I had been wanting some great lamb and yummy bread, and decided that I would make them together. Using Herbes de Provence makes this dish super easy, and the tarragon adds a nice flavor both to the bread and the meat. The kids thought the finished product looked like a castle, so that's what we're calling it!
As a sidenote, you can make this bread on its own and it makes 2 large or 4 small delicious artisan bread loaves. Use the same baking directions as in this recipe.
Rack of Lamb Castle
2 cups warm water
1 T yeast
1 T sugar
2 tsp salt
5 cups flour
1/4 cup melted butter
In a large mixing bowl, combine water, yeast, sugar, and salt. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes. Add flour and mix until sticky dough forms. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let sit in warm place to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Punch dough down. Grease a large baking sheet. Using half of dough, form into a ring shape, leaving about 5 inches of space open in the middle. Dough will be sticky, but try to use oiled hands instead of adding more flour. With remaining dough form into one or two small round loaves and place on oiled sheet. Place baking sheet in warm place and let rise for 30-45 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the lamb.
Rack of Lamb Ingredients:
1 lamb rib roast (rack of lamb)
2 T Herbes de Provence (this is found in the spices section of your grocery store)
4-6 fresh sprigs of tarragon, or 1 T dried tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste
Lay the lamb on a cutting board and carefully slice between each rib bone, being careful to only slice about half of the way through the thickness of the meat. Stand the ribs up on their fat ends, then curl them around until they form a circle or crown, with the skinny bones sticking up. Tie the two end bones together using kitchen twine or thread.
Season the meat by rubbing the Herbes de Provence and salt and pepper on all the exposed surfaces.
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Place in the middle of the risen bread dough ring. Dough should touch the edges of the meat but not cover it.
Using half the melted butter, lightly brush the top of the dough (all loaves) with butter, being careful not to make it fall. Place the tarragon sprigs on top of the dough ring, and some inside the lamb crown.
Bake the lamb and bread at 425F for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 375F and bake an additional 15-20 minutes. Remove small loaves if necessary, as they will cook faster than the ring loaf. After baking, brush remaining butter over bread. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
I served this with a green salad and peas with mint leaves.