Turkish Style Rack of Lamb is a savory alternative to the more commonly flavored rack of lamb we are accustomed to. The pairing of the spicy seasoning blend combined with the tangy flavor of the yogurt and the bright flavor of the mint is pleasingly flavorful to say the least. Lamb is usually the meat of choice in Turkish cuisine. If you are not fond of lamb, you can certainly adapt this recipe to chicken or beef. I developed this recipe after reading a book on Turkish cuisine and travel given to me by my dear friend Teslime, a once Fullbright student at the university where I work. Since I will not have the good fortune of going to Turkey in the foreseeable future, I decided to bring Turkey to me for the time being. Turkey has multiple culinary influences, not only due to its geographical location as a bridge between two continents (Europe and Asia) but once also as a key part of the commercial route known as the Spice Road
Turkish Style rack of lamb is really easy to make and pairs well with a simple side of steamed carrots and rice pilaf or couscous which is my personal preference. The only tricky part in this culinary adventure is cooking the lamb to its perfect medium rare temperature which will make it tender, juicy and delicious! The spices I have chosen (with the help of the guide book) are such that anyone who dabbles in the kitchen even a little bit will most likely have on hand. The carrots are just sliced, steamed and served topped with a sprinkle of dill. In order to depart from the Western tradition, of multiple serving dishes, I like to serve all the components of this meal together on a large serving platter, just as you see above. If you want to keep true to the Turkish tradition, you can serve this dish with tea. Turkish coffee and baklava are a perfect ending, but that is the subject of another post.
- 1 rack of lamb (approximately 1 lb.)
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 1 Tbsp. oregano
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil + 1 Tbsp.
- Mint and Yogurt dip:
- 6 oz of plain Greek yogurt (paleo diet: coconut cream)
- 2 Tbsp. fresh chopped mint
- 1 small garlic clove minced
- * you can serve this with a side of steamed vegetables instead of couscous for a paleo diet friendly option.
- Place rack of lamb on a rectangular glass dish. In a small bowl mix 3 Tbsp. olive oil, ground cumin, oregano and crushed red pepper. Mix well and rub spice/herb mixture on both sides of the lamb. Cover and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for about 3-4 hours.
- Make the yogurt dip by combining yogurt, mint and garlic and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
- Heat remaining olive oil in a large pan over high heat and brown meat on both sides, about 4 minutes per side.
- Turn heat down to medium and cook until the internal temperature of the meat is about 120 F.
- Remove lamb from pan and place on a cutting board. Cover and allow to rest for about 5-10 minutes.
- Slice lamb into individual portions and place atop the couscous.
- Serve with couscous, mint yogurt dip. A side of steamed carrots also makes a great side dish.