Marrakesh Sitar Reversed Seared Rack of Lamb

During my visit to Morocco I found myself consumed with finding the perfect recipe for the spice known as Ras el Hanout, a popular blend translating to “top shelf” in Arabic — top shelf referring to the highest quality spices in a merchant’s larder. It gives tagine, b’stilla and marinades that quintessentially “Moroccan” flavor we’ve all come to crave. I racked my brain and asked many home cooks and professional chefs for their secret, and they always smiled and diverted their gaze. I finally came up with a delicious version, with a little help from an unsuspecting local who shared his lamb stew and some of his special ingredients while playing us his sitar. I serve this Marrakesh Sitar lamb with chermoula — a herb-centric sauce centered around parsley, cilantro and mint — and glazed carrots.

Prep time: ~ 12 hours (overnight marinade)

Cook time: 45-60 minutes

Serves: 4

Equipment:

Sheet pan or roasting pan fitted with wire rack, Large heavy-bottomed cast iron pan, Tongs

Ingredients

Steps

  1. Season lamb with salt and Marrakesh Sitar. Place on a wire rack over a sheet pan in the refrigerator overnight. Leaving it uncovered dries out the exterior for searing.
  2. Heat oven to 200°F (convection preferred) and roast, fat side up, until thickest part reads 115°F, 35–55 minutes. Roast over wire rack for best results.
  3. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Heat a cast iron skillet to very high heat and add a splash of oil to coat the bottom.
  5. Sear lamb on all sides, flipping frequently to brown all edges, but being careful not to burn the spices, about 5 minutes.
  6. Turn off heat and add butter. Baste for about 2 min or until internal temperature reads 125–130°F for medium rare.
  7. Remove from pan and rest for about one minute. Slice between chops or double chops.
  8. Serve with Glazed Carrots.
  9. Top with Chermoula Yogurt Sauce

Things to remember

  • Seasoning the meat the day before and leaving uncovered over a wire rack dries out the exterior of the meat which aids in browning, helps retain moisture and seasons the meat throughout with salt but even a few hours is better than nothing
  • Variations in size and thickness of the rack of lamb accounts for the variation in cook time — use a reliable meat thermometer to be sure
  • Letting the meat rest ensures all the juices will be retained and the meat will not overcook during the final reverse sear
  • Basting helps coat your final result with all those beautiful juices and fats
  • Roasting over a wire rack helps the heat circulate around the meat, aiding in even cooking and browning but you can also use a oven pan.