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Good side dishes for rack of lamb?

I am preparing to cook my first rack of lamb for a special occasion, and wanted to know what goes the best with rack of lamb. I pretty much love any type of vegetable, but are there some that will bring out the flavor of the lamb? Also, any wine suggestions?

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  1. My favorite sides with rack of lamb: Potato gratin and Ratatouille.

    For wine, a Cote du Rhone.

    9 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      Do have the recipe for that? Never made a potato gratin before, I'm somewhat of a beginner cook:).

      1. re: bwillia

        Potato gratins are really very easy to make. They're basically composed of potatoes, cheese, and heavy cream. I don't know how many people you will be serving, but here's a simple recipe that serves 4-6. If there are only two of you, just cut all amounts in half.

        1 clove of garlic, peeled and cut in half
        2 lbs of russet baking potatoes, peeled and sliced very thinly
        1 cup freshly grated Gruyere cheese
        1 cup heavy cream
        Freshly-ground Pepper

        Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
        If you don't have a gratin dish, use a regular baking dish. Rub the inside of the dish all over with the garlic.
        Layer half the potatoes in the dish.
        Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a very little bit of nutmeg.
        Sprinkle on half the cheese.
        Pour half the cream over the potato/cheese layer.
        Repeat with a second layer.
        Bake, uncovered, until the top is crisp and golden brown. It should take about 50-60 minutes, but keep checking it. If you cut the recipe in half, it will take less time, probably no more than 30-40 minutes.
        Serve immediately.

        Do you need a recipe for ratatouille?

        1. re: RGR

          Nice recipe, very easy ... potato gratin a favorite as well. Great simple dish with the rack.

          I love to serve a horshradish mustard sauce as a dipping sauce or a sour cream mustard sauce with the rack (both 2-3 ingredients and simple and chill for serving)

          I love asparagus. I love to roast mine with a little honey and balsamic, a simple easy drizzle over the top and just roast in the oven with the lamb 15-20 minutes and done. Sweet and savory.

          My creamy potatoes with spinach. I peel and dice russet potatoes and cook in heavy cream and white wine on the stove for just 20 minutes until soft but not mushy, add fresh spinach and stir. The wine and cream evaporates and makes a great creamy texture. Add the spinach a little butter, salt and pepper and some grated parm. Stir and serve. The natural starch in the potatoes thickens the sauce to make it perfect every time.

          Grilled romaine salad, Grill pan inside or outside grill, cut romaine hearts in 1/2 and then brush with evoo, s/p and then grill inside first, outside second then cut cut in half and serve with a spicy vinaigrette, blue cheese, or any of your favorite dressings. Some fresh slices onion and tomato wedges and a great easy sald

          Or I make a roasted or grilled veggie salad. Onions, grape tomatoes, crimini mushrooms and fennel, slice up and put the warm veggie in a bowl of mixed greens with a spicy balsamic vinaigrette a very simple easy salad but great with grilled meats.

          Couscous which someone mentioned, I like scallions, some fresh spinach and goat cheese done in a chicken broth is a nice twist and a simple side dish.

          Stuffed tomatoes with just some simple onions, garlic, peppers and bread crumbs and some cheese on top just baked with the pork is really a nice touch.

          So are grilled stuff onions. Stuffed with a gorgonzola or blue cheese and bread crumbs. Down Home with the Neelys did something similar this weekend but I have made mine for a while with a few twists. I add some more cheese and a few more veggies but either way, equally as good. Wrap in foil make ahead and just grill with the lamp.

          Love the rataoulle idea. Great dish

          I didn't see peas might of missed. This is something I saw on TV once and I call them minted peas but not sure where I got them. They are frozen peas, a simple saute of a couple of shallots, parmesan cheese, fresh mint and heavy cream. 5 minutes and done. It is great with lamb. And I know parm and mint, but it is great trust me. I make them all the time and get request after request. I can't take credit but it is really good.

          I also grill zucchini long cut planks dipped in egg and panko and then pan sauteed. Then I stuff with goat cheese and thin cut tomatoes and fresh basil chopped, and then topped with another zucchini slice and then bake until melty and brown. Easy and really good.

          1. re: kchurchill5

            wait this zucchini dish sounds nice, but I can't figure out what you mean.
            Dip the strips, and then fry so the exterior is crispy? Then stuff, and roll and then you say, "topped with another zucchini slice and then bake until melty and brown. Easy and really good."
            How do you do that, are these rolled or layered flat?

            1. re: chef chicklet

              Ok, I was doing short descriptions. Here it tis... They are really good and easy and pretty to serve.

