I’m an ardent vegetable lover, but, sometimes, what I really want to eat is meat and potatoes.
It could be a weeknight pan-grilled steak, just big enough for two, cooked on the rare side of medium-rare and served with baked potatoes. Or perhaps juicy braised short ribs and a creamy potato purée. I could go on.
If guests are coming, a simple meat-and-potatoes option makes for carefree entertaining, especially during the winter holidays. Add a vegetable or two on the side and a green salad. Done.
For lamb lovers, a good option is Irish stew, simmered with potatoes on top, a humble but eminently satisfying feast. Francophiles can roast a fine garlic-studded leg or shoulder of lamb to send to the table with a potato gratin.
It is the tender rack of lamb, however, that makes the most perfect roast for an elegant dinner, and it is the easiest to prepare. It may be the priciest cut, but a home-cooked rack of lamb is still far cheaper than one from a restaurant.
Usually, lamb racks are sold “frenched” (trimmed of fat, with the bones separated and scraped clean) and ready to cook. A good butcher will take care of this for you. Supermarket racks often need a bit more trimming. Frenching them at home is not necessary, but do remove extraneous fat. Each eight-bone rack, once cooked, may be sliced into four thick chops (my preference), or eight thin chops, if you prefer.