Marinated and grilled lamb chops with honey and agave sauce served with Moroccan spiced couscous and papaya mint compote. The preparation of this classic New Zealand Rack of Lamb dish begins a couple of days ahead of time, but it allows for quick and uncomplicated cooking and presentation come dinner time; definitely worth the wait.
With a New Zealand twist, this is an unexpected combination that results in a delicious meal. Once you’ve tasted it, you might realize that this is your favourite dinner date dish; it never fails to impress.
I’ve had this recipe for a long time and enjoy cooking it every time. You can serve this with Roasted Mushroom Bites. Have fun!
Classic New Zealand Rack of LambPrint Recipe
- 1 rack (6 chops) of lamb
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/2 tablespoon of coarse black pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon of coarse sea salt
- 2 tablespoons of clover honey
- 1 tablespoon of raw agave nectar
- 1 cup of ripe papaya, diced
- 1/4 cup of fresh mint, minced
- 1 tablespoon of aged balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup of pine nuts
- 1/2 cup of dry couscous, plain
- 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
- One tablespoon of olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Two Days Before Cooking
- French your rack of lamb by removing all excess fat from around the rib bones. Season the lamb meat with coarse salt and pepper, and then spread a thinly sliced garlic clove over the entire piece of meat. Refrigerate for at least two days, wrapped tightly in tinfoil or plastic wrap.
- Dice ripe papaya into tiny chunks, combine with freshly minced mint and season with salt and pepper and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and agave nectar. Refrigerate in an airtight Tupperware container until ready to serve. This process can be done right before plating, but the extra time marinating will reduce the harshness of the fresh mint, enabling the flavours to merge and mellow.
Dinner Day Cooking
- Take the lamb out of the refrigerator, unwrap it, and remove all garlic from the flesh. Before grilling the meat, allow it to come to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F) and grill to high heat to sear the lamb and produce a crust on the outside. Cooking time should be no more than a few minutes per side.
- When the rack of lamb is seared, remove it from the griddle and brush it with the honey and agave glaze before placing it in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes (depending on the thickness of lamb). Allow around 5 minutes for the lamb to rest before slicing.
- Prepare the couscous while the lamb is resting. Bring 1 and 1/3 cups water, ground cumin and turmeric, and one tablespoon olive oil to a boil in a pot. Add the couscous to the mixture, stir for a few seconds, then take from the heat and set aside for five minutes, covered. To serve, fluff with a fork.
- Pack the couscous into a mould and place it in the centre of your dish. Next, position the lamb chops in a radial arrangement around the couscous mould, and finally, plate the papaya mint compote opposite the lamb.