Roasted Rack of Lamb with Parsnip Purée and Strawberry Mint Sauce – What better way to celebrate spring holidays than with a succulent rack of lamb paired with fresh spring flavors of strawberry and mint on the side!
As a child I was one of those lucky kids who had a great-grandmother still living. During my early childhood my mom cleaned her home, so I saw her weekly. I grew up thinking that every kid was so lucky as to spend one afternoon a week eating Fig Newtons and sipping Coke out of little glass bottles from their Grannie’s mini bar.
My Grannie always had a bowl of Combos in front of her. In order to snack on one myself, I had to rely on the fact that she was legally blind. If I wasn’t sneaky enough I was met with a slap across the hand and an old-lady-look that could kill. Every afternoon she drank away her surly Combo attitude with something strong and brown, poured over cracked ice. It was sometimes my job to crack the ice for her whiskey. Thinking back, that maybe was not okay… But, I was never tempted to sneak a taste of that stuff!
My Grannie lived in a large home in an uppity Philadelphia neighborhood. Her home was filled with beautiful old furniture and books, which provided me with endless hours of pretending I was the Little Princess, or the American Girl doll, Samantha.
By far, my favorite part of her home was her garden. She had white cast iron patio furniture that was perfect for enjoying a make-believe cup of tea. In the back of her property there were scattered forsythia bushes that bloomed at Easter time. They were surrounded by a sea of buttercups and situated near an old bird bath with a plaster frog who sat watchfully in the middle. He would approvingly nod as I got mud scuffs on my pink Easter dress and made flower crowns for myself and my sister out of the buttercups.
At Easter dinner she often served lamb, which was always perfectly prepared by her cook and my Nana. Admittance to the formal dining room was never extended to us kids. Instead, we had to eat in the kitchen with the dog – a little shih tzu named Sue Lynn. I never minded, though. Sue Lynn would longingly watch me as I ate my lamb, but I only ever shared my vegetables. The lamb was just that good.
I still love lamb, and Easter just doesn’t quite seem right until I’ve prepared a lamb dish. Today’s recipe for Roasted Rack of Lamb with Parsnip Purée and Strawberry Mint Sauce is less traditional than what I remember eating as a child, but it’s perhaps even better. The succulent lamb is perfectly complemented by a creamy and savory Parsnip Purée (which is too good to share with the dog). The finishing touch is a sweet and just ever so slightly tart Strawberry Mint Sauce.
After my grandmother passed away, her estate was divided among the family and what was left was sold. There was one treasure from her home that I just had to have. To this day, the bird bath frog sits on the windowsill above my kitchen sink and approvingly keeps watch while I cook and my kids sneak snacks from the pantry. The twinkle in his eyes makes me think he’s as much a fan of this spring Roasted Rack of Lamb as he is of buttercup crowns!
- 1 rack of lamb with 6-8 ribs (0.75 to 1 lb)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove minced garlic
- ½ finely chopped mint
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp pepper
- aluminum foil
- 1 lb parsnips peeled and thinly sliced
- ⅛ C white onion
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1¼ C 2% milk
- 4 Tbsp butter
- ¼ tsp salt
- black pepper to taste
- 1 C fresh or frozen strawberries (1/2 lb frozen)
- ⅛ C honey
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 7 fresh mint leaves
- Marinade: Mix together the olive oil, minced garlic, chopped mint, and the salt and pepper in a ziplock bag. Add the rack of lamb to the bag and coat it in the olive oil. Allow it to marinate overnight or at least one hour. Be sure to allow the lamb 1 hour to come to room temperature in the marinade before cooking, otherwise the meat won’t cook evenly.
- Prep Meat: Preheat oven to 450ºF. Once the marinated rack of lamb is up to room temperature, score or cut slices in the fat of the lamb that are about one inch apart. Next wrap each bone with aluminum foil to keep them from burning. Place the lamb rack fat-side-up on a baking sheet which has been lined with aluminum foil. Rub each piece with some of the excess marinade from the ziplock bag so that each piece is coated.
- Roast: Roast the lamb in the middle of the oven at 450ºF for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300º F and cook for an additional 10-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the cut of meat. The rack of lamb is done cooking when it reaches an internal temperature of 130º-135ºF for medium rare.
- Serve: Cut in between each rib and the serve 2-3 ribs for each person atop the Parsnip Purée and drizzle with Strawberry Mint Glaze.
- Place all the ingredients for the parsnip purée in a large saucepan. Bring the milk to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook covered for 15 minutes.
- Purée the parsnips with a hand blender or in an upright blender. Serve hot with the lamb.*
- In a small saucepan combine all the ingredients. There’s no need to chop the mint, just massage it before adding it to the saucepan to help release some of the flavor. Bring to a boil over hight heat and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then strain through a mesh colander. Set aside until you're ready to serve.*