Orange Thyme Rack of Lamb Chops / Sarah Crowder / Katie Workman /

Gary invited over a new friend for dinner, and I happened to meet up with Michael shortly before our scheduled date.  I asked him if he had any allergies or aversions or dietary restrictions and he said no, he ate everything.  I asked Michael if there was anything he loved in particular, since I’m always happy to be a food-pleaser, and without missing half a beat he said, “Lamb.

Most people say, “Oh, whatever you make will be super,” but I LOVE when someone actually answers.  For an ADHD cook like me, this is helpful and narrows the options down from 1 billion nicely.

People who like lamb usually love lamb.  When Michael came over, I made this leg of lamb, but then last week I came up with this dish, and I sure do know what I will be making next time he comes for dinner.

Orange Thyme Rack of Lamb Chops / Sarah Crowder / Katie Workman /

Orange Sauce for Rack of Lamb

Little hint: a quick sauce made up with some creamy base and a few flavorful ingredients to go alongside a rack of this, or a roast of that, turns the simplest meal into something very special. In this case, the Orange Thyme Béarnaise Sauce gilds what is arguably a pretty shiny lily to begin with.

I didn’t get the rack of lamb Frenched this time, and next time I think I will.

“Frenching” is a culinary term for the technique of cutting away fat and meat and membranes from the bone end of a rib chop for a cleaner, more elegant presentation. The bone is scraped completely clean with a knife, leaving just the exposed bone.  You could do this yourself (cheaper), or ask the butcher to do it (easier).

Orange Thyme Rack of Lamb Chops / Sarah Crowder / Katie Workman /

If you are not putting a crust on the meat, then some people actually prefer to leave the fat and extra meat on the bones, which can crisp up and be nice for nibbling.  Charlie can clean such a bone like nobody’s business.   But here, with a crust, the Frenching would be nice.  Next time.

Other Lamb Recipes for a Crowd:

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Orange Thyme Rack of Lamb Chops

A special occasion calls for a nice rack (ba bum bump).
Yield: 8 People
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Marinating and Resting Time 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 45 minutes


For the Lamb

  • Finely grated zest and juice of 2 oranges (about 1/4 cup juice and 1 tablespoon zest)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 8-chop racks of lamb about 2 pounds each
  • 1 ½ cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • Fresh thyme sprigs

For the Orange Thyme Béarnaise Sauce

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  • In a large shallow bowl or container. Pat the lamb dry, then place into the bowl or container with the marinade and turn and use your hand or a basting brush to make sure the marinade coats the lamb completely. Refrigerate, and marinate for about 8 hours, if possible turning the lamb and re-brushing on the marinade once or twice during the marinating time.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 °F. Remove the lamb from the marinade and allow to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Add the breadcrumbs to the remaining marinade, stir to combine well, and press it into the meaty part of the lamb racks to coat in a thin layer.
  • Place the chops curved bone side up in a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet and roast for 22 to 24 minutes for rare (internal temperature of 135°), or about 24 to 28 minutes for medium rare (140°F internal temperature). Transfer the lamb to a cutting board and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • While the lamb is cooking and resting, make the Orange Thyme Béarnaise sauce: In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise, zest and juice of the orange, thyme, olive oil, and salt and pepper.
  • Slice the racks into individual chops, place on a platter (or individual plates), and garnish with thyme sprigs. Serve with the sauce.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 862kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 74g | Saturated Fat: 28g | Cholesterol: 132mg | Sodium: 373mg | Potassium: 366mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 52IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 3mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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