              I like to cut the zucchini in long strips (not too thin) A good 1/4" or more. Coat with olive oil, s/p and then grill on medium high just a few minutes just to get some marks. Then when lightly cooled dip in egg and panko crumbs and saute in my cast iron also right on the grill. Just a few minutes on each side until brown. Remove or set to the side so you can stuff (without standing over the hot grill) with a little cheese, then basil, then tomatoes, then a little cheese. (I used thin sliced plum tomatoes). Then top with the other zucchini slice. Finish baking or cooking on the grill until the cheese melts. Just a few minutes.

              This could be done inside in a saute pan and then melted in the oven. I was just in a grilling "groove." I have made them inside many times but I grill so much during summer I was just thinking grilling. But inside prep is just fine.

              They really are great, sundried tomatoes would also work, I have used those in a pinch. I just like the fresh with summer time.

              Let me know if I gave you good enough directions. Sorry I wasn't more precise before.

            2. re: kchurchill5

              I think the potatoes and spinach sound wonderful. I was wondering on amounts of cream and wine? Is there a specific wine you find works better?

              1. re: kchurchill5

                I really like the idea of the peas with shallots, parmesan, fresh mint and heavy cream. My leg of lamb recipe is going to be butterflied and marinated overnight. Do you know how much of all the ingredients would be needed for the peas, shallots, parmesan cheese, fresh mint, and heavy cream?

              2. re: RGR

                I pulled this recipe (potatoes gratin) up on the internet b/c I needed a potato dish to do w/ a beef rack and let me tell you it was THE HIT of the family Xmas dinner! I have made it many times in the last few years and people rant and rave over it! I was thinking of making it to go w/ the rack of lamb for my husband's bday dinner -- the only thing I do differently is parboil the potatoes before slicing them. And I am very liberal w the cheese and creme. It is an amazing, amazing side dish for beef and lamb.

            3. re: RGR

              I would LOVE your recipe for Ratatouille please. I am absolutely planning on making your Potato Gratin and serving your wine choice. Thanks for your help!

            4. Sure! A recipe for ratatoulle would be great. And I'm cooking just for two.

              2 Replies
              1. re: bwillia

                I found this recipe on-line (I can't remember where or I would post the link) from a french woman who used her mothers recipe. I've tweaked it a bit - and even my 12yr old devours it. If I made two we would eat that one too :)


                for the tomato sauce

                2 tbsp extra-virgin fruity olive oil

                2 cloves of garlic, processed
                1 medium white onion, processed

                1lb can (big one) of diced tomatoes, drained

                2 roundish table spoons or a handfuls of thyme

                1 bay leaf

                1/2 Tbsp organic sugar

                sea salt to taste

                for the vegetables

                2 Roma tomato, sliced into very fine slices

                1 green zucchini , sliced into very fine slices

                1 yellow squash, sliced into very fine slices

                2 small yellow onions, sliced into very fine slices

                1 small eggplant, sliced into very fine slices

                2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil,

                thyme leaves, 

                sea salt and pepper

                Start by making the sauce: combine the oil, garlic and onion into a large heavy-bottomed pan over low heat until very soft, about ten minutes. Add the tomatoes, thyme and bay leaf and bring to the boil over medium heat. Mix in the sugar, reduce the heat and simmer until very soft and very little liquid remains, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt, and discard bay leaf. Smoosh with a masher to help break down tomatoes. Spread the sauce in the bottom of a 9”, 2qt baking dish.
                Pre-heat the oven to 340°f.
Arrange the vegetable slices (standing up) over the sauce until the pan is filled. Drizzle with the oil, sprinkle with the thyme, and season w. salt and pepper. Cut a round of baking paper to fit the baking dish and then cover with lid or foil and crimp the edges to seal well.
Bake for 2 hours. Uncover and bake for a further 30 minutes.
You can eat it hot, warm or cold.

                1. re: edgeeater

                  So I followed this recipe and I wound up with a 2:1 vegetable to sauce ratio (meaning I covered the sauce with veggies and I still had about half of them left over). That didn't seem right...

                  Were you just using incredibly tiny vegetables?

              2. A garlic Custard is a nice accompanyment.

                1. Also some type of couscous is very nice with lamb. And it's easy to make.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: perk

                    My last rack of lamb I did with coucous with dried cherries and green onion. Lovely.

                  2. Broiled tomatoes with olive oil, garlic and herbes de Provence, and either roasted potatoes or Armenian pilaf.

                    Roasted Potatoes:
                    -tiny new potatoes, or larger ones cut into halves or quarters
                    -olive oil
                    -salt, pepper, herbs of choice

                    Put the potatoes into a pot of cold water, bring to a boil, and cook about ten minutes. Drain and dry, then toss in a bowl with the oil and seasonings. Set an iron skillet in the oven when you're preheating it for the lamb. When the lamb goes in, toss the potatoes plus the oil into the skillet and put it back in. They will probably need to be turned when the lamb is done, and taken out after the lamb has rested.

