Let me explain how I created last night’s dinner.
Step 1, preparing the marinade.
- Heat over a warm stove (not hot) a mixture of apple cider vinnegar and water. (about two litres. 80% water.)
- Add a smallish (not heaped) cup of sugar, let it melt in.
- Add a cup of fresh rosemary (or dried if it’s all you’ve got).
- Add a teaspoon of onion powder if you have it. A tablespoon ‘Aromatic salt’ might be alright, if it has onion powder in it.
- If you didn’t add aromatic salt, add a tablespoon of kosher salt.
- Warm and let the marinade fully infuse for an hour. Don’t let it get anywhere close to boiling.
Step 2, marinading
Well I usually use large, heavy-duty ziplock bags for the marinating process. I feel that they’re the easiest to get the air out of (which is important), and usually don’t puncture even in my rough sausage hands.
- Place the racks of lamb into the ziplock bag.
- Pour the warm marinade into the bag, making sure you get all the grit in there as well.
- Force the air out of the bag and seal it.
- Mash it around a bit so that the marinade gets a good chance to penetrate the meat.
- Let the sealed bag cool at room temperature for an hour.
Step 3, browning.
- Get a seriously hot grill going on your stove or barbecue. I use a cast-iron griddle pan for this. It smokes like hell but I have a jet fan to keep the room clear of fumes. Doing outside on the barbecue is even better.
- Remove the racks of lamb from the marinade, keeping as much of the marinade inside the bag as you can (we’ll use it later.
- Towel-dry the racks of lamb using paper towels or a dish cloth (I use a dishcloth, I have never found a good enough paper towel).
- Add some sunflower oil or other high-heat tolerant cooking oil. It should sizzle and pop and might even flare up.
- Throw the racks of lamb onto the griddle. Make sure you get as much surface conact as possible.
- Let them fry for 30 seconds and then turn them over.
- Try to brown the edges of the racks also.
- The goal is to create a brown (or even black) crust of ‘burnt’ meat on the racks. Of course, I say burnt, but don’t go nuts. It should just be browned and not cooked inside.
Step 4, braising
- Heat your oven to 140 C or the F equivalent.
- Place the browned racks of lamb into a deep try and pour the marinade over the top.
- Place the tray into the oven
- Cook for 2-3 hours, depending on the size of the racks of lamb. If they take on that ‘falling off the bone’ look, they are done.
- Remember to baste or spoon the marinade over the top of them every 15 – 20 minutes or so.
You can of course add potatoes, carrots, or other vegetables to the tray. I like to add both. Usually I grill the cooked vegetables at the end of the process, to burn them up a bit.
Braised lamb racks in a rosemary marinade