Recipe: Frenched Lamb Racks with Lemon & Pink-Peppercorn Rub & Ponzu Sauce

Jazz up new season lamb with this classic Japanese citrus-based sauce and pink-peppercorn rub. 

To age lamb racks, wrap them in paper towels and leave in the fridge for up to 5 days (changing towels daily).

Recipes: Ruth Pretty  Photos: Carolyn Robertson 


2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon pink peppercorns in brine, rinsed
1 tablespoon muscovado sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped dill leaves
1.2g-1.5kg (3-4) Frenched lamb racks
2 tablespoons olive oil
Ponzu Sauce (see recipe)


Put the lemon zest, pink peppercorns and sugar in a small food processor bowl and process to make a paste. Alternatively, use a mortar and pestle and pound to a paste. Stir in the dill.

Rub paste over the lamb flesh (not the bones). Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 200°C. Place a roasting pan into the oven for 5 minutes or until it is very hot.

Smear the hot pan with oil. Place the lamb in the pan, humped side upwards. Roast for 16-20 minutes or until lamb is cooked medium-rare (55-60°C on a meat thermometer).

Remove from oven and cover tray with a heavy tea towel (tuck the ends under the tray).

Let the lamb rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. Pour any juices from the pan into the Ponzu Sauce (recipe follows). Carve the lamb into double or single cutlets, depending on size. Serves 8

Ponzu sauce

Put 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar,  4 tablespoons mirin, 1 small piece kombu (edible kelp), 1 tablespoon bonito flakes, 4 tablespoons lemon juice and 4 tablespoons Tamari soy sauce in a small pot set over medium heat.

Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Strain into a clean pot and add 1 cup Beef Jus (recipe follows). Gently reheat over low heat and serve. If reheating for the second time, add ½ cup water to dilute the sauce. Makes about 400ml

Beef jus

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan.

Add ½ small onion, finely chopped, and cook until very soft but not coloured.

Add 225ml beef stock (carton or chilled) and 225ml water and simmer to reduce liquid by one third.

Add 1 tablespoon arrowroot or corn-starch, made into a slurry with 1 tablespoon cold water, and stir until sauce slightly thickens.

Season with ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt and a good pinch of freshly ground black pepper, then strain to remove onion. Makes 1 cup

NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.

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