Crown Roast of Lamb With Couscous Stuffing and Pistachio-Mint Sauce Recipe

Crown Roast of Lamb With Couscous Stuffing and Pistachio-Mint Sauce Recipe

Crown roast of lamb is all about presentation. [Photographs: Vicky Wasik]

Crown roast of lamb is one of the most impressive centerpieces for the holiday table, but its shape limits your options as far as cooking methods are concerned. This recipe offers the best way to cook your roast without accidentally messing up such an expensive piece of meat.

Why This Recipe Works:

  • Cooking the roast at a low temperature, then finishing it in high heat, delivers more consistent results and reduces the chances of overcooking the roast.
  • Pre-cooking the stuffing and adding to the already-cooked crown roast allows you to focus on what's most important: getting perfectly cooked lamb that's browned all over.

Note: The method used here for cooking the crown roast works no matter what the stuffing and sauce are. In fact, the stuffing and sauce in this recipe are entirely optional. Feel free to pre-cook any stuffing you like, then stuff it into the finished roast right before serving. Or skip the stuffing altogether.

  • Yield:Serves 4
  • Active time: 40 minutes
  • Total time:2 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 (3- or 4-pound) crown roast of lamb, prepared by the butcher
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Stuffing (see note above):
  • 1 cup chicken stock, low-sodium broth, or water, boiling
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, diced
  • 1/2 cup pitted prunes, diced
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 cup puls 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 cups warm cooked couscous (from about 2 cups dry), fluffed
  • 3/4 cup minced parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Sauce (see note above):
  • 1 cup packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed parsley leaves and tender stems
  • 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. 1.

    Preheat oven to 200°F and position rack at low enough to fit crown roast in oven. Generously season crown roast all over with salt and pepper. Set roast on a rack set in a rimmed baking sheet and roast until lamb registers 115°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of loin, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

  2. 2.

    Meanwhile, For the Stuffing: In a heatproof bowl, pour boiling stock over apricots, prunes, and pistachios and let steep for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and coriander, lower heat to medium, and cook, stirring, until golden and soft, about 8 minutes. Drain dried fruit and pistachios of any excess liquid. In a large bowl, toss together couscous, apricots, prunes, pistachios, cooked onions, parsley, and remaining 1/2 cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.

  3. 3.

    For the Sauce: Using an immersion blender, blender, or food processor, pulse mint, parsley, and pistachios until roughly chopped. Add 1/4 cup oil and pulse until herbs and nuts are finely chopped. Stir in remaining 3/4 cup olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

  4. 4.

    When lamb reaches 115°F, remove from oven. Increase oven to highest possible temperature (broil setting on some ovens, or about 500°F on others) and allow to heat fully. Cover lamb rib bones with foil and roast lamb, checking temperature every 5 minutes and then more frequently as it approaches doneness, until browned and an instant-read thermometer registers inserted into thickest part of lamb registers 125°F to 130°F for medium-rare, or 130°F to 135°F for medium, about 10 minutes. Let lamb rest for 15 minutes.

  5. 5.

    Stuff with warm couscous and serve, passing the sauce at the table. To carve the lamb, slice between each rib bone into chops.