120 to 125°F for medium-rare and 130 to 135°F for medium, as there will be about a 5-degree increase after resting due to carryover cooking.
After the lamb finishes cooking in the oven, the gorgeous roast is ready to carve, but hold on a second! Resting the lamb chops before slicing will help retain the moisture inside that you worked so diligently to preserve. At least 10 minutes is the optimal time for resting. This process allows the water squeezed out of the muscle fibers during cooking to reabsorb.
Golden crust with juicy, tender meat is just how lamb should be! As the lamb cooks, there’s time to prepare a delicious sauce for this meal. The good news is that it requires opening a bottle of wine if you haven’t done so already.
Thickly sliced mushrooms are sauteed with fragrant onions and garlic and then simmered in red wine. The variety of wine specially selected for this dish elevates the sauce to the next level. I chose Terra d’Oro 2015 Zinfandel, which is grown at Deaver Vineyard in Amador County. The grapes come from a 134-year-old Zinfandel vine harvested in small hand-picked quantities.
The grapes are aged for 16 months in premium French and American Oak barrels for a toasty, butterscotch, and sweet caramel character in the wine. The deep garnet red color with aromas of clove, allspice, and cracked white pepper elevates the flavors and intensity of the mushrooms. The characteristics of this single-vineyard Zinfandel become even more concentrated as the sauce reduces. It’s divine!
This gourmet lamb dish requires just the right wine to serve alongside the meal to complete the experience. The Terra d’Oro 2015 Zinfandel used in the sauce is the ideal pairing. This bold red wine highlights a palate with crisp and juicy blackberry, plum, and cinnamon layers.
The toasted spice notes robust tannins and a balanced complexity to each sip. A splendid way to celebrate the autumn season through a culinary adventure for the taste buds, cheers!
Use two cooking methods
If the rack of lamb is cooked the entire time on the stove, there is potentially more moisture loss, leading to overcooked and dry meat. The stovetop pan can reach 400 degrees within minutes, which is great for searing and color development but not for nailing a nice warm medium-rare center. The heat transfer is less controlled or consistent on the stovetop than in an oven.
Rack of Lamb with Mushroom Sauce
Rack of Lamb
- 2 pounds rack of lamb, frenched
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- kosher salt, for seasoning
- black pepper, for seasoning
Red Wine Mushroom Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup minced yellow onion
- 8 ounces brown mushrooms, ¼-inch thick slices
- 1 cup Zinfandel red wine
- ½ cup unsalted chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
- Preheat the Oven – Adjust the oven rack to the center position and preheat to 350°F.
- Season the Lamb – Remove any excess fat from the lamb, leaving a thin layer. Dry with paper towels. Season both sides generously with salt and pepper.
- Sear the Surface – In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add lamb fat-side down. Cook until both sides are browned, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Sear the bottoms and sides for 30 to 60 seconds until browned, 8 to 10 minutes total for searing all sides.
- Finish Cooking – Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the lamb fat-side up until the center reaches 120°F to 125°F for medium-rare, about 10 to 20 minutes, and 130°F to 135°F for medium, about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Rest the Meat – Allow meat to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Meanwhile, make the red wine mushroom sauce.
- Saute the Mushrooms – In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onions, and saute for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and saute until softened, 6 minutes.
- Make the Wine Sauce – Add the wine and chicken stock to the pan, and turn the heat to high. Simmer until liquid is reduced to ¾ cups. Turn off the heat, and whisk in butter and thyme. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
Tried this recipe?
Tag me on Instagram. I'd love to see how it turns out!