Crown Roast of Lamb with Saffron Rice and Apricot-Mint Sauce


  • 1 tsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and diced
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine
  • 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup apricot preserves
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste


  • 1 TBS unsalted butter
  • Large pinch of saffron (20 threads)
  • 1 TBS ground coriander
  • 1 small red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 3 cups water or chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted in a dry skillet over medium heat, shaken frequently, about 3 minutes
  • 3 TBS fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 lamb rib crown roast (2 racks of lamb, about 1 1/2 lbs. each, frenched and tied in a crown shape)
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 TBS garlic, minced
  • 2 TBS freshly cracked coriander seeds (or 1 TBS ground coriander)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Make the Sauce:

In a medium saute pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occsionally, until translucent, 7 to 9 minutes. Add the wine, vinegar and preserves and simmer until the sauce is reduced to about 1 cup, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the mint and season with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Make the Rice:

In a medium saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the saffron, coriander and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, 7 to 9 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil, then add the water. Bring to a simmer, cover, reduce the heat to low and cook until all the liquid has been absorbed, 15-18 minutes. Stir in the almonds and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with a tea towel, put the lid on and set aside.

While the rice is cooking, dry the lamb with paper towels, then rub it with olive oil and sprinkle it generously with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, coriander and parsley and mix well, then rub this mixture all over the meat, pressing gently to be sure it adheres. Place the lamb on a rack in a roasting pan and roast for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300 degrees and continue to cook 5 to 15 minutes more for medium-rare, or longer if you like it more well-done. To check for doneness, insert a meat thermometer into the center of the roast and let it sit for 5 seconds, then read the temperature: 120 degrees is for rare, 126 degrees is medium-rare, 134 degrees is medium, 150 degrees is medium-well and 160 is well done. When the lamb is done, transfer it to a serving platter and pile the saffron rice in the center. Cover with aluminum foil and allow the meat to rest for 10 to 20 minutes. While it is resting, reheat the sauce. To serve, spoon out the rice onto plates. Cut the butcher’s twine and slice the racks into individual chops. Top the rice with the chops and pass the sauce separately.

Prep. Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: About 1 hour
Total time: About 1 hour and 20 min.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6