Unlike your grandma’s store-bought neon green mint jelly, scratch-made mint jelly is naturally golden-hued. Make your own at home to pair with lamb and consider these other lamb-and-mint recipes, too.

Roast Rack of Lamb with Fresh Mint Vinaigrette

from Linda Burner Augustine (’83 Home Econ., Honors)

via ayearatthetable.com

Roasting a rack of lamb is easier than you might think. The key is to begin with a high-quality rack of lamb purchased at a reliable meat department or butcher. Most lamb racks have eight bones in them which means eight chops. They are usually “frenched,” and this simply means the meat has been cut from the bone down to the meaty chop area. The next important step for success is roasting the rack at a hot oven temperature to brown the lamb giving flavor in the caramelization of the meat.

A simple wet rub using fresh rosemary and garlic brushed on the meat an hour before cooking makes a lovely robust seasoning. The roasted lamb is flavorful enough on its own, but for those old-school, mint jelly-lover types, I have included an updated version with this fresh mint vinaigrette.

For the lamb:

1 rack of lamb (8 bones), “frenched”

1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves

For the fresh mint vinaigrette:

3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons honey or agave

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons olive oil

Pinch red pepper flakes

Kosher salt

Fresh ground black pepper

If the rack of lamb has a layer of fat on the non-curved side, lightly trim it (or have the butcher do this) so there is just a scant covering of fat. Put lamb, fat side up, in a roasting pan.

Whisk together Dijon, rosemary, garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and thyme and brush on the meat of the lamb; refrigerate one hour.

Whisk together mint, vinegar, honey and Dijon; whisk in olive oil until smooth. Season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Roast lamb until desired doneness is reached, about 20 to 25 minutes for medium rare. Remove from oven, lightly cover with foil and let meat rest for 10 minutes.

To serve, cut in between the bones to slice into 8 chops. Drizzle the chops with the fresh mint vinaigrette or serve it on the side.


Herb-Roasted Butterflied Leg of Lamb
from Linda Burner Augustine (’83 Home Econ., Honors)

via ayearatthetable.com

If there are any leftovers the next day, very thinly slice the lamb and briefly heat it under the broiler then tuck it into warm pita bread and drizzle with a bit of tzatziki sauce. (See recipe below.)

¼ cup olive oil

3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon orange zest

2 cloves garlic, cut into slivers (about 10 slivers ⅛ inch by ¾ inch long)

3 pounds boneless, butterflied leg of lamb<

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together olive oil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, and orange juice and zest; set aside.

Put lamb in a shallow dish or on a platter with the cut side (where the bone was removed) up; with the tip of a paring knife, make as many pokes in the meat as you have garlic slivers, poking deep enough so that the garlic slivers will be submerged in the meat. Fill pokes with garlic slivers.

Evenly spread herb marinade over the top of the lamb. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Remove lamb from refrigerator 30 minutes before roasting (this makes it closer to room temperature before roasting) and put it in a roasting pan herb side up; season with salt and pepper.

Roast the lamb for 20 minutes, then turn oven temperature down to 350 degrees and roast until cooked to desired doneness (for medium-rare meat, an internal temperature of 145 degrees), about 40 minutes longer. (I remove the meat from the oven when it is 135 to 140 degrees as the temperature will continue to rise several degrees while the meat rests.) Remove lamb from oven; lightly tent with a piece of aluminum foil and allow to sit 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Tzatziki Sauce

from Linda Burner Augustine (’83 Home Econ., Honors)

via ayearatthetable.com

2 cups plain Greek-style yogurt

1 cup chopped, peeled and seeded cucumber

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, mint or cilantro or a combination

1 teaspoon lemon zest

Kosher salt, to taste

Cayenne pepper, to taste

Stir together all ingredients.


Learn more

Lamb & mint: A classic pairing

Colleen Taugher cooks lamb

More recipes

Hold the food coloring. This classic mint jelly uses apples as the base. (Simply Recipes)

Spice things up with jalapeño-mint jelly. (Food & Wine)

Here’s a twist on the classic condiment.

Food & Wine offers this recipe for roast leg of lamb with British-style mint sauce.

Taste of Home has this simple recipe for mint sauce.

Williams-Sonoma does lamb chops with mint gremolata.