                    Armenian Pilaf:

                    -1 cup rice
                    -3/4 cup fine vermicelli, broken up
                    -butter or butter and oil
                    -cayenne pepper
                    -2 cups chicken broth

                    Melt about a tablespoon of butter in a 2-quart pan over fairly high heat. Add the vermicelli, cook and stir until it is golden brown. Add the rice, cook and stir until the grains become an opaque chalky white. Stir in cayenne, maybe half a teaspoon or less, then add the broth all at once - it will boil up fiercely, but if you add just a bit at a time it'll really explode! Cover and reduce heat to a bare simmer. It will be done in about 20 minutes.

                    1. Seems like I always serve either potato gratin (like RGR), or roasted potatoes (like Will Owen) with lamb.

                      For other vegetables, I usually go with what's seasonal and, the best case, local. That said, i really like to pair fresh green peas (or frozen, when they're out of season), lightly seasoned with a bit of butter and chopped fresh mint, with lamb. (I'm sure this harkens back to the lamb with mint jelly of my childhood.)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Old Spice

                        I agree it depends on what's seasonal. That said, since I associate lamb with spring, I like spring vegetables with lamb. Artichokes go especially well with lamb, I think -- lamb is already pretty strong/rich, and I don't particularly like to add more complex, bold flavors.

                      2. Orzo with vegetables like zucchini or what ever you like.

                        1. I love potatoes, au gratin, mashed or Jacque Pepin'shttp://www.flickr.com/photos/erikmsp/3142904...
                          and creamed spinach might be too heavy with mashed, so sauteed breifly with olive oil and fresh lemon juice.

                          1. Root vegetable purees - eg Sweet potato, Jerusalem Artichokes, etc go very well.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: fmed

                              Potato-parsnip puree is lovely. Sort of an upscale version of mashed potatoes.

                              1. re: fmed

                                omg, I had forgotten about pureed sweet potatoes and you're so right, they go beautifully with lamb!

                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                  A nice little triplet of purees (Parsnip, Sweet Potatoes and Jerusalem Artichoke) would be killer.

                                  1. re: fmed

                                    Roasted butternut squash puree, celeriac puree, roasted carrot puree...

                              2. My favorite side with lamb is spinach.

                                1. I second the recipe for peas sauteed in butter with a bit of mint. It's a classic side for lamb. I also like a carrot puree as a side with lamb -- it would be an interesting change from potatoes, and would look nice on the plate along side the peas.

                                  1. Just thought of another thing that would be great with any roasted or grilled lamb - I like to slice up two or more kinds of summer squash, onions and Roma tomatoes, and assemble them in layers in a circular baking dish, seasoning the layers as I go with salt, pepper and whatever herb I'm fancying - usually herbes de Provence or thyme. Then I drizzle olive oil over it all, plus a sprinkle of fresh lemon or vinegar, and roast it in a hot oven until it's cooked through and the tomatoes are melting. When that's too much like work, I just take the same sliced vegetables etcetera and cook them in my big sauté pot, or cut the stuff in bigger chunks and do them in the stir-grilling basket on the grill. Really good, you don't need another side dish, and the leftovers make a killer pasta dressing.

                                    1. Forgot, sorry ...
                                      I bowl of creamy scallop soup or creamy asparagus soup with a few grilled scallops on top. All made a head and just reheated. A nice starter and a bit different but still light for summer time. I love it.

                                      1. Rack of lamb goes with almost anything. But - vegetables should be quickly steamed so that light, pure, in season flavors come out. I might not do a ratatouille, wanting almost a single vegetable paring. Asparagus or artichoke hearts or very young and just harvested green beans come to mind. I'd go with plain rice, couscous, or broiled baby potatoes. I'd start with a lightly dressed multi-green salad. Oddly, my plate might end up looking like a mid-western dinner (meat, starch, veg) from the 50s! But lamb, to me, is so good and such a treat that I want supporting rather than competing sides.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                          Sam, you would love what I had last night: artichokes and green beans, just minutes out of my garden, steamed and drizzled with a little melted butter mixed with a bit of pesto (also from my garden: I went out to "thin" the basil a couple of nights ago and ended up with enough basil for two cups of pesto!).

                                          I was actually planning on serving the artichokes with lamb, but some of them really needed to be picked, and I haven't gotten this year's shipment of lamb from my CSA yet. Lamb and artichokes next weekend for sure! Add some strawberries from the garden and I have the perfect spring meal.

                                        2. i like roasted red potatoes with lamb--but see no reason to parboil them. just cut into chunks, toss with olive oil and chopped fresh herbs and roast at a fairly high temp.

                                          a lemony dessert is often nice--a lemon curd tart, maybe, or lemon ice cream.

