Pistachio crusted rack of lamb

Photographer: Adam
Serves 6

When we made this on Friday afternoon, it seemed like the whole office was filled with the incredible aroma of garlic, lemons and juicy lamb.  There was a crowd of spectators hovering while we took photos, waiting to help out (so generous!) with the taste-testing.  We definitely achieved a good two thumbs up from the engineers.

Hailing from Canterbury, lamb is one of those dishes that we make to feed the hoards when celebrating a special occasion.  It is a simple dish to make for entertaining – lamb rack cooks quickly and the meat is tender and succulent.  This crunchy, salty pistachio crumb really complements the sweetness of the meat.

This dish is so easy to make and the results are so tasty!  When I made it at work on Friday, I served it with pea and potato puree and a yoghurt sauce, but there are many options – another great side is roasted cherry tomatoes: simply wash a couple of punnets (~500g) of sweet cherry tomatoes and throw into the roasting dish with the lamb.  The tomatoes will cook in the fat from the lamb and their intense sweetness makes a nice contrast to the salty pistachio crumb.  You could also par-boil some floury potatoes and throw them in too – they will crisp up and make a whole meal in one dish.  Enjoy!


Lamb rack
2 x 7-8 rib lamb racks, trimmed (approx 1000g)
100g pistachios, shelled
4 cloves garlic, crushed
zest and juice of one lemon
1 medium red chilli (optional)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Yoghurt sauce
250 ml unsweetened yoghurt
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
juice of half a lemon
2 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped

Pea and potato puree
800g floury potatoes, peeled and cut into evenly sized pieces
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cups peas – fresh or frozen (just as long as they are sweet and tender), defrost frozen peas before adding to pot.
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


Lamb rack
If you have been storing your lamb in the refrigerator, remove about an hour before you start cooking. Meat should always be at room temperature before going into the oven.
Preheat oven to 200ºC Fan Bake*, position an oven rack in the centre of the oven.
1. Place pistachios, garlic, lemon zest, chilli and breadcrumbs into food processor. Pulse until well combined and the overall texture is breadcrumb-like.
2. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice, fresh mint, and olive oil and mix to form a paste. Season to taste.
3. If you have a great butcher then your lamb rack should be well prepared. If not, trim any excess fat and clean up the bones – dental floss can work a treat.
4. Sear the lamb racks in a hot skillet for just a minute or so on each side. Remove from heat and set aside ready to coat with the pistachio crust.
5. Apply the paste to the lamb rack – Use your fingers and pack the coating onto the top side of the rack.
6. Place the racks into a heavy-based roasting dish, with the pistachio-crusted side up.
7. Roast for 20-25 minutes, depending on how pink you like it, and the thickness of your rack: A shorter, thicker rack will require longer than a longer, thinner one.
8. Remove the rack from the oven and rest on a chopping board for 5-10 minutes before carving.
Serve two or three cutlets per person on a bed of the pea and potato puree, with a little yoghurt sauce on the side.
*If you don’t have a fan bake function on your oven, up the temperature to 220ºC and keep an eye on how evenly your lamb is cooking; it may be necessary to turn the roasting dish halfway through cooking to ensure even browning. It may also need a little longer.

Yoghurt sauce
Combine all ingredients, cover and chill until lamb is ready.

Pea and potato puree
1. Place the potatoes, garlic and onions into a pot of boiling, salted water and cook until tender (around 15 minutes)
2. Add peas, then cook for a further 2-3 minutes (peas hardly take any time to cook)
3. Drain well and transfer to food processor.
4. Add mint and process until smooth, adding the olive oil to thin to desired consistency.
5. Season to taste and serve with lamb and yoghurt sauce.