Hazelnut Cumin Orange Crusted Rack of Lamb (Paleo)

I went through a phase of not eating lamb. I was ten or eleven years old, and had spent the summer chasing my Grandmother's lambs around the farm. The still had tails. They always seemed happy. I named them all. My appetite for anything lamb was spoiled for years. 

Thank goodness that phase is over--these hazelnut crusted lamb ribs aren't just elegant and rustic; they're rich, tender and marbled, and good in that way that only meat on the bone can be. Meat on the bone is just extra somehow, with more flavor than boneless cuts. 

Racks of lamb are particularly good because they are simply stunning. They stand up of their own, casting long shadows on the table and calling for a bite. And since we eat with our eyes, they steal the show in every way possible. Toasted hazelnuts provide a crunch crust to this rack of lamb, and fresh orange zest keep it bright tasting. 

Since this rack was a bit "blue" when I sliced it, I laid each rib individually on the cooking pan, and returned them to the oven under the broiler. After no more than a minute, they were sizzling on the outside. 

While racks of lamb are usually a Christmas or Easter dish, this pairing of hazelnut, orange and cumin makes it feel like a perfect dish for the new year: winter citrus, warm nuts, a cumin zest. Served with garlic roasted carrots and rosemary garlic cauliflower mashers, this makes a filling meal perfect for entertaining or just eating on a night in! 

Hazelnut Cumin Orange Crusted Rack of Lamb

1 pound rack of lamb

3 tablespoons coconut oil, at room temperature

1 tablespoon avocado oil

1/4 cup hazelnuts

5 garlic cloves

zest of 3 oranges

1 tablespoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper


1. Pre heat the oven to 450°F. Remove the silverskin from the lamb (the thin layer of white over the bone side of the meat). Trim off extra fat. 

2. In a food processor, combine the garlic, hazelnuts, orange zest, salt, pepper, cumin, and avocado oil. Pulse until a course meal forms. 

3. Use your hands to rub the rack of lamb with the coconut oil. Press the hazelnut mixture onto the meat in an even layer. 

4. Lay the lamb meat-side down on a cooking pan. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until a meat themometer inserted into the middle reads 145°F for medium-rare, or 170°F for well done. 

5. Remove the meat from the oven, and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. 


Garlic Roasted Carrots:

5 large carrots

2 cloves garlic

Salt & pepper to taste

1 tablespoon avocado oil


1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. 

2. Mince the garlic. Chop the carrots into evenly sized pieces. Toss the carrots and garlic with the oil, salt, and pepper. Spread into an even layer in a baking dish.

3. Cook for 30-40 minutes, until carrots are tender all the way through and golden on the edges.


Rosemary Garlic Cauliflower Mashers

1 pound cauliflower florets

1 teaspoon garlic, minced and sautéed until golden

1 teaspoon coconut oil

2 tablespoons coconut milk

1 teaspoon rosemary

Salt & pepper to taste


1. Steam the cauliflower until tender. 

2. Add cooked cauliflower, garlic, oil, milk, and rosemary to a blender. Puree until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Serve warm.