                                          a cote de rhone would be dandy, but inexpensive ones are often disappointing (to me, at least.). i like gigondas, but if you're hoping to stay in, say, the $15 range, a blended california red would be good. the leyeth meritage is under $20, e.g. (it needs serious air and should be decanted. it tastes like an $8 red when just opened and like a $35 wine after getting fresh air.)

                                          1. I love potato gratins, but it seems a little heavy for a rack dish, at this time of year. I like roasted greek potatoes, dressed with olive oil & lemon juice.

                                            I also agree you should stick to a seasonal vegetable that's prepared lightly, to bring out the best flavors of the lamb racks.

                                            I would serve the racks over lightly dressed baby spinach, just oil, lemon juice or red wine vinegar & s&p. The meat juices when the rack is cut will warm and wilt the salad.

                                            When I make grilled leg of lamb we serve it with a black olive relish that is easy & delicious, especially on leftovers and in sandwiches. Along with some roasted provencal tomatoes. Tastes like summer!

                                            1 large shallot minced
                                            1 tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp sherry vinegar
                                            8 oz. oil cured black olives, pitted & roughly chopped
                                            4 sprigs fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
                                            1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
                                            1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
                                            Freshly ground pepper.

                                            Add shallot to vinegar and let stand 15 mins. Add olives, herbs & stir in the oil. Season with freshly ground black pepper & serve. Can keep up to a week refridgerated, but let come to room temp before serving.

                                            PROVENCAL ROASTED TOMATOES

                                            Serves 8 - 10

                                            12 plum tomatoes (about 3 lbs)
                                            3 garlic cloves, minced
                                            2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
                                            2 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
                                            Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
                                            ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

                                            1. Preheat oven to 350. Fit a wire rack into a rimmed baking sheet. Slice each tomato lengthwise into four ½ inch slices. Place on wire rack.

                                            2. In a small bowl, mix garlic thyme, and parsley; season with salt and pepper. Divide evenly among tomato slices, spooning about ½ tsp on each. Drizzle olive oil over tomatoes. Roast until herb mixture is slightly browned and tomato skins are wrinkled, about 1 hour. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack to cool. Serve.

                                            These recipes come from Martha Stewart's Annual, 2001.

                                            1. I eat lamb very often. I do potatoes dauphinoise a lot as well as roasted baby potatoes with rosemary. When I do dauphinoise I add cheese to the standard recipes.

                                              For veg, I am now enjoying aspargus because it is in season. I also cut half a tomato and place it on a metal baking sheet or pan and add a couple od wide pepper strips, half a baby bok choy or a couple of stems of broccoli. I put a little pesto on the veg and bake.

                                              I hope thast you enjoy the rack!

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: bigfellow

                                                Call me old fashioned but I like my lamb with plain mashed! Perfect combination, you don't need anything else.

                                                1. re: millygirl

                                                  Never go wrong with basic mashed potatoes.

                                                  I recently made Greek style roasted Yukon Golds. Lot of lemon juice, garlic and evoo. They were really good.

                                              2. My preference is a one pound rack of baby lamb. I like to quarter potatoes and and roast them with olive oil, herbs and salt at 425 for 25 minutes. Meanwhile I use a knife to slice half way between each chop, then coat with parsley, garlic, breadcrumbs, a wee bit of mustard, olive oil, S & P. I place the lamb atop the potatoes and roast another 25 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Serve with a side salad.

                                                1. depending on season/mood guest list, I serve lamb with

                                                  potatoes gratin (gratin dauphinois)
                                                  a mix of red, white, and wild rice
                                                  asparagus (green or white)
                                                  sweet peas (fresh, please, not canned or frozen!)
                                                  just a big salad

                                                  It's amazingly versatile, but we find we like the *slightly* assertive flavors best.

                                                  My #1 fallback is probably the ratatouille -- everyone loves it with the lamb.

                                                  And a fairly big red, as above. Some of the reds from the Loire are nice with lamb, too -- not oaked, so especially nice if you keep the lamb very simple -- just salt and pepper and olive oil.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                    I second the ratatouille but for me, one saucy side per plate, so I would not do both a potato gratin and ratatouille. Instead of the gratin, butter beans with a little butter and herbs.

                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                      Oh. Sorry, that was misleading...I usually only serve ONE from that list at a time (Only exception would be the rice...it might appear with any of the veggies)

                                                      And I agree with not having the gratin and the ratatouille...not only is it too many saucy things, but the gratin is a winter thing and the ratatouille more a summer thing...so it's a little weird to put them together.

                                                  2. Lentils de Puy braised in red wine
                                                    Creamy polenta (all sorts of variations there)
                                                    Risotto (again, all sorts of variations)
                                                    Melted Leeks
                                                    Jellies such as mint, apple, apricot, rosemary, garlic

                                                    1. In the winter we love roasted butter nut squash, and also roasted brussel sprouts with lemon & dill.