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Tunisian Spiced Rack of Lamb

A friend of mine was the chef at a Kosher Tunisian restaurant in Los Angeles. He was always talking about the food and influence from that region of the world. It's north Africa, but with strong European ties, especially with the French. Sounds pretty interesting, right? The food is a kind of spicy Mediterranean. Yum, right? I'd never really heard of "Tunisia" ... short of its involvement in those famous books with Witches, Lions and Bed Knobs.

In any event, I did a little snooping of my own and decided that the area was worth knowing about!

What follows is a fairly simple, but fantastically delicious, Tunisian Inspired Oven Roasted Rack of Lamb. The photos contain the sauce known as "Harissa".

Note: Most lamb racks are purchased already cleaned (meaning the bones have the fat and sinue removed, from between them), but if you get the full rack, you can learn how to "French" a Rack of Lamb, here.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time2 hrs
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 707.3625kcal
Author: DJ Foodie


  • 1 each lemon
  • 1 tsp coriander seed ground
  • 1 tsp caraway seed ground
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seed ground
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper ground
  • 4 each garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tbsp light olive oil
  • 2 each lamb racks cleaned (Frenched)
  • salt to taste


  • Zest the lemon with a zester, or the fine side of a cheese grater. You can even use a vegetable peeler to remove the yellow outer layer of the lime. Do not use the white part, though (it's called the "pith" and ... it's bitter). Just get the yellow skin on the surface. If you use a peeler, make sure it's chopped fine. It's a strong flavor, so only add about 1 tsp to a large mixing bowl.
  • Juice the lemon and add to the bowl, along with the remaining ingredients (except the lamb). Mix the spice blend together.
  • Add the cleaned lamb racks to the bowl and thoroughly coat the racks with the spice blend.
  • Lamb racks are usually thinner on one side, than the other. In addition, it's generally good form to bring meats up to a warmer and more relaxed temperature. This will create a juicy and more evenly cooked piece of meat. At this point, leave the lamb in the bowl to absorb flavors and warm up ... sitting on the counter top. Allow it to stay at room temperature for about 1 to 2 hours (no more than 4, though).
  • Heat an oven to about 425 F.
  • Heat a very large oven proof sauté pan.
  • Season the lamb racks with salt.
  • The top side of the rack has a fat cap. Place this side down, in the pan, with the two racks. Sear it, until you get a nice golden color.
  • Stand the racks on their ends, so the bones intertwine like the fingers of two hands. Sear the top of the rounded portions of the two racks, while they are balanced in this position.
  • Each rack has a thicker side. Place the flat cut surface of the thicker side down in the pan, until it's nice, golden and seared.
  • Face the fat side of each rack up and place the entire pan directly into the oven.
  • Roast the racks for about 9 to 12 minutes (depending on size of racks and desired doneness). Check the internal temperature. I like mine on the rare side, so you can remove the racks at about 120 F, or 130 F for a more medium to medium-rare.
  • Remove the pan and cover with foil. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes, before slicing and serving.
  • You can slice between each bone to carve little chops. If the bone gets in the way at the joints, just push hard through the bone. It'll go through.
  • Enjoy!


Serving: 4g | Calories: 707.3625kcal | Carbohydrates: 2.4175g | Protein: 80.035g | Fat: 38.71g | Fiber: 0.5025g