We’re Cooking: Roast Lamb and Lamb Chops with Jus and Mint Pesto

I cooked lamb chops for the first time a few weeks ago; last week I took it to the next level while cooking for a dinner we had auctioned off at our Dallas Uncorked event for The June Jones Foundation last summer, by making both a roasted rack of lamb and a whole lamb leg roast which we served over cauliflower-potato puree with a mint pesto and red wine and lamb jus.  I did the roast lamb similar to how my grandma used to make a beef roast for my cousin Chablis any time she would come visit our home in Arkansas….starting early in the day with just the meat in a pot with an onion, a few carrots and stock….I added a good helping of red wine also (my grandma was strictly a stock girl…no red wine for her, but for me it was an obvious addition.  She might have put a dash of Jim Beam in there if she wanted to add a boost of flavor, but why waste her good stuff on cooking when she would rather pour it in a cup for sipping while she cooked?)


Roast Lamb with Lamb Chops and Mint Pesto
Olive oil
1 two pound leg of lamb roast
2 racks of lamb
4 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
6 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 large white onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 cups beef stock
2 cups red wine

For the pesto:
4 tablespoons fresh mint, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon toasted walnuts
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper
Olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Generously season all of the lamb with salt and pepper, then pat the rosemary and garlic into each piece of lamb, covering the meat completely with the herb and garlic.  Wrap the rack of lamb in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until about 20 minutes prior to when you are ready to cook the rack; about 3 hours after the lamb roast starts cooking.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 3 quart, oven proof Dutch oven. Tie the lamb roast with kitchen twine to make sure it cooks evenly on all sides.  Brown the lamb roast on all sides.  Remove from the pan and set in a bowl.  Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pot and saute for 5 minutes, just until they start to soften.  Add the lamb back to the pot, on top of the veggies with about 1 cup wine and 1 cups stock.  Cover and place in the oven to roast.  Roast for about 3-3 1/2 hours until the meat is falling apart and super tender.  Turn the meat over in the pot about every half hour, making sure all sides get immersed into the liquid.  Continue to baste with more wine and stock as the meat cooks until eventually all the wine and stock have been added to the pot.

Meanwhile, make the pesto by adding all the ingredients to a food processor with about 1/4 cup of olive oil, pulsing until smooth.  Add more olive oil to create your desired consistency and season to taste. About an hour before the meat is done remove the lamb racks from the fridge and allow them to come up to room temp prior to cooking.  Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large oven proof saute pan.  Add the racks to the pan and brown completely on one side.  Flip them over and place the pan in the oven beside the pot with the roast and cook for another 15-20 minutes until the temperature reads about 140 on a meat thermometer.  Remove the racks for the oven and tent with foil, allowing the meat to cook up to 150 degrees and rest a bit prior to cutting.  When ready to serve, remove the pan with the roast from the oven and remove the roast unto a cutting board.  Remove the kitchen twine and shred the meat using two forks.  Place the Dutch oven over medium high heat on the stove to reduce the jus a bit prior to serving.  Uncover the pan with the rack of lamb and carefully cut in between each bone to create individual lamb chops.  Serve both the lamb roast and chops with a bit of jus on top. Strain the juice through a colander into a gravy boat and serve alongside the meat with a separate boat of mint pesto on the side, if desired.


  1. I was fortunatel to attend this dinner and I will say this was the BEST lamb I have ever eaten!! This will absolutely be the only way I prepare lamb going forward!! BTW… this pesto is wonderful! It was an amazing dinner! ….the company was pretty good as well 🙂


  2. simply amazing and delicious lamb and pesto….
    I truly dislike Cauliflower but this is delicious. Wow!


  3. […] The thought of cooking duck was kind of like cooking lamb used to be for me, one of those things I was terrified to try to cook. That changed this weekend. Now, much like cooking lamb chops, roasting a decadent duck breast is easy as pie….well, pie isn’t necessarily easy, but you get my drift. I had a chance to take a cooking class in Bordeaux earlier this year and duck was on the menu. The key is to start the breast, fat side down, in a cool pan and leave them alone. Let that fat render and the breasts cook for at least 5-7 minutes until the fat side is golden brown and a lot of the fat has cooked out. Flip, glaze with this sweet and savory sauce and let them cook through. Delicious! Serve with a Grenache/Syrah blend from Rhone or a light Pinot Noir from California. Need some help with lamb chops next? Just click here. […]


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