Text Size: Small Medium Large

Herb Encrusted Rack of Lamb served with a Honey Merlot and Wild Mushroom Demi Glaze

Herb Encrusted Rack of Lamb served with a Honey Merlot and Wild Mushroom Demi Glaze

Chef Rob Mafucci

Vito's, www.vitosct.com, Hartford, CT


  • Ingredients for Sauce
  • 4 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 medium shallots
  • 1 bottle of Merlot
  • 1 stalk of vanilla bean
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 cup veal demi glaze (available in gourmet food shops)
  • ½ lb Shiitake mushrooms
  • ½ lb Oyster mushrooms
  • ½ lb baby Portabello mushrooms
  • Ingredients for Lamb Dry Rub:
  • 4 racks of lamb, about 1 lb each, French cut
  • 3/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • Rub seasonings:
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped thyme
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped oregano
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped sage
  • ½ Tbsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Heat 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil in a large saucepan on medium-high heat. Add garlic and shallots and cook until tender. Add Merlot and vanilla bean. Boil until volume is reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Add veal demi glaze and reduce again by another half volume, 20 to 30 minutes.

In a separate pan, heat sugar and butter on medium heat so that it carmelizes, taking care not to burn it. Add hot sugar mixture and honey to Merlot reduction. In another pan, heat 2 Tbsp vegetable oil on medium-high heat and sauté wild mushrooms. When mushrooms become soft, add to Merlot reduction. Hold reduction at a low heat until ready to serve.

Rinse lamb racks with water then pat dry. Brush Dijon mustard over entire surface of rack. Combine the seasonings and rub on lamb. Place the rack in a large roasting pan and let stand for 20 minutes before roasting.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Cook lamb for 10 minutes, then lower oven temperature to 375 degrees F and cook for another 35 minutes. Serve one rack per person and drizzle with the Merlot-honey sauce. Serves 4-6



Recommended wine/beer for Herb Encrusted Rack of Lamb served with a Honey Merlot and Wild Mushroom Demi Glaze:

Col d’Orcia 2004 Rosso di Montalcino [Tuscany, Italy]

We call Rosso di Montalcino baby Brunello, and with good reason. Same soil structure, same micro-climate, same clone of Sangiovese, same winemaking skill! The two fundamental differences are that these bottles don’t quite make the cut for the “starting team,” and they are ready to be enjoyed at least a decade sooner. Baby Brunello also carries a price tag about ⅓-¼ that of its big brother. So, if you have spent part of the month’s mortgage payment on the rack of lamb, you need not get a second mortgage for the bottle of wine that goes with it. When you select this wine you will still get to enjoy Brunello’s combination of sweet vanilla, wild cherry, spicy herbs and stony minerals while smiling all the way to the lamb’s bone.