Provençal Rack of Lamb with Crushed Peas

A French inspired Provençal rack of lamb recipe from Raymond Blanc. The rich lamb recipe is cooked in herby breadcrumbs and served with crushed minted peas.

Simple French Cookery
From the book Simple French Cookery
By Raymond Blanc
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Introduction

A marvellous dish that will not take too much of your time. French-trimmed best end of lamb has had the rib bones cleaned and the chine bone cut so you can carve it easily. It is now available in most supermarkets, or your butcher should be able to prepare it for you.

Serves 4
Easy
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 30 min
Total time: 1 h

Ingredients

For the crushed peas:
600g (1lb 5oz) fresh peas, or thawed frozen peas
85ml (3floz) extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh marjoram
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
Juice of ½ lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
For the Provencal breadcrumbs:
75g (3oz) thickly cut stale white bread
2 handfuls of fresh flat-leaf parsley, very finely chopped
1 tsp very finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp very finely chopped fresh rosemary
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the lamb:
2 x 350g (12oz) racks of lamb, preferably organic, French trimmed
2 tbsp olive oil
20g (¾ oz) unsalted butter
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Essential kit

You will need a food processor.

Instructions

Preparing the peas:

Crush the peas in a food processor, using the pulse button. Do not purée them; you need to retain a lot of texture. Transfer the peas to a medium saucepan and stir in the olive oil, chopped herbs, 6 pinches of salt and a pinch of white pepper. Set aside (you will be cooking the peas and adding the lemon juice just before serving).

Preparing the breadcrumbs:

Crumble the stale bread into the clean food processor and use the pulse button again to process it to crumbs, ensuring that they have a coarse texture and are not powdery (if they are too fine, you will lose the texture). Transfer to a bowl and add the parsley, thyme and rosemary. Stir in the olive oil and season with 2 pinches of salt and a pinch of black pepper.

Cooking the lamb:

Pre-heat the oven to 190C / 375F / gas mark 5. Season the racks of lamb with two pinches of salt and two pinches of black pepper. On a medium heat, in a large ovenproof frying pan, heat the olive oil and butter. Add the lamb and colour the meat of the fillet for 3-4 minutes. Turn it onto its back (fat side) and colour for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer the lamb to the oven and roast for 10 minutes.

Finishing the lamb:

Remove the lamb from the oven and brush the mustard all over it, avoiding the bones. Press the racks in the Provencal breadcrumbs, so that every part is coated (this can be done 1-2 hours in advance). Return the lamb to the oven and cook for 8 minutes for medium rare. Turn off the oven, leave the door ajar and allow the lamb to rest for 5 minutes so the meat relaxes and becomes tender.

Finishing the peas:

While the lamb is resting, cook the crushed peas on a medium heat, with a lid on, for 4 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, then taste and correct the seasoning if necessary. Carve the racks of lamb and serve with the hot crushed peas.

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