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Rack of Lamb with Pasilla Chiles
© Antonis Achilleos

Rack of Lamb with Pasilla Chiles

  • ACTIVE: 45 MIN
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  1. 6 unpeeled garlic cloves
  2. 6 pasilla chiles (see Note), seeded
  3. 1/4 cup honey
  4. 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  5. 1 teaspoon Mexican dried oregano
  6. 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  7. Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  8. Two 8-bone racks of lamb (not frenched), fat trimmed
  9. Olive oil, for grilling
  10. Chopped red onion and parsley and queso añejo (see Note), for garnish
  1. Heat a cast-iron skillet or griddle. Add the garlic and toast over moderate heat until the skin is blackened in spots, 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, toast the pasillas in the skillet: Press with a spatula and turn once, until pliable and fragrant, 1 minute. Transfer the chiles to a heatproof bowl and cover with hot water. Microwave at high power for 1 minute, until the chiles are completely rehydrated.
  3. Transfer the chiles to a blender and add 1/3 cup of their soaking liquid. Peel the garlic and add to the blender with the honey, vinegar, oregano, cumin, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Puree, then strain.
  4. Rub the lamb with 1/3 cup of the puree. Let stand for 2 hours or refrigerate overnight.
  5. In a small saucepan, simmer the remaining puree with 1/4 cup of water; keep warm.
  6. Light a grill and oil the grates. Grill the lamb over moderately high heat, turning and rotating the racks, until lightly charred outside and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the meat registers 135° for medium-rare, 30 minutes; move the meat to moderate heat if it starts to burn. Transfer the lamb to a carving board; let rest for 5 minutes. Carve the lamb into chops and garnish with chopped red onion, parsley and queso añejo. Serve with the pasilla sauce.
Pasilla chiles are long, black dried chiles. Queso añejo is a dry grating cheese; cotija or ricotta salata are good substitutes.

Suggested Pairing

Smoky, berry-rich Argentinean Malbec.